Is nitric oxide a signal in the Qi net of information?

D. Ralt

Aspects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have nowadays been assimilated within the practice of many Western institutes of medicine; but TCM originated from a different philosophy and, though popular, is still not well understood in the West. This presentation suggests a Western explanation for the Chinese concept of Qi and thus joins the preliminary attempts at integration of Eastern and Western biological philosophies.

Chinese medical philosophy describes biology and nature via concepts that use non-Western wording, but share the same basic assumptions as nonlinear dynamics. Such discrete dynamics of physiochemical systems are currently gaining a lot of attention in medicine.

In this presentation the Qi will be described as an inter-cellular information communicated within the body; information which enables all bodily functions and is a key component in regulation.

Further elaboration will include the possibility that nitric oxide (NO), the cardiovascular signal, is a component of the Heart’s Qi, and suggests that, if this is indeed so, than we should try to look for it’s Yang component (the Heart is Yin) or for iYs other phases (the Heart belongs to the Fire phase). There are reasons to hypothesize such inter-relation, the main one being that traditionally one of the Heart’s Qi functions is to nourish Shen (spirit). Shen regulates behavior, rather as NO also regulates aggressive behavior.

Referring to Qi as information opens a vast opportunity to integrate Chinese medical philosophy with current biological research on cellular communication, as well as with information technology in general, a theme that has become one of the main issues of our time.