Health  Vol.7 No.7 , July 2015
Does East Meet West?—The Association between Oriental Tongue Inspection and Western Clinical Assays of White Blood Cell Subsets
ABSTRACT
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls white blood cell (WBC) subsets; therefore, the status of ANS can be assessed by assaying WBCs. However, this requires invasive blood sampling, time, cost, and training. Therefore, this study focused on a traditional technique, tongue inspection, which is a simpler method. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there is an association between the traditional method of tongue inspection and clinical assay of WBC subsets. Twenty-one female alopecia areata patients were divided into two age-matched groups: 1) alopecia areata totalis (AT); and 2) alopecia areata multiplex (AM). Images of patient tongues were captured by a digital camera and categorized before blood sampling. Finally, patients were divided into five groups (normal, Yin+, Yang–, Yin– and Yang+) based on the Eight Principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Concurrently, venous blood was obtained for WBC subsets. The absolute numbers of WBCs and granulocytes of the AT group were higher than those of the AM group. The AT group was Yin+ but not Yang+, whereas the AM group was Yang+ but not Yin+. Thus, the AT group showed more elements of “cold” (Yin > Yang) compared with the AM group with elements of “hot” (Yin < Yang). Tongue inspection suggested a possibility of consistence with those of WBCs although statistical significance was not obtained. Moreover, some Yin+ and Yang+ subjects showed some trend in similarities between tongue inspection and WBC subsets although this was not statistically significant. Therefore, traditional techniques (such as tongue inspection) acupuncture must be studied further to detect whether subtle effects are induced by acupuncture treatment. As this study is underpowered, a larger scale study including males is required in the future.

Cite this paper
Watanabe, M. , Kainuma, E. , Tomiyama, C. , Oh, Z. , Koshizawa, J. and Nagano, G. (2015) Does East Meet West?—The Association between Oriental Tongue Inspection and Western Clinical Assays of White Blood Cell Subsets. Health, 7, 801-808. doi: 10.4236/health.2015.77094.
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