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Review  |  22 Aug 2019

Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis: From Empirical Practice to Evidence-Based Therapy

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common autoimmune condition with an elusive etiology. Conventional and biological disease-modifying drugs sometimes fail or produce only partial responses. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long been used in China as a treatment for RA and is achieving everincreasing acceptance worldwide. TCM treatments are traditionally guided by the theory of treatment based on TCM syndrome differentiation; however, they remain a matter of empirical practice relying on TCM theories and doctors’ own experience, which places severe restrictions on worldwide TCM application. Nevertheless, TCM is a treasure trove for drug discovery, particularly as a treatment for complicated human conditions. The discoveries of artemisinin as a treatment for malaria and of TCM–arsenic trioxide (As2O3) combination therapy as a treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) are excellent examples of the great value of TCM. Regarding RA treatments, many Chinese medicinal herbs and their formulas, extracts, ingredients, and even single compounds have been used in clinical applications. Several Chinese proprietary medicines (CPMs) derived from TCM formulas or herbal bioactive components, such as the controlled-release tablets of ZhengQingFengTongNing (ZQFTN), tripterygium glycoside tablets, and capsules of total glucosides of peony (TGP), have been included in the National Health Insurance Directory of China, and show comparable therapeutic efficacies to those of western chemical drugs with fewer side effects. As TCM research has advanced, particularly in the use of multidisciplinary technologies, the scientific foundations and characteristics of the use of TCM to treat RA have been revealed, and the quality of TCM treatments have been increasingly enhanced. However, TCM generally lacks sufficient clinical and laboratory data to be consistent with international standards for quality, safety, and efficacy in order to support its application worldwide. Therefore, intensive basic and clinical studies on TCM are required. In particular, investigations that use cutting-edge technologies in analytical chemistry, biology, and biomedical sciences, and the development of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and personalized pragmatic randomized controlled trials (PPRCTs) are necessary. Researchers should also collaborate to advance TCM from empirical practice to evidence-based therapy, thus consistently promoting TCM development and globalization in a vital, beneficial, and contributable manner.

Hu-Dan Pan

Perspective  |  21 Aug 2019

Complexity at Mesoscales: A Common Challenge in Developing Artificial Intelligence

Exploring the physical mechanisms of complex systems and making effective use of them are the keys to dealing with the complexity of the world. The emergence of big data and the enhancement of computing power, in conjunction with the improvement of optimization algorithms, are leading to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) driven by deep learning. However, deep learning fails to reveal the underlying logic and physical connotations of the problems being solved. Mesoscience provides a concept to understand the mechanism of the spatiotemporal multiscale structure of complex systems, and its capability for analyzing complex problems has been validated in different fields. This paper proposes a research paradigm for AI, which introduces the analytical principles of mesoscience into the design of deep learning models. This is done to address the fundamental problem of deep learning models detaching the physical prototype from the problem being solved; the purpose is to promote the sustainable development of AI.

Li Guo

Article  |  04 Sep 2019

Fully automatic container terminals of Shanghai Yangshan Port phase IV

Engineering Owner: Construction Headquarters of Yangshan Deep-water Port Phase IV Project of Shanghai International Shipping Center

Jack Xunjie LUO

Article  |  04 Sep 2019

A review of sustainability metrics for the construction and operation of airport and roadway infrastructure

Sustainability has become increasingly important, however, relatively little attention has focused on metrics for the construction and operation of airport and roadway infrastructure. Most attention has focused on buildings, with high profile BREEAM and LEED projects taking center stage. Sustainability is also important in airport and roadway infrastructure projects, which have significant public impact but have a much lower profile than vertical construction when it comes to sustainability. Sustainable infrastructure is important in China and India where new infrastructure is under construction to meet growing and developing economies, and in the US, where infrastructure is in substandard condition and requires reconstruction. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and discussion of sustainability rating systems for airport and roadway infrastructure, including both construction and operation. Specific projects that highlight both proven and innovative sustainable practices are included to illustrate the application of these concepts. Finally, the relationship between sustainable transportation infrastructure and resilient transportation infrastructure is addressed since resiliency is of growing interest and there is overlap between these concepts.

Sarah M. L. HUBBARD

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