Quantum medicine: the way forward?

The practice of medicine, as opposed to medical knowledge, varies with human cultures, reflecting the underlying values of each population or group. Education has contributed to a massive shift in how individuals view medicine.

A new report published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine examines how quantum physics, specifically quantum theory and quantum mechanics, have contributed to medicine.

Study: It’s Time to Go Quantum in Medicine. Image Credit: LekaSergeeva/Shutterstock.comStudy: It’s Time to Go Quantum in Medicine. Image Credit: LekaSergeeva/Shutterstock.com


Quantum physics is a physical science that is derived from quantum theory. The latter is explained, at least in part, by the principles that relate to how matter and energy behave – principles that make up quantum theory.

The unique attribute of quantum theory is its use of discrete energy states for subatomic particles that define a wave condition with specific boundary conditions. Thus, it deals with discrete rather than continuously varying states and focuses on probabilities of particle position rather than exact descriptions of particulate motion.

In quantum physics, the focus is on matter at the subatomic scale, dealing with the fundamental particles of matter, unlike classical physics. Its applications in medicine are vast and highly significant. For instance, carcinogenesis, neural networks in the central nervous system, and telomere reduction may be better understood using a quantum physics framework.

Moreover, mutations and their impact on DNA may be studied more deeply. The quantum theory could help enhance the rate of preclinical or early disease diagnosis by revealing their causes.

These two fields have more to do with one another than people usually realize… bringing them together [is] a means of advancing the field of medicine through unique applications in quantum theory."

Quantum theory and the mind

Quantum theory and the human body have been found to be connected in certain fundamental ways, which could help study, understand, and correct abnormalities in the body's functioning.

Similarly, mental functioning is also related to human health. Cognitive studies, and those carried out under changes in consciousness, help reveal how humans make decisions and act. These may one day help patients tolerate painful or stressful procedures much better, whether in daily life or as a part of necessary medical care.

Quantum theory fits into the realm of neurological and mental structure and function because of its concordance with and reliance upon statistical mathematics.

Quantum-state reduction is a term familiar to quantum physicists, explaining a state change of a system being measured because of the measurement and dependent on the measurement outcome.

This concept is key to properly understanding human consciousness and mind, which relate to reality via the measurement problem.

Conscious decision-making and quantum theory

Prominent scientist John von Neumann has worked much on consciousness and neuronal assemblies. He concluded that while defining a measured object system, either a detector or the brain of the human observer can be in the role of detector for the system observed – a very significant conclusion.

The collapsing of the wave function is the goal of quantum-state reductions or the generation of a single eigenstate from a host of different eigenstates.

In quantum theory, conscious decision-making comes from collapsing wave functions and reaching one final irreversible state."

This has led to the formulation of equations to help describe such measurements, which can "help describe how neuronal assembly occurs in relation to how conscious behavior reaches a singular final state when interacting with an external stimulus."

To better simulate and explain biological phenomena, different network models need to be incorporated. 

Neurodegenerative disease and accompanying changes in the neural network that affect conscious decision-making could be better examined using quantum theory in neurology. While enormous research is necessary to validate this approach, it illustrates the potential effectiveness of quantum theory applications in medicine.

Understanding cellular processes

From the quantum viewpoint, cells with a large electrical field on their surfaces could be studied as active centers that can receive information from the DNA common to each cell of the same organism.

This would lead to protein-encoding genes being viewed as the "transformation of a quasi-continuous spectrum of energy transitioning into a discrete one inherent to this specific organism only."

Early diagnosis in quantum terms

Translation, or protein synthesis from decoded genetic material, thus becomes a quantum mechanical energy transformation.

Disruptions of these waves could thus be the earliest sign of disease and signal the need for preventive intervention long before the first clinical sign or symptom appeared.

Using the whole organism as an isolated system, quantum mechanics would help explain and describe the whole system holistically in terms of the superposition of quantum excitations.

In integrative medicine, for instance, where multiple facets of the physical organism need to be considered, such an approach could become very important to diagnose and treat patients properly.

Superposition effects occur because quantum particles can be in multiple places simultaneously as long as they are within the probability zones. This could lead to mutation in certain circumstances. Superposition principles might help solve or treat the problem of certain malignancies.

Quantum entropy, or Von Neumann entropy, and the ability to reverse associated changes could help reduce telomerase activity, thus preventing telomere shortening associated with carcinogenesis.

Similarly, a phenomenon called the Levinthal paradox, though unsolved can explain certain life processes. It is based on the quantum holographic framework that explains macroscopic quantum phenomena.

According to the authors, this approach may make it possible to understand psychosomatic disease better and offer better treatment.

What are the implications?

Utilizing quantum theory in the field of medicine can help in understanding and applying treatments for a multitude of different diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or diverse types of cancer, and even expand upon efficient and reliable diagnosis in clinical settings."

While the quantum approach to medicine has the attraction of being innovative and helping explain certain problems of human consciousness and biology, it is in an early stage of development when it comes to ethical application in the field of medicine. The technological background does not exist yet.

Medical professionals are not trained to understand or use quantum physics in their approach to patient care, presenting a formidable learning curve if this ever becomes the standard of care.

The sheer cost of such a switch is also a massive concern. And finally, the ideological shift required to embrace the integral medicine approach will not be easy to achieve.

Journal reference:
Dr. Liji Thomas

Written by

Dr. Liji Thomas

Dr. Liji Thomas is an OB-GYN, who graduated from the Government Medical College, University of Calicut, Kerala, in 2001. Liji practiced as a full-time consultant in obstetrics/gynecology in a private hospital for a few years following her graduation. She has counseled hundreds of patients facing issues from pregnancy-related problems and infertility, and has been in charge of over 2,000 deliveries, striving always to achieve a normal delivery rather than operative.


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