Western and Eastern Medicine

Big Think extends a warm thank you to Cogito and the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University for facilitating this interview.

Steven Castellano is a senior at High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey, and is one of Big Think's "10 under 25" young experts.

At High Tech, he was the vice-president of the Key Club, vice-president of the National Honor Society, and a member of the senior class council. He also served as the secretary for the New Jersey state Technology Student Association that works to promote technological literacy in schools throughout the country. He has developed a deep interest in behavioral neuroscience research throughout high school and has worked on projects investigating the effects of acupressure on alertness and visual attention skills.

His research has won first prize in the MIT THINK competition, the Delaware Valley Science Fair, the Jersey Shore Science Fair, and the New Jersey Academy of Science. In addition, Steven has been named an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist and has presented his research to the American Junior Academy of Science division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Human Factors and Ergonomics division of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association. Most recently, his research has been published in Imagine magazine.

In 2009, Steven and his teammates won $20,000 in the 2009 Moody's Mega Math Challenge, an applied mathematics competition sponsored by the Moody's Foundation and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. During the challenge, his team had 14 hours to analyze and submit a paper on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The team was also featured on Bloomberg Radio's Taking Stock with Pimm Fox and Karen Moscow. His paper and presentation can be viewed at 2009 Winning Papers.

After graduating from High Tech, Steven plans to attend Columbia College of Columbia University to study neuroscience and physics.

  • Transcript


Question: Should Western and Eastern medicine be more integrated?


Steven Castellano: Yeah, definitely I mean, there are few differences that I see right now. Eastern medicines is more focus on just regulating the body and keeping you healthy and boosting your immune system sort of thing and western medicine is definitely more like focus 3 months you have like medications, antibiotics therefore targeting specific types of illnesses and helping you recover from them so I mean, that’s the key difference I see at this point in time and I think both of them should be used. I think that natural treatments boost immune systems are definitely good.

Acupressure could be good for more types of chronic pain. It’s been shown to help and as I said, with the tension that was my research so I definitely think they could be integrated and also like the theories behind them people say eastern medicine hasn’t been scientifically investigated. So that’s my goal to kind of scientifically investigate it and see how it is effective and if you look at the theories behind them I said there’s chi going through the body point eastern theory and you’re trying to regulate that but then it’s been shown that the acupressure points are located at points in the body where there is low electrical resistance so it’s conductive areas where you can easily send an electrical signal throughout the body.

So in that sense, there is some electrical energy through out the body. There is an electrical charge differences between blood in the arteries, blood in the veins so. So really chi could just be another form and eastern form for electricity that they had way back before electricity like was formally discovered and I think that there is a definite relationship between the 2 that and they should connect more or so then than they are in present.

I think its hard word to define. It’s generally just like a sense of balance I feel it’s an internal energy source that easterners kind of prefer to, so when they say chi it’s just I guess they mean like energy in the body. It’s a more spiritual term I feel. So I guess that would be my general list definition for it.


Recorded on: May 08, 2009