sábado, 19 de janeiro de 2008

Acupuncture in the medico-scientific context

Today, life is understood as a multiple phenomenon, composed by different although coordinated activities at different levels of organization, that include elementary physicochemical processes, and an interiority, which maximal expression is the psyche.

Living organisms are defined as open dynamic systems made of sub-systems and integrated in higher level systems, which exchange matter-energy (inseparable) and information with the external environment.

Ina a contemporary scientific view, living organisms are interactive entities, in which every event in any part resonates on the whole, and in which peripheral inputs generate inner responses to create adjustments, homeostatic adaptive actions, in order to keep a controlled instability.

For an understanding of the Physiology under this point of view, it is fundamental the recognition of the self-regulating mechanisms. In order to be self-regulating and adaptive, the living organisms must have input, output and throughput devices, under the coordination of the nervous system.

These conceptions, which are already in the Biophysics books, have not yet be incorporate in the treatises on internal medicine. It is not usually considered in the Pathophysiology rationale, and is not applied to the clinical reasoning.

But the introduction of the concepts of organization and information flow in the living organisms, that leads to the understanding of health as the preservation of the steady state – in other words, the lowest level of entropy, implying in growing complexity and organization levels -, and of disease as the growth of entropy, is crucial for establishing a new model of therapeutics.

A model of therapeutics based on these concepts entail the inclusion of other methods of treatment of illness and diseases. It demands the introduction of an Information Medicine, consisting in the use of stimulus-information, able to increase the organization level (the opposite to growing entropy) of the living organism.

That’s where is inserted Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, a therapeutic method that can be translated as a kind of Information Medicine.

A common mistake about Acupuncture (inherited from the historical and magical ages) supposes that the action of the stimulus is over a so called “energy”. But the energy of the organism is not a mystical substance, but is part of the metabolic processes, as described by Gibbs, is present as electrical current across the cell membranes, and in the physical actions of the individual. Energy is the substrate of the ergonic component, while the cybernetic component is defined by the information flow. Information can be the presence of specific molecules and its concentration, controlling a chain of reactions across the organic integrative systems hierarchically distributed, under the upper control of the nervous system.

The set of therapeutic techniques conceived to be applied over the nervous sensory and/or motor fibers and terminals in the body periphery, that characterize Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, which aims to promote functional normalization and analgesia (by means of nociceptive transmission suppression, or activation of the endogenous inhibition of this transmission), perfectly fill the profile of an Information Medicine.

Its adoption in large scale for the treatment of pain and functional disorders at hospital and ambulatory care will, hopefully in a near future, represent a real possibility of mitigation of suffering for an inestimable number of patients.

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