This is a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms: people 600 generations ago were more or less exactly the same as us, with a handful of very minor variations.
The preceding two million years of evolution as hunting and foraging bipeds is where we became human.
During the past 150 years we have experienced a massive global population boom. This, combined with great advances in medical science, hygiene and economic prosperity has led to much greater life expectancy. The downside of this is the emergence of widespread chronic diseases, particularly in an ageing population. This has become known as the epidemiological transition
Our genome is adapted to survive and thrive in environments that are vastly different to the way we live today. The resulting mismatch may be at the root of most chronic diseases today.
Not every illness listed is always caused by mismatch (and many are hypothesized mismatches)
Most modern diseases are triggered or intensified by environmental factors that have become common since the advent of agriculture and industrialisation.
They are caused or aggravated by our lifestyles that are out of sync with our body's ancient biology.
"adaptations evolved to promote health, longevity, and happiness only insofar as these qualities benefit an individual's ability to have more surviving offspring" Daniel Lieberman: "The Story of the Human Body" 2013
Human adaptations did not necessarily occur to promote physical or mental wellbeing. Our evolutionary history is complex: we are not specifically adapted for any single environment, habitat, diet or exercise regime.
Optimum health is a bit of an illusion. Whilst we can all remember a time when we felt better than now, the reality is that we are who we are in the present moment. If we can adapt our own personal environment - including what we do and what we eat, to support our core state, then we stand a much better chance of avoiding the pitfalls of modern ageing. We can also put right many of the conditions that are exacerbated by environmental mismatch.
It is helpful to see your health and wellbeing as a journey, rather than a destination.
Physiology is the study of normal function in a living body. From an evolutionary perspective we look at how and why our bodies function like they do and work forwards from that to see what interventions might help to strengthen the core state. In practice, the following checklist represents our main focus of inquiry:
As more people live longer, more of them are suffering from chronic illness and disability.