Cybernetics, Medical

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cybernetics, Medical


a scientific approach that applies the ideas, methods, and technology of cybernetics to medicine.

The development of the ideas and methods of cybernetics in medicine is taking certain principal directions, including the creation of diagnostic systems for various classes of diseases with general-purpose and specialized computers, the development of automated electronic medical archives, the development of mathematical methods of data analysis from examination of the patient, the development of methods of mathematically modeling the activity of various functional systems on the computer, and the use of mathematical machines to evaluate the patient’s condition. The history of medical cybernetics and its theoretical foundations are closely linked to those of biological cybernetics.

The internal organization of the diagnostic system consists of the medical memory (accumulated medical experience in a given group of diseases) and the logic apparatus that makes it possible to compare the symptoms found on examination to existing medical experience and to carry out the complex statistical processing of the clinical material in any given area quickly.

Mathematical modeling of the activity of various functional systems of the organism on the computer makes it possible to reveal many important aspects of their activity. Mathematical equations clarify a number of the regular patterns of interaction of the systems under study by using corresponding parameters that characterize the function of the given systems (for example, the cardiovascular system). Solving these equations makes it possible to evaluate the rules of the system being investigated.

Mathematical machines are used for the rapid evaluation of a patient’s condition, both during a major and complex operation and during the postoperative period. During operations, many specialists (physiologist, biochemist, hematologist) monitor the state of the patient’s most important functions by means of various electronic instruments and equipment. The efforts of the physicians and mathematicians working in the field of medical cybernetics are aimed at creating a cybernetic system that will make it possible to evaluate, compare, and integrate the readings from numerous instruments in a matter of seconds and indicate the proper decision for taking the steps necessary to restore the patient’s vital functions.

The future development of medical cybernetics will involve working out means to assist the physician significantly and increase his logical and creative possibilities.


Vishnevskii, A. A., 1.1. Artobolevskii, and M. L. Bykhovskii. “Printsipy postroeniia diagnosticheskikh mashin.” Vestnik AMN SSSR, 1964, no. 2, p. 42.
Parin, V. V., and R. M. Baevskii. Vvedenie v meditsinskuiu kibernetihu. Moscow-Prague, 1966.
Bykhovskii, M. L., and A. A. Vishnevskii. Kiberneticheskie sistemy v meditsine. Moscow, 1971. (Bibliography.)
Biologicheskaia i meditsinskaia kibernetika. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.