Systems biology offers cutting-edge tools for the study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The advent of 'omics' techniques and the resulting avalanche of scientific data have introduced an unprecedented level of complexity and heterogeneous data to biomedical research, leading to the development of novel research approaches. Statistical averaging has its limitations and is unsuitable for the analysis of heterogeneity, as it masks diversity by homogenizing otherwise heterogeneous populations. Unfortunately, most researchers are unaware of alternative methods of analysis capable of accounting for individual variability. This paper describes a systems biology solution to data complexity through the application of parsimony phylogenetic analysis. Maximum parsimony (MP) provides a data-based modeling paradigm that will permit a priori stratification of the study cohort(s), better assessment of early diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment efficacy within each stratum, and a method that could be used to explore, identify and describe complex human patterning.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In recent years, investigators have discovered significant limitations in applying biomedical cause-effect assumptions and using conventional efficacy study designs to assess the clinical outcomes of whole systems of complementary and alternative medicine (WS-CAM). A group of WS-CAM researchers has been working collaboratively since 2001 to address the limitations of studies evaluating WS-CAM and discern ways to conduct research that would capture the complexity of such systems and the synergistic effects between the various elements of the system and would take into account treatment individualization and/or the patient-centered nature of treatment systems. In 2009, 14 complexity scientists from systems biology, psychology and the social sciences were invited to attend a workshop with these CAM scientists to (a) identify and discuss analytical techniques that can be used to study phenomena from a complex/nonlinear dynamical sciences perspective, (b) establish working relationships with these researchers, and (c) develop working research projects/ protocols to collaboratively study patient-centered responses to CAM treatments. This paper provides an overview of the workshop goals and outcomes, introducing this special issue of Forschende Komplementärmedizin.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: This paper presents an evidence-based model for the nature and mode of action of homeopathic remedies. Recent studies reveal that homeopathic remedies contain nanoparticles (NPs) of source materials formed by "top-down" mechanical grinding in lactose and/or succussion (forceful agitation) in ethanolic solutions. Silica nanostructures formed during succussions in glass and/or biosynthesized by specific plant extract tinctures also may acquire and convey epitaxial information from remedy source materials into higher potencies. NPs have enhanced bioavailability, adsorptive capabilities, adjuvant reactivity, electromagnetic and quantum properties compared with their bulk forms. NPs induce adaptive changes in the organism at nontoxic doses (hormesis), serving as salient, low level danger signals to the biological stress response network. Activation of stress response effectors, including heat shock proteins, inflammasomes, cytokines and neuroendocrine pathways, initiate beneficial compensatory reactions across the interconnected networks of the organism as a complex adaptive system. Homeopathic remedies act by stimulating hormetic adaptive rather than conventional pharmacological effects. Updating terminology from "homeopathy" to "adaptive network nanomedicine" reflects the integration of this historical but controversial medical system with modern scientific findings.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Frontiers in bioscience (Scholar edition)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Key concepts of the Nanoparticle-Allostatic Cross-Adaptation-Sensitization (NPCAS) Model for the action of homeopathic remedies in living systems include source nanoparticles as low level environmental stressors, heterotypic hormesis, cross-adaptation, allostasis (stress response network), time-dependent sensitization with endogenous amplification and bidirectional change, and self-organizing complex adaptive systems. The model accommodates the requirement for measurable physical agents in the remedy (source nanoparticles and/or source adsorbed to silica nanoparticles). Hormetic adaptive responses in the organism, triggered by nanoparticles; bipolar, metaplastic change, dependent on the history of the organism. Clinical matching of the patient's symptom picture, including modalities, to the symptom pattern that the source material can cause (cross-adaptation and cross-sensitization). Evidence for nanoparticle-related quantum macro-entanglement in homeopathic pathogenetic trials. This paper examines research implications of the model, discussing the following hypotheses: Variability in nanoparticle size, morphology, and aggregation affects remedy properties and reproducibility of findings. Homeopathic remedies modulate adaptive allostatic responses, with multiple dynamic short- and long-term effects. Simillimum remedy nanoparticles, as novel mild stressors corresponding to the organism's dysfunction initiate time-dependent cross-sensitization, reversing the direction of dysfunctional reactivity to environmental stressors. The NPCAS model suggests a way forward for systematic research on homeopathy. The central proposition is that homeopathic treatment is a form of nanomedicine acting by modulation of endogenous adaptation and metaplastic amplification processes in the organism to enhance long-term systemic resilience and health.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Homeopathy: the journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy