Health and Disease
The CA is controlled by the following buttons:
Hide CA-1: Hides the hidden process
Start: Starts the experiment
infection Induce an acute disease
This applet illustrates a hidden dimension of
the organism. It is called tolerance
and stands for the amount of resources the organism has
in health and in disease. Resources are depicted by the red bar.When
the experiment begins wait until the system reaches a steady
state. CA-1 stands for hidden processes in the
body, and CA-2 for the body's appearance or structure.
A click on infection initiates a resource shortage of CA-1 and it shrinks. However these changes are hidden from the physician who observes only CA-2. You may click now on Hide CA-1 . CA-2 appears normal and yet the patient (here the applet) feels a “dis-ease”, manifested by weakness and prostration. After some time, CA-1 resources are replenished and the patient is healthy again. At times an acute illness may become chronic.
Click on Start and wait until the system reaches its steady state. Clicking on infection initiates an acute disease. In order to make it chronic you may have to click several times, otherwise it will remain acute. CA-1 shrinks and moves away from CA-2. At first CA-2 does not change, despite losing resources. When resources drop below a certain level, the physician recognizes a change in the CA-2 and diagnoses an illness. After a while CA-1 joins CA-2 which becomes normal again. At times even when all resources were replenished CA-1 structure is not yet normal which illustrates that the recovery after a chronic disease may continue even when the resources were replenished and the patient is healthy. During this state a disease may flare up again.
This applet illustrates that health and illness are states in a continuous process. Any agent which initiates resource depletion initiates also a transition from health to illness, which proceeds through two stages:
1. Pre-clinical stage, when the observed variables (CA-2) are normal. The disease is hidden and undiagnosed.
2. Clinical stage, when the observed variables (CA-2) are abnormal and the disease is diagnosed.
Resource replenishment and recovery require that processes cooperate, like here when they touch each. When disrupted they cannot accumulate resources and recover. The outcome of the disease, or its prognosis depends on the patient’s reserves, or tolerance.
Further reading: A New Kind of Medicine