Systems Health: A Transition from Disease Management Toward Health Promotion

  • Li Shen
  • Benchen Ye
  • Huimin Sun
  • Yuxin Lin
  • Herman van WietmarschenEmail author
  • Bairong ShenEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1028)


To date, most of the chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, are the leading cause of death. Current strategies toward disease treatment, e.g., risk prediction and target therapy, still have limitations for precision medicine due to the dynamic and complex nature of health. Interactions among genetics, lifestyle, and surrounding environments have nonnegligible effects on disease evolution. Thus a transition in health-care area is urgently needed to address the hysteresis of diagnosis and stabilize the increasing health-care costs. In this chapter, we explored new insights in the field of health promotion and introduced the integration of systems theories with health science and clinical practice. On the basis of systems biology and systems medicine, a novel concept called “systems health” was comprehensively advocated. Two types of bioinformatics models, i.e., causal loop diagram and quantitative model, were selected as examples for further illumination. Translational applications of these models in systems health were sequentially discussed. Moreover, we highlighted the bridging of ancient and modern views toward health and put forward a proposition for citizen science and citizen empowerment in health promotion.


Systems health Systems biology Complexity Critical transitions 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant nos. 31670851, 31470821, and 91530320) and National Key R&D programs of China (2016YFC1306605).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Systems BiologySoochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Louis Bolk InstituteDriebergenThe Netherlands

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