By Henry Ehrlich
Dr. Paul Ehrlich and I had the privilege of traveling to China for a week in the company of Dr. Xiu-Min Li where we attended meetings at Guangzhou University and Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine but also managed to visit three world historical sites—the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Grottoes at Longmen where 100,000 Buddhas are carved into limestone cliffs that stretch along a river bank.
Paul and I gave talks to the conference audiences. His were about standard asthma and eczema treatment in the United States and mine were about the use of social media for communicating with patients and families. Our Chinese language skills were non-existent but our slides had been translated in advance by students at the Henan University, with last minute additions by an English instructor who had taught for two years at Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois.
But the most important part of the trip was for Dr. Li to discuss research collaborations with the universities. Readers of this website know we are big fans of Dr. Li’s work, which shows such promise for the treatment of allergic diseases including eczema, asthma, and food allergies. The collaboration between Mount Sinai with Chinese universities will expand the constellation of scientists who can investigate the possibilities for using Chinese herbal medicines to treat the immune system. Doctors I met expressed great interest in the mission of opening up TCM to Western standards of proof. Allergies and asthma represent a growing public health problem in China and elsewhere. The TCM formulary gives us millennia of R & D. Modern science gives us the tools to optimize these resources.
All in all, it was a great, informative trip.