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Ageing and Mechanisms of Disease

In 2002, Calabrese and Baldwin1 published a paper entitled “Defining Hormesis”. Since then, rapidly expanding experimental findings about the concept of hormesis have contributed

substantially to the better understanding of this concept. The 2002 paper, which contained five independent co-published commentaries/critiques,2–6 evaluated hormesis from a relatively

broad context by examining its strengths, limitations, and possible applications. That paper can usefully serve as a benchmark as it was published just as hormesis research began its period of

accelerated growth. In the year 2000 articles using terms “hormesis” or “hormetic” were cited approximately 400 times, while in 2016 articles using those terms were cited more than

8000 times. Over these years, the knowledge base on hormesis has grown greatly and continues to expand, revealing the need for modification and refinement of the concept. Consequently,

this paper examines hormesis in relationship to these more recent research findings, offers insight to and refinement of the concept, and improves clarification of its scientific foundations and

biological/biomedical significance. Those interested in a broad overview of the hormesis concept including its historical foundations, biological generality, mechanistic foundations, and environmental and biomedical applications may refer to a series of previous publications.7–11

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