[Fis] _ Towards a 3φ integrative medicine

Dr. Plamen L. Simeonov plamen.l.simeonov at gmail.com
Sat May 14 09:49:45 CEST 2016

Dear Colleagues,

My contribution will finalize the discussion on phenomenology in the
domains of biology, mathematics, cyber/biosemiotics and physics by the
previous speakers (Maxine, Lou, Sœren and Alex) with a “challenging topic”
in *3φ integrative medicine*. *You may wish to skip the small font text
notes following each underscored phrase like the one below.*

*Note 1:* Although this term is often used as synonym for holistic healing
(s. ref. list A), its meaning in this context with the prefix 3φ goes much
“deeper” into the disciplines’ integration leaving no room for speculations
by mainstream scientists. The concept is a linguistic choice of mine for
the intended merge of the complexity sciences *ph*ysics and *ph*ysiology
with *ph*enomenology for application in modern medicine along the line of
integral biomathics (s. ref. list B).

It is rooted in the last presentation of Alex Hankey, since it naturally
provides the link from physics to physiology and medicine, and thus to an
anthropocentric domain implying a leading part of phenomenological studies.
To begin, I compiled a précis of Alex’ thesis about self-organized
criticality (s. ref. list C) from his paper “A New Approach to Biology and
Medicine” -- the download link to it was distributed in a previous email of
him -- and extended it with my reflections including some questions I hope
you will resonate on.

I am curious of your opinion about how to apply the scientific method, and
in particular mathematics and information science, to study illness and
recovery as complex phenomena.

*Alex Hankey: self-organized criticality and regulation in living systems*

*There is a continuous growth and change at the end of a phase transition
in an organism, i.e. at its critical point, which is the end point of phase

*Both endo and exo, genetics and epigenetics are important for life.*

*Self-organized criticality* is a characteristic state of a system at its
critical point generated by self-organization during a long transient
period at the complexity edge between order/stability/predictability and

*Regulation of growth, form and function as a balance between health and
illness.* The role of regulation and homeostasis in maintaining the
structure and function of living systems is critical. Every deviation from
a regulated state of being leads to imbalances, failures and subsystem
dysfunction that is usually transitory, but could also become
life-threatening, if the organism cannot find a way to restore quickly to a
balanced, healthy state. Living beings are robust and fault-tolerant with
respect to hazards; they possess multiple alternative pathways for
supplying and maintaining their existential functions. However, some state
transitions in response to severe harms can become practically
irreversible, because of the deep evolutionary interlocking between the
participating entities and processes. Sometimes the normal functioning of
the organism cannot be easily restored by its natural repair processes,
especially when adversities reoccur frequently, and the organism fails ill.

*Synchronicity of action and information between the building blocks of a
living system.* There is a need for every physiological function to be
correctly coordinated with all other “peer” functions. Information flows
within a living system interconnect all physiological functions and organs
at multiple levels into a single mesh of regulatory interconnections.
Multiple feedback-control loops enable the cross-functional interlocking of
both healthy and ill state changes of the organism.
Adjacent/peripheral/secondary homeostasis processes act as fine-tuning
catalyzers of substrate ratios and process rates exchanged within the
living system. Imbalances of these quantities lead to excess/blockage or
scarcity/draining of essential nourishment and information exchange

*Regulation at criticality* not only fine-tunes a process, it *optimizes*
it for survival: with respect to a given generation’s available
possibilities in the light of the past generations’ possibilities. To
survive an organism or a species needs to develop optimal *response-ability*
to environmental distress.

*New ecological definition of life according to Hankey: self-regulating,
self-reproducing systems that maximize efficiency of function to maximize
competitiveness in their chosen environment. *

*Summary: Elements of self-organized criticality*

   1. Criticality
   2. Edge of the chaos
   3. Self-organized criticality
   4. 1/f fractal patterns of response

*… and beyond*

I wish to add a 5th aspect to this definition from the perspective of
integral biomathics:

   1. *Phenomenology*

The latter is a largely studied matter in contemporary medicine (s. ref.
list D), at least at the macro, interpersonal *level*.

*Note 2*: A level refers to the compositional hierarchy defining levels by

*The key question in such a “deep holistic” physically-phenomenological
physiology (*3φ*)** is how to define or comprehend (self-organized)
criticality operationally within the unifying framework of biomathematics
and biocomputation*. Indeed, a single temporary imbalance within a living
system regarded as disease involves multiple agents, perspectives and
interpretations at all levels altogether, moreover *simultaneously*.

*Note 3*: Simultaneously at different levels involves very different sized
'moments' at the different scales.

So, how should we approach and take into account the other levels/scales in
order to derive a reliable diagnosis and *therapy*?

*Note 4*: The notion of “subject” becomes plural (“subjects”) as
superposition of quantum states to survive the integration of the multiple
first-person subjective descriptions and the standard third-person
objective one.

Until now criticality has been *non-phenomenological*.

*Note 5:* In their 2012 paper “No entailing laws, but enablement in the
evolution of the biosphere” Longo, Montévil and Kauffman claim that
biological evolution “marks the end of a physics world view of law entailed
dynamics” (http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.2069). They argue that the
evolutionary phase space or space of possibilities constituted of
interactions between organisms, biological niches and ecosystems is “ever
changing, intrinsically indeterminate and even (mathematically)
unprestatable”.Hence, the authors' claim that it is impossible to know
“ahead of time the 'niches' which constitute the boundary conditions on
selection” in order to formulate laws of motion for evolution. They call
this effect “radical emergence”, from life to life. Yet this applies to
abiotic dissipative structures like tornadoes as well. Living beings are
not radically different in this respect. In their study of biological
evolution, Longo and colleagues carried close comparisons with physics.
They investigated the mathematical constructions of phase spaces and the
role of symmetries as invariant preserving transformations, and introduced
the notion of “enablement” to restrict causal analyses to Batesonian
differential cases (1972: “the difference that makes a difference”). The
authors have shown that mutations or other “causal differences” at the core
of evolution enable the establishment of non-conservation principles, in
contrast to physical dynamics, which is largely based on conservation
principles as symmetries. Their new notion of “extended criticality” also
helps to understand the distinctiveness of the living state of matter when
compared to the non-animal one. However, their approach to both physics and
biology is also *non-phenomenological*. The possibility for endo states
that can trigger the “(genetic/epigenetic) switches of mutation” has not
been examined in their model. This is intended to be different in 3φ*
integrative medicine*.

If we split a human body into macro (patient), mezzo (systems) and micro
levels (cells) three distinct questions regarding phenomenology arise: i)
*how* these levels pervade into each other with larger scale providing
context (boundary conditions) and lowest scale providing raw materials for
middle scale to function, monitor and control vital processes, ii)
*who/which* are the agents taking care for this to happen spontaneously,
and iii) *what kind and role* plays information in the context of i) and
ii). After all what we are concerned about is modeling the agency of the
systems in the mezzo level.

Where should we go from here?

In particular, I am interested to know *what kind of
scientific-phenomenological methodology can be developed and applied for
investigating *the following three major groups of ailments:

   1. *oncological diseases* with a particular focus on spatial and
   temporal heterogeneity both in terms of flawed histological structures and
   biochemical reactions;

   1. *neuro-degenerative disorders* such as vascular dementia, Parkinson
   and Alzheimer diseases:

   1. *altered organ and physiological system failures* such as the
   Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS), cardiovascular and autoimmune

In the first group, the *extreme diversity of cancer tissue structures and
circulating tumor cells (CTC) concentrations over both spatial and temporal
scales* makes the reliable classification, diagnosis, model/hypothesis
generation, forecast and treatment of individual patients very difficult.
This is a real challenge for modern pathology. Another problem is that
pathologists are actually dealing with random tissue and blood samples over
irregular periods, which hinder the exact 3D histological reconstruction of
the tumor formations and tracing their development over time and space.
Using additional means such as diagnostic sonography, CT, MRT and PET
images do not improve sufficiently the hypotheses about the individual
cancer morphology and development. All this makes tumor classification and
diagnosis, even when analyzing high-resolution digital images from biopsy
slices by means of virtual microscopy, very difficult and often a guesswork
also for experts. The recent advances in high-performance medical scanning
and automation systems, computerized visualization and graphical modeling
tools, as well the collection of huge amounts of anonymous patient data in
specialized medical databases make the impression that the solution of
these problems is only a question of more automation, performance,
investment and time. However, many pathologists begin to realize a third
problem, namely that *tumors appear to be unique in their histological
structure and development*, related to the personal history and the overall
state of health of the individual patients. This argument reveals the need
for developing a more personalized and differentiated medicine that goes
over scales without becoming purely symptomatic, causality-driven and

Recent research in the other two fields leads to the same conclusion.
Therefore, I think that we may be able to develop and test hypotheses about
emergence and development of deficiency and illness that will lead to
individual therapies in *3φ* integrative medicine. Your ideas regarding
this assumption are very welcome.

Some interesting questions bridging the previous discussion sessions to
this one are:

-        Why does a human embryo repeat the evolutionary history of its
species when going through its development stages? Is it because it is more
secure to project and set up the execution of a future life plan by tracing
and bodily memorizing a series of evolutionary encoded (successful) “locks”
through equilibrium states at the edge of criticality?

-        Which is the *vital *role of recursion and repetition of life
processes including their material and information exchange flows in the
criticality driven self-regulation for recovery from imbalances and the
reversibility and healing of diseases? How can we effectively model such

-        Do we make difference between a physicist’s time and a biologist’s
time in complex living systems?

* I look forward to your feedback and notes on the subject.*


*A.     **Integrative Medicine*

Integrative Medicine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrative_medicine

What Is Integrative Medicine?:


Integrative Medicine Research:


Advances in Integrative Medicine


*B.    **Integral Biomathics*

Integral Biomathics:


Integral Biomathics: A Post-Newtonian View into the Logos of Bios


On Some Recent Insights in Integral Biomathics:


Integral Biomathics Reloaded: 2015 (free access until July 19th 2016):


*C.    **Self-organized criticality**:*

Self-organized criticality:


Self-organized criticality (SOC):


Self-organized criticality:


Self-organized criticality – what it is and what it isn’t


*D.    **Phenomenology in Medicine*

The meaning of illness: a phenomenological approach to the
physician/patient relationship:
https://baylor-ir.tdl.org/baylor-ir/handle/2104/8286 ;

Body Matters: A Phenomenology of Sickness, Disease, and Illness:


Suffering Transfigured: Phenomenological Personalism In the Doctor-Patient

The challenge of neuroscience: Psychiatry and phenomenology today:

Rediscovering Psychopathology: The Epistemology and Phenomenology of the
Psychiatric Object:


2015 JPBMB Special Issue on Integral Biomathics: Life Sciences, Mathematics
and Phenomenological Philosophy
(note: free access to all articles until July 19th, 2016)

2013 JPBMB Special Issue on Integral Biomathics: Can Biology Create a
Profoundly New Mathematics and Computation?

2012 Integral Biomathics: Tracing the Road to Reality

2011 INtegral BIOmathics Support Action (INBIOSA) <http://www.inbiosa.eu>
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