The healthcare management is an evolutionary medicine regulative process proposed by Nicholas Humphrey in which actuarial assessment of fitness and economic-type cost–benefit analysis determines the body’s regulation of its physiology and health. This incorporation of cost–benefit calculations into body regulation provides a science grounded approach to mind–body phenomena such as placebos that are otherwise not explainable by low level, noneconomic, and purely feedback based homeostatic or allostatic theories.
- Many medical symptoms such as inflammation, fever, pain, sickness behavior, or morning sickness have an evolutionary medicine function of enabling the body to protect, heal or restore itself from injury, infection or other physiological disruption.
- The deployment of self-treatments have costs as well as benefits with the result that evolution has selected management processes in the brain such that self-treatments are used only when they provide an overall cost–benefit advantage. The brain controls such physiological process through top–down regulation.
- External treatment and the availability of support is factored into the health management system’s cost–benefit assessment as to whether to deploy or not an evolved self-treatment.
Placebos are explained as the result of false information about the availability of external treatment and support that mislead the health management system into not deploying evolved self-treatments. This results in the placebo suppression of medical symptoms.