Does traditional Chinese medicine work? Network science can help evaluate effectiveness, Northeastern researchers say

In a striking example of old meets new, Northeastern University researchers say network science promises to be a powerful tool in evaluating the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine herbal remedies used for more than 2,000 years.

Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, has proved a challenge for researchers seeking to pinpoint the specific mechanisms by which it operates.

But now a paper in Science Advances says researchers established a network science framework that reveals the general principle for TCM treatment and a relationship between disease symptoms and herb targets.

The method establishes a scientific foundation for a therapy sometimes considered a myth, according to the report whose co-authors include Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, the Robert Gray Dodge professor of network science and a distinguished university professor of physics at Northeastern, and his former postdoctoral assistant Xiao Gan.

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