left corner left corner
China Daily Website

TCM, WM to communicate on cultural-scientific level

Updated: 2012-05-12 14:47
( Xinhua)

BOLOGNA, Italy - Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine (WM) shall complement for the benefit of mankind, a distinguished professor of internal medicine told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.

"Of course there are differences between TCM and WM, but creative minds are for joint discoveries," said Horst Klinkmann, the dean of the International Faculty for Artificial Organs of Bologna University.

Bologna University, one of the oldest universities in the world, hosted the first "Dialogue on Human Health between Traditional Chinese Medicine Culture and Western Medicine" on Thursday and Friday.

"Basically the Western and Chinese medical systems have a big difference in their origin, as the TCM is based on philosophy, considers life as a whole and especially cares about balance of emotions," Klinkmann said.

"The WM instead is traditionally based on natural sciences, requires clinical trials and has clear-cut regulations in safety, efficacy and quality."

To join these two systems because "it is a necessity for the coming century" was the aim of the Bologna conference on human health, the first high-level exchange between Chinese and European experts ever organized.

The professor, who is also Honorary Director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology at Nankai University of Tianjin, said scientists predicted that in future the prevailing issue for human beings will be "not only the health of the body but especially psycho-social health, which should not always be treated by drugs but by accepting environmental issues and psychological balances."

"Europe now sees a tremendous increase of psychological disturbances and depression," Klinkmann noted. "So our very strictly-regulated system on natural sciences now needs to consider that the human being is not a machine, but is more than a machine."

In addition, he said, Europe is moving towards so-called "individualized medicine", meaning a disease should be treated in different ways for each individual.

"Having practiced internal medicine for over 50 years, for me it is very important to see that relational issues are becoming more and more important in Europe, and I think how to address them is something that we can learn from the TCM," he said.

Naturally, the German professor added, the TCM itself can learn a lot from WM in the safety, efficacy and quality of drugs which means avoiding certain deficiencies.

"So our aim is on a dialogue respecting diversity from each side, which in my opinion is the only way to gain quality from both systems. I think both medical traditions will exist besides each other but many individual things from both will integrate," he said.

Some significant steps that foresee complement between the two medical traditions have been recently taken, Klinkmann noted.

"For example, a special form of mortal leukemia which could not be treated until half a year ago can now be cured after the use of some Chinese herb medicine," he said.

"Europeans are also investigating on how the Chinese traditional drugs and herbs can be used in WM. For example, we believe that certain Chinese drugs may have a very high influence on the growth of stem cells, one of the most modern therapeutic approaches of WM," he said.

"From their side, Chinese are certainly learning from us in many other fields, such as how to do organ transportation. I am pretty sure that both systems will learn a lot from each other," Klinkmann said.

Profound dialogue between experts on the cultural and scientific level, rather than economic issues, was the great achievement of the Bologna meeting, he stressed.