There is much to be gained from examining human diseases within the expanding framework of Darwinian medicine. This is particularly true of those conditions that change in frequency as populations develop from the human ‘‘environment of evolutionary adaptedness’’ to the living conditions of the rich industrialized countries. This development entails major changes in lifestyle, leading to reductions in contact with environmental microorganisms and helminths that have evolved a physiologic role as drivers of immunoregulatory circuits. It is suggested that a deficit in immunoregulation in rich countries is contributing not only to increases in
the incidence of allergic disorders but also to increases in other chronic inflammatory conditions that are exacerbated by a failure to terminate inappropriate inflammatory reponses. These include autoimmunity, neuroinflammatory disorders, atherosclerosis, depression associated with raised inflammatory cytokines, and some cancers.