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The Journal of Internal Korean Medicine > Volume 36(3); 2015 > Article
The Journal of Internal Korean Medicine 2015;36(3): 348-360.
만성 소화불량증 환자에서 설 색상과 심박변이도의 경향성 파악
김지혜, 정창진, 김근호
한국한의학연구원 한의기반연구부
Trends in Tongue Color and Heart Rate Variability in Chronic Dyspepsia Patients
Ji-hye Kim, Chang-jin Jeong, Keun-ho Kim
KM Fundamental Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine
Correspondence  Keun-ho Kim ,Tel: +82-42-868-9365, Fax: +82-42-868-9480, Email: rkim70@kiom.re.kr
Received: September 1, 2015,   Accepted: September 30, 2015,   Published online: September 30, 2015.
ABSTRACT
Objectives:
From observing the tongue of a patient, one can assess the health status; this method has been frequently used in traditional Korean Medicine (KM) clinics. In particular, KM posits that the color of the tongue is highly related to digestive functions. In this study, the color of tongue and heart rate variability (HRV) were compared between chronic dyspepsia (CD) patients and healthy subjects.

Methods:
Healthy subjects and CD patients with functional dyspepsia (FD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic gastritis (CG) were enrolled for the study. Profile view images of the tongue were acquired by using a computerized tongue image acquisition system (CTIS). The color of the tongue body was extracted from the non-coated region on the tongue images.

Results:
Color differences in CIE L*a*b* color space between the three sub-types of CD patients and healthy subjects were analyzed by using multiple linear regression analysis with age and sex as the factors. The variable b* was significantly lower in GERD patients than in the controls (p=0.017). Variable a* was significantly lower in CG than in the controls (p=0.03). No significant difference was seen between FD and controls. In GERD, the tongue body seems to be intense red in color; in CG, pale red. Frequency domain analysis showed that HF was significantly lower in GERD patients than in the controls (p=0.041).

Conclusions:
The color of the tongue body and HF of HRV can be used for diagnosing digestive functions in health care.
Key words: functional dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic gastritis, heart rate variability (HRV), tongue diagnosis
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