Vitaly Vodyanoy isn't a common name, and it's not an easy name. But it might be a name to remember if the Auburn University professor turns out right about what he has found. Along the way, that discovery could finally show how acupuncture really works. And it could lead to a long human lifespan. Much longer.
Vodyanoy has used his own patented microscope system to confirm the existence of a new vascular system: the primo-vascular system. It's a tiny, translucent system of vessels and nodes, and Vodyanoy has seen and phographed it in a rat's body.
"Even with our microscope, you cannot see the vessels until they are touched because they are transparent," Vodyanoy told Auburn University News for an article published in December, "but they turn a yellowish color when touched. The width of the node is only 1 mm, and the fine structure of the node can only be seen using high-resolution light microscopy."
In an interview with AL.com, Vodyanoy explained the potential size of the discovery. "If you look at a globe," he said, "I found one more country, which is more than Asia, but no one's seen it."
The existence of a third vascular system - in addition to the blood and lymphatic systems - has been the topic of scientific speculation and study since the early 1960s, when a North Korean scientist named Bong Han Kim claimed to have discovered it. Kim disappeared in 1966, and communist authorities said his work wasn't proven. But Vodyanoy says Kim was right and he has confirmed it.
The three-dimensional system exists for the regeneration of human cells, Vodyanoy said, and activating the nodes by acupuncture, pressure or other means could release stem cells to replace injured cells.
Vodyanoy acknowledges the theory goes against current Western science, but it could help explain and lend credibility to non-traditional means of care such as acupuncture or osteopathy.
Founded in the 19th century, osteopathy believes the body has the capacity to repair itself with energy stimulated by manipulation and massage. Vodyanoy is cooperating with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania now on research into possible links between the primo-vascular system and that treatment method.
Acupuncture, stimulating the body through careful placement of needles, is accepted and routine in the East but not the West. Vodyanoy believes his research at minimum could shed new light on acupuncture's "meridian system." Instead of healing energy called "Qi," he believes the meridians circulate a liquid containing stem cells.
Vodyanoy is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and has won awards for his microscope system. But he says he is more excited about this project than any he's worked on before.
The body's regenerative system could keep humans alive for hundreds of years, Vodyanoy said. But only if we study, understand and use the system he has seen.