Alternative Medicines & Therapies: Miscellaneous


Android Futureman
Aug 7, 2002
Interesting twist to the loss of Mrs. King (unfortunately, the only place I could find it reported online was on FOX, but it's been on the tv news here...),2933,183495,00.html
Coretta Scott King Was Exploring Alternative Cancer Treatment
By Miranda Hitti

When Coretta Scott King died on the evening of Jan. 30, she had ovarian cancer and was in Mexico exploring treatment options, according to her family.

“Mrs. Coretta Scott King was in Mexico for observation and consideration of treatment for ovarian cancer,” King’s family said in a statement released to the media. “She was considered terminal by physicians in the United States. Mrs. King and her family wanted to explore other options,” the statement continues. King, a civil rights activist and the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died at age 78.

The King family’s statement doesn’t describe those other options or list a cause of death, so it’s not known if ovarian cancer took King’s life. According to the Associated Press, doctors at the alternative medicine clinic where King had been staying attributed her death to respiratory failure.

A report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution raised questions about the clinic the allegedly attended, the Hospital Santa Monica in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, about 16 miles south of San Diego. On its web site, the clinic claims to have “a very eclectic approach to the treatment of chronic degenerative disease, diseases by and large considered incurable by the orthodox medical profession.”

Most of the clinic’s clients are cancer patients “who have been told that there is no hope, all traditional therapies have failed,” states the clinic’s web site. Another web site,, run by Stephen Barrett, MD, questions the background of Hospital Santa Monica’s founder and director, Kurt Donsbach. According to Hospital Santa Monica’s web site, Donsbach is a DC, ND, and PhD.

The King family’s statement doesn’t name the place where King was seeking treatment in Mexico.
Mexican clinic where Coretta Scott King died is closed

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican clinic where Coretta Scott King died has been closed, U.S. Embassy officials said Friday.

Mexican officials weren't immediately available to explain why the clinic was shut. But Judith Bryan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, said the U.S. consulate in Tijuana was helping patients find new facilities. The consulate's spokeswoman, Liza Davis, said 20 American patients were at the clinic when it was closed Thursday. Mexican authorities gave the Americans three days to leave the country.

"None of them were in serious enough condition that we had to get them back in an ambulance," Davis said. "Lots of them had family with them or means to get back on their own. Those that don't, we'll be working with them, and the hospital will be helping them as well." King traveled last week to the beachside Santa Monica Health Institute in the Mexican beach resort of Rosarito, 15 miles south of San Diego. She was seeking treatment for advanced-stage ovarian cancer and a stroke she suffered several months ago.

King's children have said she died there Monday night, although a spokeswoman for the U.S. consulate in Tijuana has said King died early Tuesday. The clinic specializes in alternative treatments for patients with incurable illnesses. Its founder and director, Kurt W. Donsbach, has a criminal past and a reputation for offering dubious treatments to desperately ill patients, according to court records and a watchdog group.

However, the clinic doctors assigned to King's case said she arrived in poor health and they couldn't even begin to treat her before she died early this week. "She came here with half her body paralyzed," Dr. Rafael Cedeno, who was overseeing her case, told reporters after King's death. "She was in really bad condition." King's death raised questions about the safety of alternative medical clinics across Mexico, many of which aren't closely regulated. It was unclear if Donsbach's past had anything to do with the closing of the Santa Monica clinic.

In 1997, Donsbach was sentenced in federal court in San Diego to a year in prison for smuggling more than $250,000 worth of unapproved drugs into the United States from Mexico, according to court records. Donsbach was sentenced on three felony counts, including introducing unapproved drugs into interstate commerce, smuggling merchandise contrary to law and income tax evasion.

In 1988, the U.S. Postal Service ordered Donsbach and his nephew to stop claiming that a solution of hydrogen peroxide that they sell could prevent cancer and ease arthritis pain. A woman who answered the phone at the clinic's corporate offices in San Diego said she had no information on the closure of the Rosarito clinic. Identifying herself only by her first name, Maria, she said she did not know where Donsbach was and there was no one else available to comment.
Alternative Medicine And Heavy Metal Poisoning
24 Oct 2008

Many Ayurvedic medicines can contain dangerous quantities of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, thallium and arsenic, according to clinical toxicology specialists in London writing in the International Journal of Environment and Health. The team explains that recent European legislation aimed at improving safety of shop-bought products should go some way to protect the public against some of the potential risks associated with traditional medicines. However, it will have little impact on medicines prescribed by traditional practitioners, imported personally from overseas or bought over the Internet.

Consultant Clinical Toxicologist Dr Paul Dargan of Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London is working with colleagues there and Dr Indika Gawarammana of the Faculty of Medicine and South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, to investigate the risks of heavy metals found in Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient practice based on five elements and stresses spiritual balance as well as the use of herbal remedies for a wide range of illnesses. In India, there are more than 12,000 Ayurvedic colleges and hospital. There, almost 80% of the population uses Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines, often exclusively.

The use of Ayurvedic medicines has become popular in North America, Europe and Australasia and has spread beyond the cultural and ethnic populations from which the traditional medicine practices originated. Dargan and colleagues point out that there have been numerous reports of clinically significant heavy metal poisoning related to its use.

Practitioners may use individual herbal extracts or a mixture of herbal extracts with vegetable, animal and mineral products. It is a basic principle of Ayurveda that practitioners can use anything as a drug. Heavy metals are generally not present as contaminants but practitioners add them intentionally. In Ayurveda a balance of the metals, including lead, copper, gold, iron, mercury, silver, tin, zinc are considered to be essential for normal functioning of the human body and an important component of good health.

Unfortunately, the researchers say, few studies have recorded detailed information about just how common is heavy metal poisoning due to the use of Ayurvedic remedies. They discuss the details of several cases of lead poisoning in patients who had taken an Ayurvedic product containing lead.

"There is an urgent need for studies to quantify the frequency and potential risk of heavy metal poisoning from Ayurvedic medicines," say the researchers. Also needed is "culturally appropriate education" that can inform the public of the potential for toxicity associated with the many different products associated with this practice.


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India protects traditional medicines from piracy ... 9.107.html
Access to national database eases search for existing treatments.

K. S. Jayaraman

India woke up to biopiracy after a turmeric-based cure was patented in the United States.PunchstockEuropean patent examiners can now access India's massive database on traditional remedies in order to ensure that patents are not granted for treatments already used in Indian systems of medicine. But critics say that the move, which is intended to thwart piracy of traditional knowledge, may backfire.

The controversy centres on the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, a searchable database of more than 230,000 formulations. Some 200 researchers took eight years to create the database after scouring ancient texts on Indian systems of medicine — Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga — in Hindi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Urdu. The database is available in English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish.

Supporters say that the agreement, reached this month with the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, helps ensure that patents aren't granted for drugs based on traditional knowledge. "We are trying to establish the claim on traditional cures," says Vinod Kumar Gupta, the database's group leader at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi.

India only woke up to biopiracy after an anti-fungal product derived from the native neem tree received a patent in Europe in 1994, and a turmeric-based cure was patented in the United States in 1995. India got both patents revoked after long battles.

The database, jointly owned by the CSIR and India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was set up to dissuade foreign companies from patenting traditional medicines. But, with government approval, commercial agreements could be negotiated to make the library available to both foreign and Indian firms in 3–4 years time.

Patent potential
The agreement with the EPO marks a new stand on the issue of biopiracy and is less aggressive than that taken by China, which is filing patents on traditional medicines rather than simply trying to avoid unreasonable patenting by others. But critics say that the deal will make it easier for others to profit from traditional medicines. Drug multinationals can take leads from the database or tinker with formulations to make them qualify for a patent, says Devinder Sharma, a food- and trade-policy analyst based in New Delhi.

Gupta insists that EPO officers can access the database only to search and examine patents, and that they cannot disclose the information to a third party. But Palpu Pushpangadan, former director of the CSIR's National Botanic Research Institute in Lucknow, says that the information is not necessarily secure. "What is the guarantee that EPO officers will keep it secret?" he asks.


Shamnad Basheer, a patents expert at the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata, says that the database should be made available to private parties — at a cost. "After all, there is no point in undertaking this massive exercise only to prevent patents," he says.

"Right now our aim is to ensure that patent offices reject applications on cures contained in the database," says Gupta. "We hope that if rejection takes place continuously for two years, companies will stop filing patents and instead take the legitimate route and approach us for access to database on commercial terms."

The Indian government is now in talks with the United States Patents and Trademark Office for an access agreement similar to the European one.
The new miracle cure for injuries?
By Nick Triggle
BBC News health reporter

Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has flown to Serbia for a novel form of treatment - placenta fluid is to be dripped on his injured ankle. Why is he doing this and will it work?

Van Persie has been a key player for Arsenal this season
It is not unusual for sports starts to look for super cures for their injuries.

England footballer Wayne Rooney used an oxygen tent prior to the 2006 World Cup to help him recover from a broken foot and six years ago runner Paula Radcliffe rubbed oil from the belly of an emu to ease injuries sustained in a collision with a cyclist.

But the news that Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie is heading to Serbia to get placenta fluid applied to an ankle injury has astonished many.

The 26-year-old hurt his ankle while playing for the Dutch national side in a match against Italy.

He was left with torn ankle ligaments after a challenge 10 minutes into the contest.

Scans revealed a partial tear would keep him out of action for six weeks.

Rapid recoveries

But a Dutch journalist close to the national squad said he could be back in as little as four weeks if the treatment works.

TV and radio reporter Rob Fleur said a woman who specialises in the treatment had been recommended to Van Persie by former team-mates Dutch midfielder Orlando Engelaar and Serbian forward Danko Lazovic.

They both claim to have had rapid recoveries from similar injuries after travelling to Belgrade to see the specialist.

You will often hear of sports stars trying out different treatments. I suppose it is a sign of the money and pressure involved

Abbie Turner, of Bristol University's Sports Medicine Clini
Van Persie, speaking before travelling out to eastern Europe on Monday, was hopeful despite being unsure what to expect.

He said: "She is vague about her methods but I know she massages you using fluid from a placenta.

"I am going to try.

"It cannot hurt and, if it helps, it helps.

"I have been in contact with Arsenal physiotherapists and they have let me do it."

Health benefits have long been associated with placenta.

Some studies have suggested eating it can reduce the risk of post-natal depression, while Turkish researchers found injecting placenta cells into rabbits helped them recover from fractures.


It is not known how the placenta may help - and more research is now being carried out.

However, it does have a high nutritional content.

In the animal kingdom mothers routinely eat the placenta to help them recover from the exertion of birth and there are anti-ageing creams on the market that use sheep placenta cells.

It seems likely that Van Persie's treatment will involve some form of massage using the fluid.

The placenta supplies food and oxygen to the foetus as well as releasing hormones to maintain pregnancy
Animals routinely eat their placenta, which is discharged after birth, to get nutrition following the exertion of labour
Some reports have suggested eating it could help ward off post-natal depression
In Peru, dried placenta has been given to children when they fall ill in the belief it will help cure infections
Turkish researchers have also used placenta cells to help heal fractures in tests on rabbits
But while the nutritional content of the placenta is known to be high, it is still not known exactly how it can aid the healing process
Such therapies are pretty standard for ligament damage.

Abbie Turner, manager of Bristol University's Sports Medicine Clinic, said: "If it is a low grade ligament tear, treatment would nclude deep tissue massage and rehabilitation to restore balance and strength to the affected joint, ultrasound, joint mobilisations and strengthening exercises to strengthen weakened muscles around the joint.

"If a tear is very serious then surgical repair can sometimes be required.

"More alternative treatments are sometimes used with success and these can include acupuncture and joint injections.

"But I have never heard of this - and I won't be rushing out to use it on my patients."

Instead, she believes the steps taken by Van Persie and other stars reflects the nature of top-level sport.

"High-level sportsmen and women will try many alternative treatments, often in a response to return to play or training as quickly as possible.

"This can sometimes be due to financial pressure as is often the case in football."
Selenium 'does not prevent cancer'
By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News

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Taking a daily supplement of selenium will not ward off cancer, say experts who have reviewed the available evidence.

The Cochrane group looked at 55 studies that included over a million people.

Despite anecdotal reports of selenium's cancer powers, the investigators found no proof of a protective effect against skin cancer or prostate cancer.

And taking selenium over a long period of time could have toxic effects, they found.

Lead author Dr Gabriele Dennert, of the Institute for Transdisciplinary Health Research in Germany, said: "We could find no evidence to recommend regular intake of selenium supplements for cancer prevention in people whether or not they already have enough selenium."

Small amounts of selenium are essential for health and help build a strong immune system to fight off infections and diseases.

Many foods, including brazil nuts, tuna and pasta, contain selenium.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

We know from many large studies that vitamin and mineral supplements far from being potent cancer-fighters are mostly ineffective in protecting against cancer, and can even increase the risk of cancer in some cases”

Cancer Research UK Spokesman

Debate has raged over whether taking supplements might provide the body with an extra boost.

And there have been numerous trials to see if it might reduce cancer risk. Some of these have found a benefit, while others have not.

But now experts say that there is enough evidence to confidently rule out selenium as a cancer preventative therapy.

Yinka Ebo, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "We know from many large studies that vitamin and mineral supplements far from being potent cancer-fighters are mostly ineffective in protecting against cancer, and can even increase the risk of cancer in some cases.

"This review on selenium adds to this body of evidence and should give people good reason to think twice before relying on selenium supplements.

"The best way to get your full range of vitamins and minerals is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, and this can help protect against cancer."

He said that for most healthy people there should be no need to take supplements.

"Some people are advised to take supplements under medical guidance and should talk to their doctor if they are worried," he added.
Shocking; Indians Look To Railroad "Electric Therapy" For Cures
05 Aug 2011

Pseudo medical or alternative treatments are commonly used in Asia and in particular the large and impoverished nation of India. Now in shocking developments, Indians are looking to railroad tracks to help cure themselves via the electric currents the system sends through their bodies to cure ailments not remotely related to internal electric currents, such as diabetes. Medical experts say there is no evidence lying on the rails does any good.

Marius Widjajarta, chairman of the Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation credits this bizarre approach to chronic funding shortages and chaotic decentralization efforts since the 1998 ouster of longtime dictator Suharto have left many in doubt of the state-sponsored health system.

Some locals however insist it provides more relief for symptoms such as high-blood pressure, sleeplessness and high cholesterol.

Daily more than 50 people would show up at the Rawa Buaya railway tracks every day. But the numbers have dropped since police and the state-run railroad company erected a warning sign and threatened penalties of up to three months in prison or fines of $1,800.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Makes Fertility Treatments Far More Effective, TAU Researchers Discover

11 Jan 2012

Traditional Chinese medicine has long been used to ease pain, treat disease, boost fertility, and prevent miscarriage. Known in the Western medical community by its acronym TCM, these traditional remedies include herbal preparations and acupuncture. Now Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that a combination of TCM therapy and intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a winning solution for hopeful mommies who are having trouble conceiving.

In the first study that measures the effectiveness of both herbs and acupuncture in combination with IUI infertility treatment, Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari and Keren Sela of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Medical Center say that the results, which have been published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, show a significant increase in fertility when the therapies are administered side-by-side.

When combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy. The method is as "close to nature" as possible and can be used by women employing sperm donors, or after a partner's sperm is centrifuged to enhance its motility in the uterus.

Age-old therapies, contemporary medicine

Dr. Lev-Ari, a cellular biologist and head of the integrative medicine unit, works with both medical doctors and TCM practitioners at Tel Aviv Medical Center's Fertility Research Institute. He and Sela, a TCM practitioner specializing in women's health, have long been interested in how Chinese herbal and acupuncture therapies could work to boost Western-style fertility treatments, contributing to an increase in conception and take-home baby rates.

In a retrospective study, Dr. Lev-Ari and Sela followed the progress of 29 women between the ages of 30 and 45 who were receiving IUI treatment combined with TCM therapy, and compared their results to a control group of 94 women between the ages of 28 and 46 who were undergoing IUI treatment alone. In addition to their IUI treatments, the 29 women in the first group received weekly sessions of acupuncture and a regime of Chinese medicinals, which consisted of powdered or raw Chinese herbs such as PeoniaAlbae and Chuanxiong, designed to meet each woman's specific needs. All herbal preparations were approved by the Israeli Health Ministry.

In terms of both conception and take-home baby rates, the test group fared far better than the control group. Out of the 29 women in the test group, 65.5 percent conceived, and 41.4 percent delivered healthy babies. In the control group, only 39.4 percent conceived and 26.9 percent delivered. The vast difference in success rates is even more surprising when the age of the average participant was taken into account, Dr. Lev-Ari and Sela note. "The average age of the women in the study group was 39.4, while that of the control group was 37.1. Normally, the older the mother, the lower the pregnancy and delivery rates," they explain.

Promoting balance and harmony in the womb

According to the researchers, TCM is aimed at correcting imbalances in the body's natural energy flow, promoting an overall sense of well-being. There are several theories as to why Chinese medicine can be beneficial to fertility rates, including the possibility that herbal remedies and acupuncture can affect the ovulation and menstrual cycle, enhance blood flow to the uterus, and enhance endorphin production and secretion to inhibit the central nervous system and induce calm - all of which can contribute to successful conception.

Now that the researchers have established that TCM can have a major impact on the success of fertility treatments, they plan to design randomized clinical trials, including placebos, to further validate their initial findings.

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For The Elderly In China, Tai Chi Found To Increases Brain Size, Benefit Cognition
21 Jun 2012

Scientists from the University of South Florida and Fudan University in Shanghai found increases in brain volume and improvements on tests of memory and thinking in Chinese seniors who practiced Tai Chi three times a week, reports an article published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Findings were based on an 8-month randomized controlled trial comparing those who practiced Tai Chi to a group who received no intervention. The same trial showed increases in brain volume and more limited cognitive improvements in a group that participated in lively discussions three times per week over the same time period.

Previous trials have shown increases in brain volume in people who participated in aerobic exercise, and in one of these trials, an improvement in memory was seen. However, this was the first trial to show that a less aerobic form of exercise, Tai Chi, as well as stimulating discussion led to similar increases in brain volume and improvements on psychological tests of memory and thinking.

The group that did not participate in the interventions showed brain shrinkage over the same time period, consistent with what generally has been observed for persons in their 60s and 70s.

Numerous studies have shown that dementia and the syndrome of gradual cognitive deterioration that precedes it is associated with increasing shrinkage of the brain as nerve cells and their connections are gradually lost.

"The ability to reverse this trend with physical exercise and increased mental activity implies that it may be possible to delay the onset of dementia in older persons through interventions that have many physical and mental health benefits," said lead author Dr. James Mortimer, professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

Research suggests that aerobic exercise is associated with increased production of brain growth factors. It remains to be determined whether forms of exercise like Tai Chi that include an important mental exercise component could lead to similar changes in the production of these factors. "If this is shown, then it would provide strong support to the concept of "use it or lose it" and encourage seniors to stay actively involved both intellectually and physically," Dr. Mortimer said.

One question raised by the research is whether sustained physical and mental exercise can contribute to the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, the most common dementing illness.

"Epidemiologic studies have shown repeatedly that individuals who engage in more physical exercise or are more socially active have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Mortimer said. "The current findings suggest that this may be a result of growth and preservation of critical regions of the brain affected by this illness."

IOS Press
Touch Therapy May Reduce Pain, Nausea In Cancer Patients
28 Jun 2012

A new study by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center shows that patients reported significant improvement in side effects of cancer treatment following just one Jin Shin Jyutsu session. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy.

Presented at the 2012 Markey Cancer Center Research Day by Jennifer Bradley who is the Jin Shin Jyutsu integrative practitioner at Markey, the study included 159 current cancer patients. Before and after each Jin Shin Jyutsu session, Bradley asked patients to assess their symptoms of pain, stress and nausea on a scale of 0-10, with 0 representing no symptoms.

The study found that in each session patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress, and nausea with the first visit and in subsequent visits as well. The mean decreases experienced were three points for stress and two points for both pain and nausea.

"I was pleased to see quantitatively the improvements that patients noted in these primary areas of discomfort," said Bradley. "It was interesting to note that regardless of age, sex or diagnosis, cancer patients received a statistically significant improvement in the side effects from treatment. It is encouraging to note that Jin Shin Jyutsu made improvements in these areas without adding additional unwanted effects that so often occur with medication interventions."

Funded by a grant from the Lexington Cancer Foundation, Jin Shin Jyutsu is considered part of an integrative treatment plan available at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Bradley offers Jin Shin Jyutsu to all cancer patients at no charge. Patients may self-refer, though half are referred by their physician or Markey staff.

During a Jin Shin Jyutsu session, patients receive light touches on 52 specific energetic points called Safety Energy Locks as well as fingers, toes, and midpoints on the upper arm, upper calf and lower leg in predetermined orders known as "flows." Patients remained clothed except for shoes and all hand placements are done over clothing.

Sessions were performed in the Jin Shin Jyutsu Treatment Room, Chemotherapy Outpatient Clinic, or in the patient's hospital room. The study also noted that the greatest overall improvement came from sessions held in the Jin Shin Jyutsu Treatment Room, where sessions are generally of a longer duration.

The study did not include controls for several parameters including the time between sessions or location and duration of service. Bradley's next study will control more of these variables, and her team will access patients' medical records over the time period of their participation to evaluate changes in patients' medication usage for cancer and symptom management of pain, stress and nausea.

"The American Cancer Society has noted that quality of life is an issue for all cancer patients; those undergoing treatment, late stage patients, and cancer survivors," Bradley said. "There is a need for additional research to develop evidence-based interventions that have a positive impact on the quality of life for all of these individuals without adding to their burden. From what I have seen in my office and the results shown in the study, I believe that Jin Shin Jyutsu has great promise in this area."

University of Kentucky
Well, this is the nearest slot I could find for this sort of stuff:

The Secret Power of Trees

Britain's woodlands were planted for timber or hunting but nowadays you're as likely to find ex-prisoners or mentally ill elderly folk in the woods. With the rise of "social forestry", woodlands have come to be seen as therapeutic and healing, and not just by new age eco types. In Japan, doctors take seriously the practice of "forest air bathing", and claim all kinds of health benefits from simply being in the woods. Ian Marchant explores whether trees really do have miraculous powers and asks what happened to the idea of forests as scary places, full of evil spirits and outlaws. ... _of_Trees/

Available until
12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099

Personally, I find woods claustrophobic and scary, so I'm with the 'evil spirits and outlaws' theory!
Complementary And Alternative Medicine Studied In Swedish Surgical Care

Osteopathy may help reduce chronic pain and stiffness after thoracic surgery. However, electrotherapy is not effective pain treatment in the aftermath of pancreatic surgery. These are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, that studied complementary and alternative therapies.

Massage, acupuncture, healing, homeopathy: use of so-called complementary and alternative medicine is widespread in Sweden and the rest of the western world.

Although still skeptical, surgical healthcare professionals also want to learn more about these methods. These are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

In two studies, clinical nurse specialist Kristofer Bjerså examined the understanding of healthcare professionals regarding complementary and alternative therapies in the context of surgical care at Sweden's seven university hospitals. The findings show that personnel consider it important to know about these methods, and that skepticism still exists alongside a desire to learn more.

Kristofer Bjerså and his colleagues also studied two therapies for postoperative care. One study tested transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a complementary pain control method after pancreatic surgery.

"This concerns major abdominal surgery that requires sophisticated pain control in the aftermath, but according to our study, TENS was not effective. In fact, the method posed an obstacle for patients and healthcare personnel, because patients had trouble getting in and out of bed freely due to the extra wires attached to their bodies."

Another study tested osteopathic treatment to relieve pain, stiffness and respiratory limitations in patients who had undergone surgery of the oesophagus through thoracotomy (incision between the ribs). In the study, eight patients received 45 minutes of osteopathic treatment per week for 10 weeks.

"People who have had thoracotomies typically experience long-term chronic pain in the chest. Our study suggests that osteopathic therapy after a thoracotomy may be effective, but more and larger studies are necessary before any recommendations can be made," says Kristofer Bjerså.
'Lost in translation' issues in Chinese medicine

Millions of people in the West today utilize traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, herbs, massage and nutritional therapies. Yet only a few U.S. schools that teach Chinese medicine require Chinese-language training and only a handful of Chinese medical texts have so far been translated into English.

Given the complexity of the language and concepts in these texts, there is a need for accurate, high-quality translations, say researchers at UCLA's Center for East-West Medicine. To that end, the center has published a document that includes a detailed discussion of the issues involved in Chinese medical translation, which is designed to help students, educators, practitioners, researchers, publishers and translators evaluate and digest Chinese medical texts with greater sensitivity and comprehension.

"This publication aims to raise awareness among the many stakeholders involved with the translation of Chinese medicine," said principal investigator and study author Dr. Ka-Kit Hui, founder and director of the UCLA center.

The 15-page document, "Considerations in the Translation of Chinese Medicine" was developed and written by a UCLA team that included a doctor, an anthropologist, a China scholar and a translator. It appears in the current online edition of the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Authors Sonya Pritzker, a licensed Chinese medicine practitioner and anthropologist, and Hanmo Zhang, a China scholar, hope the publication will promote communication in the field and play a role in the development of thorough, accurate translations.

The document highlights several important topics in the translation of Chinese medical texts, including the history of Chinese medical translations, which individuals make ideal translators, and other translation-specific issues, such as the delicate balance of focusing translations on the source-document language while considering the language it will be translated into. ...
Another bolt fired at the heart of the health pill industry. Stick to a healthy diet.

That Antioxidant You're Taking Is Snake Oil

Plants can't move. They're sitting targets for every insect, two- and four-legged creature, and air-borne fungus and bacteria that swirls around them. But they're not defenseless, we've learned. Under pressure from millions of years of attacks, they've evolved to produce compounds that repel these predators. Known as phyotochemicals, these substances can be quite toxic to humans. You probably wouldn't enjoy the jolt of urushiol you'd get from a salad of toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) leaves.

Pills loaded with vitamin E and beta-carotene are at best useless and at worst harmful—that is, they may trigger lung cancer in some people.
But other phytochemicals have emerged as crucial elements of a healthful human diet. Indeed, they're the source of several essential vitamins, including A, C, and E. But according to an eye-opening Nautilus article by the excellent science journalist Moises Velasquez-Manoff (author of a recent Mother Jones piece on the gut microbiome), our view of how these defensive compounds benefit us might be wildly wrong.

The accepted dietary dogma goes like this: The phytochemicals we ingest from plants act as antioxidants—that is, they protect us from the oxidative molecules, known as "free radicals," that our own cells produce as a waste product, and that have become associated with a range of degenerative diseases including cancer and heart trouble.

It's true that many phytochemicals and the vitamins they carry have been proven in lab settings to have antioxidant properties—that is, they prevent oxidization. And so, Velasquez-Manoff shows, the idea gained currency that fruits and vegetables are good for us because their high antioxidant load protects us from free radicals. And from there, it was easy to leap to the conclusion that you could slow aging and stave off disease by isolating certain phytochemicals and ingesting them in pill form—everything from multivitamins to trendy antioxidants like resveratrol. "A supplement industry now worth $23 billion yearly in the U.S. took root," he notes. ... ... mins-wrong
Be careful with this stuff.

New research shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from 7% to 20% in a U.S. study group over a ten-year period. According to the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, liver injury caused by non-bodybuilding supplements is most severe, occurring more often in middle-aged women and more frequently resulting in death or the need for transplantation than liver injury from bodybuilding supplements or conventional medications."

Nearly half of all adult Americans consume herbal and dietary supplements with prior reports suggesting that is on the rise. ...
Doctor bets against traditional Chinese medicine

A sceptic of traditional Chinese medicine is challenging practitioners of the age-old craft to prove themselves by putting his own money on the line. One has accepted the challenge. At stake is the claim that practitioners can discern whether a woman is pregnant by her pulse.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a point of contention in China. Although the government is keen to promote its use in the clinic and, in modernized form, as part of drug discovery, some feel that much of it is unproven and that the government is throwing its money away. There have also been high-profile cases of fraud linked to such research, and the practice is criticized for its dependence on endangered species such as the Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica).

Ah Bao, the online nickname of a burn-care doctor at Beijing Jishuitan hospital, has been an adamant critic of TCM on Chinese social media, often referring to it as “fake”. He issued the challenge on 13 September, and Zhen Yang, a practitioner at the Beijing University of Traditional Medicine, took him up on it.

Ah Bao put up 50,000 yuan (more than US$8,000), and at his urging others have donated more than 50,000 yuan, making the prize worth more than 100,000 yuan total. Ah Bao turned down Nature‘s request to be interviewed, saying that he has been overwhelmed by media attention.

Yang will have to assess with 80% accuracy whether women are pregnant. The two are reportedly working out the terms of the contest, with a tentative set-up reportedly involving 32 women who would be separated by a screen from Yang. ... icine.html
Meditation, group support linked to cellular benefits for breast cancer survivors

For breast cancer survivors, previous research has suggested that meditation and yoga promote numerous health benefits, such as reducing fatigue and stress. Now, a new study claims these activities or getting involved in support groups may be beneficial at a cellular level.

Mindfulness-based meditation incorporating yoga and emotional support groups were found to offer benefits at a cellular level for breast cancer survivors.
The research team - from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services' Tom Baker Cancer Centre, both in Canada - found that mindfulness meditation and gentle Hatha yoga or attending emotional support groups protected the telomeres of breast cancer survivors.

Telomeres are structures at the end of chromosomes that protect them from damage. Shortened telomeres are associated with increased aging and risk of disease, while longer telomeres are believed to protect against disease.

"We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology," says principal investigator Linda E. Carlson, PhD, of the Department of Psychological Resources at the Tom Baker Cancer Center. ...
"Yoga Ministry" Stirs Doubts among Scientists
Ancient remedies and practices are seeing a boost in government support in India, but evidence of their effectiveness is scarce

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thrown his weight behind the country's traditional systems of medicine earlier this month by creating the Ministry for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH). Among its stated goals is to promote “educational standards, quality control and standardization of drugs”.

Modi — who is said to begin each day by practising yoga — made a pitch for declaring an 'international yoga day' in a speech at the United Nations in September. The initiative was backed by 130 countries.

While homoeopathy originated in Europe, and unani is a version of ancient Greek medicine, India also has native medical traditions. These include siddha, which originated in southern India as early as 10,000 years ago, and ayurveda, which dates back to the sixth century bc or earlier. The Modi government contends that Indian systems of medicine were suppressed during colonial times and were marginalized after India gained independence at the hands of anglicized elites. Although many Indians still use such systems along with folk healing practices especially in rural areas, their integration into modern medicine faces high hurdles and stiff resistance.

Is the Indian government’s interest in traditional systems new?
No. The health ministry set up a Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy in 1995, and later renamed it AYUSH. But its newly acquired rank of full-fledged ministry, with a cabinet minister-in-charge, is expected to bring it new impetus and substantial budgetary support. The ideology of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is also more inclined towards the traditional systems of medicine than the Congress Party-led government it replaced in May.

India is also setting up an All India Institute of Ayurveda along the lines of the six All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), based in cities across the country. All (and four more currently being planned) will have AYUSH departments, with special focus on ayurvedic medicine. ... ... cientists/
Kendrick Lamar is a rapper from Compton, CA, who, since 2011, has released three full-length albums. His most recent album, "To Pimp a Butterfly," was released in March of this year and has had a sensational effect not only within hip-hop but on the global music scene overall. The album is currently rated as the number one album of 2015 so far on the music review aggregatorsMetacritic and Rate Your Music.

Hip-Hop Psych describe their initiative as "the interface that links hip-hop music and culture with mental health."

"Our medical credibility and authentic passion for hip-hop enables us to bridge this gap," claims the description on the organization's website. "We understand the culture and speak the language. We want to share our knowledge in order to cultivate awareness, empower others and remove stigma surrounding mental health and hip-hop..." ...
I just stumbled across this advert on the net. (And stumbled is a good word, given the state of my knees!)
Link is dead. The current link to this company's website is:

It's rather long, and slightly repetitive, but otherwise well laid out. The science (that arthritis, etc is actually an auto-immune problem that can be cured by just three drops a day of this medicine) sounds plausible...

But if it's as good as it's claimed (with loads of letters from users endorsing it) why haven't I heard of it before? :confused:

It was developed by this chap:
"Dr. Eugene Zampieron is a licensed Naturopathic physician. He graduated with honors from
Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences, the most esteemed doctoral program of natural
medicine in the world.

Bastyr has two campuses in the US - plenty online about it, although the Wiki article "has multiple issues"...

But I want to believe! I'd happily pay for this stuff if it does what it claims!

Or is it just snake oil in a new guise? :(
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My grandpa used to buy magic bracelets, potions and crystal pendants to cure my gran's arthritis when she was old. None of them worked and I despised the sort of salesmen who would make money out of such vulnerable people.
My grandpa used to buy magic bracelets, potions and crystal pendants to cure my gran's arthritis when she was old. None of them worked and I despised the sort of salesmen who would make money out of such vulnerable people.
Not that regular medicine is much better.

Today I discovered that one of the newer residents here also has arthritic knees. He's been told they won't operate until he loses three stone. (I was given the similar Catch-22 brush-off - but I only put the weight on because, with the pain in my knees, I can't exercise! :mad:)

Doctors are useless at treating the ills of old age. They won't even give me decent pain killers or anti-inflammatory medicines. I've given up on the quacks. They have a painting by numbers approach to pill-pushing, and few of them have the wit or the courage to look beyond that.

I could go on...

Anyway, GNC, kudos to your grandpa for caring for his wife, and trying what he could to help. I'm sure every new method would have raised her spirits for a while.
Doctors are useless at treating the ills of old age. They won't even give me decent pain killers or anti-inflammatory medicines. I've given up on the quacks. They have a painting by numbers approach to pill-pushing, and few of them have the wit or the courage to look beyond that.
It is pretty hit-and-miss, as they don't know what treatment will work with you.
My Dad has been receiving treatment at home from 3 doctors, so they do make the effort. And it seems to be working.
My advice is to persist. And get a second opinion.
My advice is to persist. And get a second opinion.
Huh! I got opinions from all the docs in the practice! Except that it was always the same opinion - they all sang from the same hymn-sheet! They have a hive-mind!

This has got me rethinking the infamous case of Dr. Harold Shipman. Did he kill off his old patients because he realised he could do nothing for them, and it seemed kinder to ease them into the inevitable...? And he wan't young himself, so he too was probably feeling the onset of old age. The press coverage at the time seemed to suggest that his victims were all fit and healthy - but if so, why did they need a doctor?

When you're younger, fit and active, if you break some bones or get some infection, then the medical profession can probably help you. But when you're old, don't hold your breath waiting for medical help!

The ultimate fact of life is that we grow old and die. Doctors then are just rubber-neckers.
Huh! I got opinions from all the docs in the practice! Except that it was always the same opinion - they all sang from the same hymn-sheet! They have a hive-mind!

If you have a disagreement with one doctor in a practice you have a disagreement with all of them... it was like that when the practices weren't each a business in their own right and possibly even more so now they are.

It is worth changing practice if you think they're being dicks with you, I've done it twice in my life, my only regret is that I stuck it out so long with the 2nd one when I could have saved myself a lot of misery.
Not that regular medicine is much better.

Today I discovered that one of the newer residents here also has arthritic knees. He's been told they won't operate until he loses three stone. (I was given the similar Catch-22 brush-off - but I only put the weight on because, with the pain in my knees, I can't exercise! :mad:)

Doctors are useless at treating the ills of old age. They won't even give me decent pain killers or anti-inflammatory medicines. I've given up on the quacks. They have a painting by numbers approach to pill-pushing, and few of them have the wit or the courage to look beyond that.

I could go on...

Anyway, GNC, kudos to your grandpa for caring for his wife, and trying what he could to help. I'm sure every new method would have raised her spirits for a while.

Rynner, a number of my arthritic relatives swear by aloe vera juice to reduce inflammation and pain.
The stuff tastes terrible but it really does seem to help. You might want to consider it, if you can't get any help from the doctor.

When it comes to alternative medicine/health care, I tend to use things that are simple and unlikely to cause more problems, as well as have a record of positive results (even if it's disputed by the medical establishment) We've known enough doctors as friends who've told us about the pressure from drug companies to push certain medicines and what amounts to intense peer pressure to conform from inside their establishment. I'm not against modern western medicine at all, but those stories made it clear that there is more going on than just finding the best treatment for an illness.

Anyway, here are some things that have improved my quality of life without doing any harm -

Raw garlic - slice a clove and leave out for 15 minutes before consuming. The beneficial compound in garlic (acillin) doubles 6 1/2 minutes after being cut, then doubles again 6 and 1/2 minutes after that.
I used to get several colds and the flu once a year, but no more. I started the garlic regimen when dealing with a severe toothache (for which is was a great help) and realized the other health benefits later. It feels a bit like chewing on barbed wire, but it's worth it, and if you eat it at night before sleep, it cuts down on the pungent breath factor.

Calcium bentonite clay - good for skin and digestive problems (make sure the kind you get is safe to be taken internally) Because of this, I've been the only one left standing after the whole family was laid low by stomach virus. Also works great as a poultice. I even tested this when some strange red spots appeared on my skin and weren't going away after weeks. I applied a clay poultice to some and antibiotic ointment to others. The spots treated with the clay disappeared in 4 days - the other didn't change at all. This was pretty good evidence to me :) Also a good additive or alternative to toothpaste. (If you take it internally though, make sure you wait a few hours after taking any medicines, because it will flush these things out of your system.)

Oil pulling - okay, this one sounds pretty wacky, and I'm not sure I believe that swishing oil around in your mouth for 15 - 20 minutes will pull toxins out of the body (not sure how this would work, scientifically). However, it has improved my oral health, my skin, hair and brightened the whites of my eyes. (I'd heard about the eye thing but didn't really believe it would happen until I looked in the mirror and saw it myself!) I started this routine because of (again) dental problems that I could not afford to have treated. If you have dental problems and little money in the US, you are pretty much screwed, so alternative medicine in this case was my only option. I have found oil-pulling to be beneficial, no matter how it works. It's just swishing oil around, so it's not likely to do any harm. I use extra-virgin coconut oil to do this, by the way.

Barley grass powder - fantastic for improving energy levels. Most people hate the way it tastes, but I like it. :p

Unless a person has an allergy to any of these things, they aren't likely to hurt and they just might help.

I also take co-enzyme Q-10 on the advice of a nutritionist. I don't know if this would be appropriate for everyone, but it has definitely improved my quality of life.
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I wonder if oil pulling might work to combat garlic breath. I rarely add it to food these days but yesterday made a salad with raw garlic in the dressing and am regretting it a bit this morning. I made the dressing a good hour before we ate so maybe the acillin was really powerful.
Anyway, GNC, kudos to your grandpa for caring for his wife, and trying what he could to help. I'm sure every new method would have raised her spirits for a while.

He wasn't that much of a hero, he was a troublemaker who wouldn't listen to anyone, doctors or family, so what made him think conmen were the answer to his problems is a mystery. My gran suffered because of him, and he lost a lot of money.
Now all I want is the docs to come up with a way to fix my knees without me having to lose a quarter of a ton in weight first!