Universiteit Leiden

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Systems diagnosis of chronic diseases, explored by metabolomics and ultra-weak photon emission

Promotor: J. van der Greef; Co-promotor: E. van Wijk, M. Wang

Min He
13 April 2017
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Treating chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes mellitus is a hot topic that has been discussed widely and investigated extensively, but never solved, due in part to their high complexity. Integrating disease-related information using a systems approach may help improve our knowledge of stages of the disease, thus improving the accuracy of diagnosing chronic disease. With respect to integrative thinking, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)‒based concepts may provide a suitable holistic model, as TCM describes disease syndromes/phenotypes as an experience-based reference from the systems level. Systems-based metabolomics provides a comprehensive picture of small molecular metabolites as a readout and provides biological interpretations of the pathophysiology of disease. The rapid, highly sensitive, non-invasive measurement of ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) -- which measures spontaneously emitted photons at the surface of the skin--has been proposed for supporting TCM-based diagnostics and for reflecting the whole body’s physiological and pathological status. Combining metabolomics with TCM-based diagnostics will provide a robust model for investigating the biological processes that underlie UPE. This thesis aimed to investigate system-wide perturbations by using/combining metabolomics, UPE and TCM-based diagnostics, to provide i) a systems view of chronic disease, and ii) personalized phenotyping guided by TCM-based principles.