Conflicts of Interest

I hold the opinion that an honest declaration of potential conflicts of interest is important to put research into context. The reason is twofold: First, there is no value-free science, because science is a human endeavor, and every human individual has certain values. Second, there is no theory-free interpretation of data. Thus, prior beliefs in certain theories that a scientist holds will influence the way that he/she analyzes and interprets the data.

Therefore, in order to place my research in context I formulate here some of my beliefs and values. This goes beyond the typical declaration of conflicts of interest that you will find in most scientific papers.

I am a realist, meaning that I believe that events happen and things exist in the world (in „reality“) even if we do not perceive them happening or existing. I strongly believe that science is one of the best routes for humans to attain knowledge about reality, if it is conducted free of ideologies and dogmas. However, I also believe that it is not the only route, as inner experience, contemplation or intuition can be similarly valuable, and complementary routes towards knowing reality.

That said, it should be clear that I am not a materialist. I place high value in trying to be bias-free and independent in my research, without having to rely on money from others who might hold certain interests in potential research outcomes. In the past, I have received some honorary fees for traveling to conferences, accomodation and/or giving talks. These came from Elekta (a radiation oncology venture), vitaflo (a sub-venture of Nestlé specialised in clincial nutrition), the Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Health or the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). In no case had any of these companies or societies an influence on my research.

Finally, given that some of my research concerns nutrition and that I offer nutritinoal conselling, I declare that I follow principles of a Paleolithic Diet most (~80-90%) of the time and occasionally try to achieve nutritional ketosis. The reason is simply that I feel best on such a diet, and it makes the most sense for me in light of what we know about human evolution and physiology. Although I am convinced that many humans would thrive on Paleolithic-like diets (as more and more research shows), I also acknowledge that the „right“ diet is highly individual, and that ethical, cultural and other considerations are also important considerations that should be accepted.