A Mathematical Analysis of its Basic Concepts
Brown Bag Lecture by Dr. Stefan Jaeger | 8/23/2011 11AM-12PM | 7th Floor Conference Room, Bldg 38A
Abstract: This talk presents a mathematical analysis of two central philosophical concepts of Chinese medicine: Yin-Yang and Wu Xing. Although Chinese Medicine is widely used in China and in other parts of the world, scientific evidence of its effectiveness is limited. The abstract philosophical ideas of Chinese medicine present a challenge for researchers seeking to establish a formal conceptual framework. However, a rigorous scientific investigation of Chinese medicine requires a formal approach. The work presented in this talk is a step toward a mathematical foundation of Chinese medicine.
After a brief summary of the present status of Chinese medicine, the first part of the talk introduces a mathematical model for Yin and Yang. The black-and-white Yin-Yang symbol is one of the most flamboyant symbols in use today. Contemporary books and articles typically address the philosophical facets of Yin and Yang, but they usually do not cover the nature of the Yin-Yang symbol. However, this talk shows that the origin of the Yin-Yang symbol holds the key to the formalization of Yin and Yang. In particular, the talk presents a rendering method for the Yin-Yang symbol. It turns out that the properly rendered Yin-Yang symbol differs from the commonly used Yin-Yang symbol, which is oversimplified. Moreover, the shape of the Yin-Yang symbol depends on several factors, resulting in a set of symbols rather than a single symbol. The talk discusses the implications of these results for Chinese medicine.
In the second part, the talk discusses the potential connection between Wu Xing and the innate immune system. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that Wu Xing, or the theory of the Five Elements, relates to the immune system. Although each of the Five Elements corresponds to an organ of the human anatomy, it is possible to extend the theory to a network of more than five elements. Motivated by the structure of general N-element networks, the talk offers a potential explanation for the number of toll-like receptors in the innate immune system of mammals.
Bio: Dr. Stefan Jaeger is a visiting scientist in the Communications Engineering Branch of Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications at NLM. He received his diploma from University of Kaiserslautern and his PhD from University of Freiburg, Germany, both in computer science. Dr. Jaeger has an international research background, both in academia and industry. He has held, among others, positions at Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Maryland, Tokyo University of Agri. & Tech., University of Karlsruhe, and Daimler. His research interests include biomedical imaging, medical informatics, pattern recognition, machine learning, and information fusion. He has about fifty publications in these areas, several of which received best paper awards and nominations, including two patents. He is associate editor of Electronic Letters on Computer Vision and Image Analysis.