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Systems biology, particularly at the higher levels that are the domain of the Physiome Project, offers a more promising basis for constructive dialogue with traditional oriental medicine than does reductive molecular biology alone. However, there are major problems to be overcome before this can be achieved. First, systems biology is at an early stage of development as a fully quantitative and computational discipline. We still do not know what the higher level concepts should be that might map well to traditional oriental medical concepts. Second, there are major problems of translation and interpretation to be tackled. Exploring the full semantic frame of the oriental concepts will be necessary before mapping to concepts in western medicine can be useful.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol Sci

Publication Date





249 - 251


Humans, Interdisciplinary Communication, Language, Medicine, East Asian Traditional, Physiology, Systems Biology