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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2012, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (5): 508-515.doi: 10.3736/jcim20120505

Special Issue: Traditional Chinese Medicine

• Methodology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analysis of composite traditional Chinese medicine constitution: An investigation of 974 volunteers

Shi-lin Yao1(), Zu-zhi Zhang2, Xin-sheng Yang3, Xia Xu4, Jian Cao1, Guang-yan Xie1, Qian Zhang1   

  1. 1. Department of Science and Technology, Anhui University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230038, Anhui Province, China
    2. Department of Anatomy, Clinical School of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Anhui University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230038, Anhui Province, China
    3. Worker’s Hospital of Hefei Tobacco Factory, Anhui Tobacco Industry Corporation, Hefei 230081, Anhui Province, China;
    4. Department of Traditional Chinese Prescription, Clinical School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Anhui University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230038, Anhui Province, China
  • Received:2011-09-01 Accepted:2011-11-08 Online:2012-05-20 Published:2018-06-15
  • Contact: Shi-lin Yao E-mail:yaoshilin140@sina.com

Objective: To explore the analysis methods for composite traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) constitutions.

Methods: The epidemiological data of TCM constitutions were collected from 974 volunteers via a cross-sectional survey. The samples were classified into 9 constitution types according to the maximal standardized scores of imbalanced constitutions. The correlation matrix of 9 constitutions was computed. The standardized scores of 9 constitutions of all the volunteers were ranked respectively, and the composite status of every two constitutions was observed using cross tabulation. The constitution types of all the volunteers were transformed into ternary code of 9 digits, and the composite status of 3 or more than 3 kinds of constitution types was analyzed.

Results: According to the maximal standardized scores of imbalanced constitutions, of 974 volunteers, 227, 148, 218, 102, 31, 81, 44, 97 and 26 volunteers had balanced constitution, qi-deficiency constitution, yang-deficiency constitution, yin-deficiency constitution, phlegm-dampness constitution, heat-dampness constitution, blood stasis constitution, qi-stagnation constitution, and inherited special constitution, respectively. The standardized scores of balanced constitution were negatively correlated with those of imbalanced constitutions, while there was a positive correlation between the standardized scores of every two imbalanced constitutions. Among the 8 imbalanced constitutions, one kind of imbalanced constitutions was usually complicated with another kind of imbalanced constitutions. The number of qi-deficiency constitution complicated with yang-deficiency constitution, qi-deficiency constitution complicated with yin-deficiency constitution, and yin-deficiency constitution complicated with yang-deficiency constitution ranked the top three. The constitution types of 974 volunteers were transformed into a total of 465 ternary codes, showing a total of 465 kinds of constitution types; the simplex constitution, the approximately simplex constitution, and the composite constitution of two or more than two types were found in 259, 130, and 585 volunteers, respectively.

Conclusion: Cross tabulation can show the composite status of every two constitutions, while the ternary code can show the composite status of three or more than three constitutions.

Key words: body constitution (TCM), classification, composite constitution, epidemiological survey

Table 1

Traditional Chinese medicine constitution types according to the maximal standardized scores of constitutions"

Constitution type Case Proportion Constitution type Case Proportion
Balanced 227 0.233 Dampness-heat 81 0.083
Qi-deficiency 148 0.152 Blood-stasis 44 0.045
Yang-deficiency 218 0.224 Qi-stagnation 97 0.100
Yin-deficiency 102 0.105 Inherited special 26 0.027
Phlegm-dampness 31 0.032

Table 2

Grading of nine constitutions of traditional Chinese medicine"

Constitution type Distribution of grading of constitutions (cases) Constitution type Distribution of grading of constitutions (cases)
Yes Approximate No Yes Approximate No
Balanced 220 229 525 Dampness-heat 142 158 674
Qi-deficiency 245 252 477 Blood-stasis 92 160 722
Yang-deficiency 250 180 544 Qi-stagnation 153 238 583
Yin-deficiency 178 228 568 Inherited special 49 90 835
Phlegm-dampness 114 160 700

Table 3

Cross tabulation of balanced constitution and each imbalanced constitution (Cases)"

Grading of
type 1
Grading of type 2 Grading of type 3 Grading of type 4 Grading of type 5
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
1 0 0 220 0 0 220 0 0 220 0 0 220
2 0 102 127 0 64 165 0 66 163 0 30 199
3 245 150 130 250 116 159 178 162 185 114 130 281
Grading of
type 1
Grading of type 6 Grading of type 7 Grading of type 8 Grading of type 9
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
1 0 0 220 0 0 220 0 0 220 0 0 220
2 0 40 189 0 28 201 0 57 172 0 17 212
3 142 118 265 92 132 301 153 181 191 49 73 403

Table 4

Cross tabulation of composite status of every two imbalanced constitutions"

Constitution
type
Composite status of every two imbalanced constitutions (cases)
Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 Type 5 Type 6 Type 7 Type 8
Type 3 134 (326)
Type 4 104 (299) 89 (265)
Type 5 83 (224) 73 (184) 62 (198)
Type 6 73 (222) 66 (205) 68 (210) 58 (189)
Type 7 64 (202) 54 (186) 48 (196) 45 (152) 33 (144)
Type 8 93 (302) 76 (256) 66 (258) 59 (193) 54 (193) 46 (184)
Type 9 36 (110) 28 (100) 27 (105) 16 (79) 14 (70) 18 (75) 20 (92)

Table 5

Correlation matrix of 9 types of traditional Chinese medicine constitution"

Constitution
type
r value of correlation
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 Type 5 Type 6 Type 7 Type 8
Type 2 –0.725** 1
Type 3 –0.643** 0.591** 1
Type 4 –0.497** 0.556** 0.492** 1
Type 5 –0.520** 0.591** 0.486** 0.619** 1
Type 6 –0.419** 0.477** 0.398** 0.556** 0.703** 1
Type 7 –0.565** 0.560** 0.531** 0.618** 0.602** 0.512** 1
Type 8 –0.669** 0.644** 0.487** 0.551** 0.595** 0.506** 0.594** 1
Type 9 –0.365** 0.441** 0.401** 0.484** 0.468** 0.403** 0.472** 0.373**

Table 6

The frequency of constitution types with frequency ranking at the top 40"

Ternary code Frequency Ternary code Frequency Ternary code Frequency Ternary code Frequency
133333333 220 233333333 7 311111111 4 311111122 3
223333333 37 321333333 7 311111113 4 311333313 3
233233333 21 311111213 6 311233323 4 312333323 3
233333323 21 223333323 5 313233333 4 312333333 3
232333333 20 233333233 5 331332333 4 313233323 3
331333333 15 311333333 5 222233332 3 321332333 3
222333333 11 333133333 5 223322333 3 323333323 3
233332333 9 333333313 5 223323333 3 323333333 3
313333333 9 223233323 4 232233333 3 332133333 3
233323333 7 233333332 4 232333323 3 333331333 3

Figure 1

Bar charts for frequency distribution of different constitution types"

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