Alternative Therapies (Generally; Overall)

mindalai

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#31
An awful lot of so-called western medicine is actually based on what would probably be called alternative medicine if it was new, rather than established. Aspirin springs to mind (based on willow-bark extract).

Things like tea tree oil, seaweed and chilli extract are also used quite routinely in health-care but are not "sold" as alternative medicine. Honey seems to be the up and coming thing with all sorts of honey impregnated dressings coming out now and being used. Of course in order to make a profit the drug companies have to make it much more complicated than just putting some clean honey on a wound and sticking some gauze over the top - they have to fiddle around with it all, engineer some scare stories about using "ordinary" (cheaper) honey,and package it up just right in order to justify the massive amount they charge (sorry, pet subject).

Personally I think that "alternative" medicines have every place in modern medicine but I wouldn't want my tax money spent on them unless they've been through the same sorts of effectiveness trials as conventional medicine. Just because patients have read in the daily mail that magnetic bracelets will cure all ills I don't want to see the NHS pandering to this under the banner of "choice" without taking steps to see that it's actually going to do some real, measurable good.
 
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#32
if the water remembers the histamine then why doesnt it also remember the rocks in which it was orihinally contained be they granite or whatever, why doesnt it remember the lead or plastic pipes it went through, why doesnt it rember fish, amoenas etc that were in it, why doesnt it remember the container it is now in? homeopathy has a kinda selective memory doesnt it?
 

feen5

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#33
Richard Dawkins (I know i Know i can here the booing here from some Quarters) has a very good foreward to John Diamonds book 'Snake Oil and other Preoccupations' in his collection of Essays 'The Devil's Chaplin'. John Diamond refused to give into 'miracle cures' when dieing of cancer because of the lack of scientific proof or exploration into these alternative medicines. Now i don't care to get into a debate about Richard Dawkins or alternative medicine i am merely pointing people towards some reading material which may be of interest to those on both sides of the divide. What you care to do with this information is entirely your own concern so i won't be replying to anyone who has a go at me for quoteing Richard Dawkins. I want to get my hands on the John Diamond book myself. I will say that i'm in the anti-alternative medicine camp.
And your quite right Ramon it does seem like a selective memory thing, you can add to your list that i've heard before that tap water in London passes through several people and is continuously recycled (if its an urban myth forgive me) but if one or two of the people it passed through had various infections or diseases how come the water doesn't remeber them as well and pass them on, if it does we are all buggered.
 
A

Anonymous

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#34
graylien said:
coldelephant said:
Hmmmn - and why not use placebos if they work?
Quite. But do we really need to spend £20 million on a specialist hospital and put hoardes of 'alternative' therapists on the NHS payroll merely to exploit the placebo effect? Surely there must be a simpler and cheaper way of doing it?

There is indeed - keep the normal hospitals at a cost of many many billions and then use sugar pills - tell people it is morphine or whatever, but it's sugar pills!

See?
 
A

Anonymous

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#35
mindalai said:
An awful lot of so-called western medicine is actually based on what would probably be called alternative medicine if it was new, rather than established. Aspirin springs to mind (based on willow-bark extract).

Things like tea tree oil, seaweed and chilli extract are also used quite routinely in health-care but are not "sold" as alternative medicine. Honey seems to be the up and coming thing with all sorts of honey impregnated dressings coming out now and being used. Of course in order to make a profit the drug companies have to make it much more complicated than just putting some clean honey on a wound and sticking some gauze over the top - they have to fiddle around with it all, engineer some scare stories about using "ordinary" (cheaper) honey,and package it up just right in order to justify the massive amount they charge (sorry, pet subject).

Personally I think that "alternative" medicines have every place in modern medicine but I wouldn't want my tax money spent on them unless they've been through the same sorts of effectiveness trials as conventional medicine. Just because patients have read in the daily mail that magnetic bracelets will cure all ills I don't want to see the NHS pandering to this under the banner of "choice" without taking steps to see that it's actually going to do some real, measurable good.

I agree with all of that.

I mean, why eat dried rhino horn if tea tree oil will solve the problem?

As regards Western medicene being based on herbs etc - of course it is.

Chemistry from alchemy, from what? Monks messing around with herbs is what.

Monks and herbs - they found some recipies that they still don't understand, they have no clue why the monks were so good at it because few written docs (ironically) remain or something, but they're trying to find out.

Oh, add another one to the list - witch hazel.

Also, for gum disease, dentists and dental surgeons do not recommend Corsodil all of the time, in fact they recommend salt and warm water.
 
A

Anonymous

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#36
ramonmercado said:
if the water remembers the histamine then why doesnt it also remember the rocks in which it was orihinally contained be they granite or whatever, why doesnt it remember the lead or plastic pipes it went through, why doesnt it rember fish, amoenas etc that were in it, why doesnt it remember the container it is now in? homeopathy has a kinda selective memory doesnt it?

No - water has no memory.

Water can be affected like everything else though - cause and effect.

The question is how is water affected?

So far, nobody has asked that question, but I will find the answer and post it here.
 
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#37
HIV/AIDS Fosters Collaboration Between Traditional Healers, Western Medicine In Zambia
Main Category: HIV / AIDS News
Article Date: 01 Sep 2006 - 7:00am (PDT)

The spread of HIV in Zambia is fostering collaboration between traditional healers and practitioners of Western medicine, IRIN News reports. The Zambian government earlier this year commissioned the first clinical trials of some traditional remedies for HIV/AIDS. The tests were conducted by medical doctors, who assessed the composition and properties of a number of traditional medicines and monitored the CD4+ T cell counts, viral loads and appetites of HIV-positive people receiving the treatments. Initial results show that some of the formulas increase people's CD4+ T cell counts, while others lower viral loads or treat opportunistic infections, Justine Mwiinga, a spokesperson for the National HIV/AIDS Council, said, stressing that none of the formulas was found to "cure AIDS." She added that the results of the tests would be published soon.

Rodwell Vongo, president of the 40,000-member Traditional Health Practitioners Association of Zambia, urged collaboration between traditional healers and practitioners of modern medicine. "f we allow the divide between healers and medical doctors to continue, healers may become counterproductive because we surely have the authority to command any patient to discontinue the medical doctors' prescribed medicine," Vongo said, adding that the two types of healers working together could help "cushion government's depleted resources and save many lives."

An estimated 1.6 million of Zambia's 10 million people are HIV-positive, and 60,000 of them are receiving antiretroviral drugs. In addition, many of Zambia's health workers have left the country to work in countries where the conditions are better and the salaries are higher, according to IRIN News. The World Health Organization has said traditional healers are a crucial factor in HIV prevention and care and emphasized the need for traditional healers and health care providers to work together to combat the disease (IRIN News, 8/28).

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=50826
 
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#38
Scientists attack homeopathy move

Homeopathy has long been controversial
Britain's leading scientific institutions say changes to the regulation of homeopathic medicines are putting patients at risk.
In addition, hundreds of doctors and scientists have signed a statement opposing the rules allowing homeopathic medicines to make medical claims.

The comments have been released as the House of Lords debates the new regulations.

But the drug regulatory agency said the new rules would benefit patients.

This is the first time, since the thalidomide tragedy and the 1968 Medicines Act, that the regulation of medicines has moved away from the science rather than towards it

Lord Taverne

In September, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) introduced rules to allow homeopathic remedies to specify the ailments for which they can be used.

In a statement, the Royal College of Pathologists said they were "deeply alarmed" that the regulation of medicine had "moved away from science and clear information for the public".

The Medical Research Council said claims should not be made about efficacy of products without "rigorous and objective evidence".

And the BioSciences Federation warned the MHRA's decision was of "extreme concern" adding "it seems in this case that the MHRA has bowed to industry pressure".

In total, 12 national societies have raised fears over patient safety and accuracy of information, including the Physiological Society, the British Pharmacological Society, the Society for Applied Microbiology, the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Sense about Science, which has been collating opinion on the issue, says 600 doctors and scientists have also signed a statement which says homeopathic medicines should not be allowed to make "unsubstantiated health claims" and that the policy is "damaging to patients' best interests".

Regulation

Homeopathy is a system of therapy based on the concept that disease can be treated with drugs (in minute doses) thought capable of producing the same symptoms in healthy people as the disease itself.

Under the voluntary scheme, called the National Rules Scheme, homeopathic products will receive a licence if they can provide data proving the treatments are safe.

But they will not have to produce evidence of efficacy from clinical trials, unlike conventional medicines.

They will also be allowed to indicate what sort of symptoms they can relieve, although this will be limited to minor ailments such as colds, coughs and hay fever.

To make such a claim, the manufacturers need only show that the product has been used to treat those particular conditions within the homeopathic industry.

Critics have also been angered by suggestions that the MHRA has been partly motivated by a desire to boost the homeopathic industry.

In its consultation, the MHRA said failure to introduce the new system would inhibit the industry's expansion.

Lord Dick Taverne, chair of Sense About Science, who is taking part in the House of Lords debate on the regulation change said: "As many of the medical specialists contacting us have pointed out, evidence-based medicine has been a major public gain of the 20th Century.

"This is the first time, since the thalidomide tragedy and the 1968 Medicines Act, that the regulation of medicines has moved away from the science rather than towards it."

'Storm in a teacup'

But Dr Peter Fisher, clinical director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital said: "The regulations just tidy up the situation by saying 'this homeopathic medicine has been traditionally used for' and it brings it into line with the regulations for herbal medicines.

"I think it's a bit of a storm in a teacup," he added.

A spokesperson for the MHRA said: "The National Rules Scheme provides a significant opportunity to improve consumer information about the use of homeopathic products on the UK market whilst maintaining rigorous control over their quality and safety.

"The scheme requires that products have patient information leaflets which are regulated to the same standards as conventional medicines, ensuring that they are clear and comprehensive."




http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6085242.stm
 

OldTimeRadio

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#39
Hpmeopathy's a little like the argument as to wether modern humans did or did not interbreed with the Neanderthals - the "evidence" pro and con gets batted back and forth six times before breakfast.

Look, I don't have much if any use for astrology. Yet even I have to admit that after five or six thousand years astrology is accepted by many more people than not and shows absolutely no signs of folding up its "star" (that is, planet) charts and stealing away into the shadows. It not only refuses to die but doesn't even develop the sniffles.

That very stubborness seems an argument in astrology's favor.
 
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#40
Alternative medicine is defended

Experts have called for the treatments to be reclassified
Therapists have defended their use of complementary medicines after a cancer expert said patients needed protection from "exploitation".
Professor Jonathan Waxman, of Imperial College London, wants laws against "the snake oil salesmen that peddle cures and exploit the desperate".

But Dr George Lewith, who has studied the use of complementary medicine, said most patients find it "helpful".

He said professor Waxman's view was interesting but it was a personal one.

In an article for the British Medical Journal Professor Waxman said: "Claims made by companies to support the sales of such products may be overtly and malignly incorrect."

Our.. survey did not find these patients are anti conventional medicine or using wacky diets

Dr George Lewith

He called for them to be reclassified as drugs, rather than food supplements, so they would be subject to pharmaceutical testing.

Professor Waxman also said that when treatments are unsuccessful "the patient has failed, not the alternative therapy, and the patient has let down the alternative practitioner".

Dr Lewith, of Southampton University, worked on a government-funded study on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer patients that was published earlier this year.

He said their information showed that CAM was used for around 30% of cancer patients.

'Great benefit'

"Our.. survey did not find these patients are anti-conventional medicine or using wacky diets," he said.

Responding to the call for legislation to regulate the industry Dr Lewith said: "You're starting from an assumption that is not grounded in fact."

Supporting Dr Lewith, Beverly Martin, a trustee of the charity the Institute for Complementary Medicine (ICM), said the treatment of cancer requires "training of the highest standard" whether conventional or complementary.

"There are published cases suggesting the great benefit to some patients of naturopathic treatment including radical detoxification and dietary changes," she said.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 179374.stm
 

tilly50

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#41
I would give "orthodox" medicines rabid attack on "alternative" medicine more credence if they never made misdiagnoses, prescribed dangerous cocktails of medicines, gave out lethal doses, had drugs with no dangerous (sometimes lethal) side effects, or had less control applied to them by the market forces of the massive pharmaceutical companies.

Having total trust and faith in anything that has a profound affect on your well being is IMO misguided if not dangerous.

I know that we have to rely on the medical professionals when we become ill, but all the same nobody should be denied the chance of making informed choices of how they are treated.

The pharmaceutical companies complain that alternative medicines have not been tested and are therefore dangerous. Pretty well all medicines are potentially dangerous if not taken correctly, and the pharmaceutical companies provide leaflets with their products to warn users of the potential dangers, (these are "disclaimers" to get the companies off the hook in the case of any serious mishap).
 
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#42
Homeopathic Or Herbal Remedies Prescribed By 60 Percent Of Doctors' Surgeries in Scotland

Main Category: Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine News
Article Date: 29 Nov 2006 - 6:00am (PST)

Sixty per cent of doctors' surgeries in Scotland prescribe homeopathic or herbal remedies, according to a study of nearly two million patients, published in the December issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen analysed official prescribing data from 2003-4, covering 1.9 million patients from 323 practices.

Their findings have led them to call for a critical review of homeopathic and herbal prescribing in the UK National Health Service, particularly the high levels given to babies and children under 16.

The research team discovered that:

* 49 per cent of practices prescribed a total of 193 different homeopathic remedies and 32 per cent prescribed 17 different herbal remedies.

* Five per cent of the practices included in the study prescribed 50 per cent of the remedies and accounted for 46 per cent of the patients receiving them.

* 4160 patients (2.2 per 1000 registered patients) were prescribed at least one homeopathic remedy during the study period. 73 per cent were female and the average age of patients was 47.

* Children under 12 months were most likely to be prescribed a homeopathic or herbal remedy (9.5 per 1000 children in that age group), followed by adults aged 81-90 (4.5 per 1000). 16 per cent of homeopathic prescribing was to children under 16.

* 361 patients were prescribed at least one herbal remedy during the study period (0.2 per 1000 registered patients) and 12 per cent of these were children under 16 years old. 72 per cent of prescriptions were issued to females and the average age was 61.

* Doctors who prescribed patients a homeopathic remedy also prescribed them a median of four conventional medicines during the study period. This figure went up to five for people prescribed herbal remedies.

* Four per cent of patients prescribed a herbal remedy were, at the same time, prescribed conventional medication that has been documented to interact with herbal treatments.

* The top five prescribed homeopathic remedies were Arnica montana (for injury, bruising), Rhus toxicodendron (joint symptoms, headache), Cuprum metallicum (cramp, poor circulation) Pulsatilla (PMT, menopausal symptoms, breast feeding problems) and Sepia (PMT, menopausal symptoms, fatigue).

* The top five prescribed herbal remedies were: Gentian (poor appetite, digestive problems), Cranberry (urinary tract infection), Digestodoron (indigestion, heartburn, constipation), Evening primrose (PMT) and Laxadoron (constipation).

"Our study shows that a substantial number of Scottish family doctors prescribe homeopathic and herbal remedies" says co-author Dr James McLay from the University's Department of Medicine and Therapeutics.

"This level of prescribing raises important questions about homeopathic and herbal provision in the UK's National Health Service

"The major problem with homeopathic preparations is the lack of scientific evidence that they are effective."

"Given the rise of evidence-based medicine and the trend toward prescribing guidance in the UK, should therapies with no convincing positive clinical trial evidence be prescribed and funded by the health service"

"Or are proponents of such remedies correct in stating that the difficulties inherent in trialling such therapies make evidence irrelevant."

"Whatever the arguments, our study shows an apparent acceptance of homeopathic and herbal medicine within primary care, including extensive use in children and young babies. We believe that these findings underline the need for a critical review of this prescribing trend."

"The research by the University of Aberdeen adds an important dimension to the ongoing debate about homeopathic remedies, as it shows what is actually happening at grass roots in Scottish general practice" adds Dr Jeffrey Aronson, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and Reader in Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University.

"In September 2006 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) introduced new rules to regulate homeopathic medicines, allowing manufacturers to specify the ailments for which they can be used."

"This move has been criticised by a number of leading UK scientific institutions, who argue that homeopathic medicines should not be allowed to make 'unsubstantiated health claims' and that the policy is damaging to patients' best interests."

"We hope that this paper will further inform the debate, as it provides clear evidence on prescribing patterns within the NHS and raises a number of important issues, particularly about prescribing homeopathic and herbal remedies to children."

###

* Homeopathic and herbal prescribing in general practice in Scotland. Ross S, Simpson C R and McLay J S. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Volume 62.6. Pages 647 to 652. (December 2006).

* The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology is published monthly on behalf of the British Pharmacological Society by Blackwell Publishing. It contains papers and reports on all aspects of drug action in humans: invited review articles, original papers, short communications and correspondence. The Journal, which was first published in 1974, enjoys a wide readership, bridging the gap between the medical profession, clinical research and the pharmaceutical industry. http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/bjcp

Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=57609
 
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#43
Natural Remedies No Better Than Placebos For Relieving Menopause
Main Category: Women's Health / OBGYN News
Article Date: 19 Dec 2006 - 4:00 PST
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A new research study shows that natural remedies based on a number of popular herbal and food ingredients (including black cohosh) are no more effective than a placebo at relieving unpleasant symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. It confirms that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) remains a significantly effective treatment.

The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine .

The scientists studied 351 women experiencing at least 2 episodes of "vasomotor symptoms" (hot flashes or night sweats) per 24 hour period. Half the women were perimenopausal (started menopause but still having menstrual periods) while the others were menopausal but had stopped their periods.

The women were randomnly split into five groups. Each group took a different "remedy": (1) A placebo (containing no active ingredient), (2) Black cohosh, (3) A "multibotanical" of 10 ingredients, including black cohosh, alfalfa, ginseng, boron, licorice, oats, and pomegranate, (4) A multibotanical plus advice to encourage consumption of soya-based food, and (5) Hormone therapy.

The women recorded how often their night sweats and hot flashes occurred and how bad they were, at the start of and then three times over 12 months. The results were then compared across the five groups.

The scientists found that the women who took HRT had the fewest symptoms, while all other four groups had very similar symptoms, making the placebo group's results virtually indistinguishable from those of the three natural remedy groups.

Black cohosh is a herb that is sold as a dietary supplement, often in health food shops. It has become popular as a safe alternative to hormone therapy for relief of menopausal symptoms, but according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), current evidence is unconvincing.

The menopause can last a few months or several years and starts when a woman is about 50, although it can happen earlier if she has had cancer treatment, suffers from diabetes, or has had surgery in the reproductive area, for example a hysterectomy. It's a natural process that occurs when the ovaries shut down and stop producing oestrogen, the main female sex hormone.

For most women the menopause is reasonably uneventful, bringing mild symptoms. However, for about 10 to 20 per cent of women this period of their lives can be extremely unpleasant and accompanied by a distressing range of symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and many more.

ProjectAWARE, the US based Association of Women for the Advancement of Research & Education lists 35 symptoms of menopause, including:

- Shock sensation, described as "the feeling of a rubber band snapping in the layer of tissue between skin and muscle",
- Changes in body odor,
- Tinnitus,
- Reduced attention span, anxiety, fatigue,
- Gastrointestinal problems, nausea,
- Irregular heart beat, irritability, and mood swings.

This study will be a great disappointment to millions of women worldwide for whom the menopause brings months, sometimes years, of misery and who are concerned about the risks associated with HRT, which has recently been linked with increased risk of breast cancer and heart attacks.

"Treatment of Vasomotor Symptoms of Menopause with Black Cohosh, Multibotanicals, Soy, Hormone Therapy, or Placebo - A Randomized Trial"
Katherine M. Newton, PhD; Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH; Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD; Louis C. Grothaus, MS; Kelly Ehrlich, MS; and Jane Guiltinan, ND
Annals 19 December 2006 | Volume 145 Issue 12 | Pages 869-879

Full Text of the study:
http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/145/12/869

Written by: Catharine Paddock
Writer: Medical News Today

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthn ... wsid=59389
 
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#44
Evidence-Based Medicine Sufficient For Complementary And Alternative Medicine Research?
Main Category: Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine News
Article Date: 09 Jan 2007 - 20:00 PST

Evidence-based medicine (EBM), is widely accepted among researchers as the "gold-standard" for scientific approaches. Over the years, EBM has both supported and denied the value of allopathic medicine practices, while having less association with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices. Since most CAM practices are complex and focus on healing rather than cure the question arises as to whether EBM principles are sufficient for making clinical decisions about CAM. That is the focus of this special issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies by SAGE Publications.

"While evidence-based medicine's emphasis on randomized controlled trials has many benefits, researchers and clinicians have found that this focus may be too limited for complex systems such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and other approaches to healing," said Wayne B. Jonas, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Samueli Institute and this special issue's guest editor.

The December special issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies presents articles that explore EBM and alternative strategies to EBM for evaluating CAM and in particular, options for conducting CAM research on cancer. This issue discusses whether clinical research on CAM using randomized placebo-controlled trial designs is the best strategy for making evidence-based decisions in clinical practice, and describes strategies that use "whole systems" and "integrated evaluation models" as potential new standards for research on CAM for cancer.

The second half of this special issue then explores whether basic science adds value to a debate recently resurrected in "The Lancet" on the value of research on homeopathy. Integrative Cancer Therapies now reports a series of landmark studies on the effects of homeopathy on prostate cancer. These are the first rigorous studies on homeopathy simultaneously using genetic, cellular and whole animal models of cancer. These studies show that rigorous basic science research can be conducted on this controversial CAM practice and that current evidence warrants continued research on this approach for cancer.

###

The editorial "Top of the Hierarchy" Evidence for Integrative Medicine: What Are the Best Strategies?" (http://ict.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/5/4/277) and the article "Evidence Summaries and Synthesis: Necessary but Insufficient Approach for Determining Clinical Practice of Integrated Medicine?"(http://ict.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/5/4/282) can be accessed at no-charge for a limited time on the SAGE Publications' Integrative Cancer Therapies web site.

About Integrative Cancer Therapies

Written for everyone involved in comprehensive cancer treatment and care--from physicians and other health care professionals to complementary and alternative practitioners to informed patients-- Integrative Cancer Therapies focuses on evidence based and scientifically sound understanding of the mechanisms of cancer therapies and the physiology of disease conditions, as well as the psychosocial and spiritual needs of the patient. The journal is edited by Dr. Keith Block, Medical and Scientific Director of the Institute for Integrative Cancer Care. http://ict.sagepub.com/

About SAGE

SAGE Publications is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine. A privately owned corporation, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore. http://www.sagepublications.com/

About the Samueli Institute

The Samueli Institute is a non-profit, medical research organization supporting the scientific investigation of healing processes and their application in health and disease. The Institute's mission is to explore the scientific foundations of healing and to apply that understanding in medicine and health care. The Institute is one of an elite group of organizations in the nation with a track record in both complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), healing relationships and military research. Contact: Kendra Calhoun http://www.samueliinstitute.org/

Contact: Valerie Johns
SAGE Publications

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=60405
 
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#45
Seniors Not Discussing Complementary And Alternative Medicine Use With Doctors
23 Jan 2007

In spite of the high use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among people age 50 or older, 69 percent of those who use CAM do not talk to their doctors about it, according to a new survey conducted by AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health. The survey examined conversations between patients and their physicians regarding CAM use.

CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. It includes such products and practices as herbal supplements, meditation, homeopathy, and acupuncture.

"We know that people 50 and older tend to be high users of complementary and alternative medicine, but this study was the first to explore gaps in communications regarding the use of CAM between patients and their physicians," said Cheryl Matheis, AARP Director of Health Strategies. "Communication is important to ensure the wise use of all conventional and CAM therapies."

Differences in communication practices across demographic groups were also found. Women were more likely than men to have discussed CAM use (26 percent versus 16 percent) and what types of therapies to use (70 percent versus 51 percent). In addition, people with incomes of $75,000 or more (31 percent) or $25,000 to $49,999 (25 percent) frequently discussed CAM use with doctors.

"An open dialogue between consumers and their physicians is critical to ensuring safe and appropriate integrated care," said Margaret A. Chesney, Ph.D., NCCAM's Deputy Director. "As the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on CAM, NCCAM is especially committed to educating both consumers and health care providers about the importance of discussing the use of CAM and providing evidence-based information to help with health care decision-making."

This telephone survey, administered to a nationally representative group of 1,559 people age 50 or older, revealed some reasons why doctor-patient dialogue is lacking. Respondents most often did not discuss their CAM use with doctors because the physicians never asked (42 percent); they did not know that they should (30 percent); or there was not enough time during the office visit (19 percent). Interestingly, men who had seen a doctor were more likely than women not to have discussed CAM because their doctors never asked (46 percent versus 38 percent).

Other highlights from the survey report include:

Dialogue Topics

* The topics most often discussed with doctors were the effectiveness of a CAM therapy (67 percent); what to use (64 percent); how a CAM therapy might interact with other medications or treatments received (60 percent); advice on whether to pursue a CAM therapy (60 percent); and safety of a CAM therapy (57 percent).

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication Use

* Nearly three-fourths of respondents said they take one or more prescription medications; in addition, 59 percent of respondents said they take one or more over-the-counter medications. Twenty percent of respondents reported taking more than five prescription medications.

* The high number of prescription and over-the-counter medications used by this group underscores the need for consumers and physicians to discuss all therapies, including CAM, to ensure safe, integrated care.

For a complete copy of the survey report, please visit:

http://www.aarp.org/research/health/pre ... _2007.html

Tips for Discussing CAM with Your Doctor:

* If you are considering a CAM therapy, ask your physician about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (prescription and non-prescription).

* Tell your doctor about all therapies or treatments including over-the-counter and prescription medicines as well as herbal and dietary supplements.

* When completing patient history forms, be sure to include all therapies and treatments you use. Make a list in advance.

###

CAM Resources:

NCCAM:

www.nccam.nih.gov/health/

AARP: www.aarp.org/health/staying_healthy/pre ... icine.html

Medline Plus--Alternative Medicine: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alternativemedicine.html

Medline Plus--Herbs and Supplements: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/herb_All.html

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements: dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/

NCI Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine: www.cancer.gov/cam/

NIA Age Page on Dietary Supplements: www.niapublications.org/agepages/supplements.asp

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's mission is to explore complementary and alternative medical practices in the context of rigorous science, train CAM researchers, and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit http://www.nccam.nih.gov/.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--The Nation's Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Contact: NCCAM Press Office
NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine



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#46
LSU Professor Uses Tai Chi To Fight Degenerative Nerve Disease
26 Jan 2007

Peripheral neuropathy is a degenerative nerve disease with no cure and few effective treatment options - until now. Li Li, professor of kinesiology at LSU, is conducting a study into the benefits of tai chi for elderly peripheral neuropathy patients. So far, those practicing tai chi show far greater levels of improvement that those pursuing more traditional methods of treatment.

Test results prove tai chi is more than just a mind game or a placebo it really works. Li's group conducts periodic scientific and medical testing to track each person's progress as they continue in the program. Other, more traditional methods of treatment, including walking and light machines, are also studied to compare the results to those gained from tai chi, but so far it is still the undisputed winner, producing improved flexibility, sensation and overall health.

Most patients report a significant decrease in falls, increased confidence walking and standing and are able to stop using walkers or canes after consistent and extensive participation.

The study, backed by little to no funding, started out in the summer of 2004 and was slated to last only a few months. But participants felt such improvement that they refused to give it up. So, in the fall of 2005, the study resumed with great anticipation and with funding from LSU s Department of Kinesiology. What was once a simple comparison between two forms of exercise walking and tai chi has now developed into a full-fledged study, utilizing the expertise of biomechanists, psychologists, physiologists and many others in order to gain a better understanding of the actual impact this exercise produces.

The program includes approximately 75 individuals, with breakaway groups meeting up to three times a week for lessons. Thomas Yajun, a tai chi master who moved to the United States only three years ago knowing little to no English, leads the classes through their routines, which take into consideration the group's general level of mobility. As they become more comfortable and gain more mobility, Yajun pushes them farther, constantly expanding their boundaries. "People wouldn't come if it wasn t doing something," Li said. "I mean, some of these people travel 50 to 100 miles round trip just to make it to our classes. For many of them, if they couldn t come to our sessions, which are offered free of charge, they couldn't afford to go anywhere else."

There are more than 150 people in the Baton Rouge area waiting join Li's study. But with only LSU's Department of Kinesiology sponsoring the program, it cannot support any additional participants. Parking and facility space are already posing a problem. Li hopes to receive funding in the near future that will allow him to expand the program so that it can help others fight back against the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

"I have really been helped by the program. My legs felt like they had bands around them and my feet would burn almost constantly. Since I've been here [approximately nine months], I've had only two episodes of severe burning and the bands, where as it was on a daily basis before," said Marian King, who, prior to joining the program was forced to stop working due to increasing difficulty with walking and standing.

"We're seeing great results, and we're very excited," Li said. "Some people started the program unable to stand, even with assistance, for more than five minutes. Today, these same people have no trouble standing independently."

"I was falling down in the house a lot. Sometimes I would fall down just by tripping. It's [tai chi] been a real improvement," said John Liebert, who only recently joined the program. "I fall down far less, and that's the big issue with me. It's not going to cure the disease, but it was never intended to be a cure. It has definitely helped my lifestyle. It's been a real improvement."

###

For more information about Li's peripheral neuropathy tai chi group, please visit http://pn.lsu.edu/index.htm.

Contact: Ashley Berthelot
Louisiana State University


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#47
Alternative therapy put on trial

The scheme will allow greater access to acupuncture
An experiment in allowing NHS patients easier access to alternative and complementary therapies has been launched by NI Secretary Peter Hain.
The £200,000 year-long trial will run in two health practices in Londonderry and Belfast. The main focus will be on anxiety and musculoskeletal problems.

GPs in these areas will now be able to refer patients for therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy and massage.

Mr Hain said it would help those who could not afford treatments privately.

"I am certain, as a user of complementary medicine myself, that this has the potential to improve health substantially," he said.


Homeopathic medicines will be available for some NHS patients
""For the first time, GPs will be able to refer patients directly to a complementary therapist if they feel their patient could benefit from the treatment, and indeed if it is the patient's wish.

"It will bring together both the mainstream and complementary sectors in what I hope will be the start of a process which will lead to full roll-out across the province."

Mr Hain said he was "delighted that Northern Ireland is leading the way in integrating complementary and alternative therapies into the National Health Service".

The pilot will be available to patients registered with participating GPs attached to the Community Treatment and Care Centre, Hollywood Arches, east Belfast and Racecourse Medical at Shantallow Health Centre in Derry.

The pilot, announced last October by Health Minister Paul Goggins, will be run by Get Well UK, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes greater access to complementary and alternative medicine.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/nort ... 329279.stm
 

escargot

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#48
I have signed up as a subject for alternative therapies at my local college. Next month, over a few weeks, I will be practiced on by reflexologists, reiki-ists, head massagers and I don't know what. Should be fun. :D
 
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#49
There are more comments at the link.

Should traditional healers be more integrated with modern medicine?
According to The World Health Organisation, 80% of the population in Africa uses traditional medicine for primary health care.

In Morocco, thousands of people are queueing up to see a man who claims he can cure any disease and in Ghana, the Ministry of Health are regulating traditional healers. The Gambia's President, Yahya Jammeh, is keen to promote the benefits of traditional medicine in his country, but can ancient remedies really compete with modern day medicine?

Is traditional medicine a safe and cost effective alternative or is it a licence to exploit the weak and impoverished? Have you experienced traditional medicine? Has it helped you or harmed you?

If you would like to join Africa Have Your Say to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 15th February at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published. You can also send an SMS text message to +44 77 86 20 20 08.

Published: Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, 16:40 GMT 16:40 UK


Added: Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 13:02 GMT 13:02 UK

Every time I tune to our local radio stations here in Bamenda I am very sure to get adverts of this or that traditional doctor who can 'heal' a whole range of diseases and ailments.I cannot fully guarantee the authenticity of their claims but doctors of medical institutions have often rubbished most of such claims especially when some of these healers claim they can treat HIV/Aids.Traditional healers have something positive to bring into the health sector if they cooperate with modern medicine.

Israel Ambe Ayongwa, Bamenda, Cameroon


Added: Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 09:51 GMT 09:51 UK

African traditional herbal medicines should not be integrated with modern allopathic medicine.Each system should remain separate and keep its own identity.Herbal medicines have their own effectiveness and most of the medicinal herbs are widely used in allopathic system.Allopathic system is not an absolute success.But it is more scientific and a lot of research is done in this field.We can rely on that with confidence.In the case of traditional medicine there are charlatans.

manibal, Bangalore,India



Added: Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 09:43 GMT 09:43 UK

Like any old style traditional medicine, undoubtedly it can be beneficial during the course of medication. The only dilemma in this field is, it has to be regulated, in order to eliminate the would be impostor healer among the practitioners.

Taufik Noor


Added: Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 08:20 GMT 08:20 UK

I will say traditional medicine is somehow safer and of course cost effective and not a licence to exploit the weak and impoverished. And the side effect is no prescription to show the doses to take!
I have experienced it some years back when I was attacked by strange rashes on my neck. A traditionalist was able to heal me of the disease! it was a great help to me.

Joe Noutoua Wandah, Liberian in Accra


Added: Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 07:11 GMT 07:11 UK

Before Modern medicine there was traditional medicine, safe and natural. People were cured and health restored.It has stood the test of time and proved safe.
However in this polluated world of ourselves, our bodies have become weak and a lot has to be done to improve on its effectiveness.

Jenkins Miiro, Kampala, Uganda


Added: Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 24:16 GMT 00:16 UK

Some traditional medicines are safe and effective, but most are not, and are the works of charlatans.

Ntsanderh Azenui, Chicago


Moderator



Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 21:36 GMT 21:36 UK

There are only two types of medicine. Medicine that works and medicine that doesn't. If the "traditional" medicine was proven to be effective, it would be integrated into modern medicine quickly. This was the case with aspirin from willow bark, digitalis from purple foxglove and many more.

Those herbs and treatments that are not integrated are those that are yet to be proven effective, or have already been proven ineffective.

K Paine, Mackay


Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 16:46 GMT 16:46 UK

No medicine is safe,Traditional or Modern.I think it has equal effects.Do you know 86%of modern medicines are invented by traditional healers?After stealing the blueprint,modern doctors&drug industry begin campaign to take out the traditional healers.ofcouse both sides are exposed to counterfaking,lies&claims of doing things they can't.

ali mustafa, hamar, Norway


Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 16:21 GMT 16:21 UK

In Africa, we are more likely to denounce traditional medicine which has served our people for millenia. Sadly, we embrace everything western, regardless of its side effects.

Abdulai MUSA, LAGOS, Nigeria




Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 14:33 GMT 14:33 UK

Traditional medicines are excellent since they cure diseases which even modern medicine sometimes fail to cure. In my village, a young boy's family were forced to pay huge medical expenses abroad, only to return home to a find a traditional healer who cured the sick boy.

Abdi, Mandera


Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 12:27 GMT 12:27 UK

The handicap with traditional healers is the lack of proper diagnostic apparatus and poor hygienic conditions. If these fellows are integrated into modern medicine and improve upon their hygienic conditions, they will become messiahs in Africa. I believe in curing certain illnesses with traditional herbs.

Eric Mbumbouh, Bamenda, Cameroon


Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 12:22 GMT 12:22 UK

Traditional medicine has been proved to be very helpful in treating certain ailments. I would readily use it except where it has to be taken orally. Rather than pour scorn on it, there are positive aspects of traditional medicine such as its affordability.

Patrick E Banda, KITWE


Added: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 11:10 GMT 11:10 UK

Most Africans at one time or another have been treated by herbal medicine. As kids growing up in the village with no health care facilities, we received treatment for headaches, coughs, influenza and stomach aches. Some of us are still benefiting from herbal medicine today.

Besenty Gomez, Kitty Village


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#50
Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, New Edition Available
20 Mar 2007

Christian Medical Association is pleased to announce their latest "Medically Reliable and Biblically Sound" publication Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook Updated and Expanded, (Zondervan, 2007) written by Dónal O'Mathúna, PhD and Walt Larimore, MD.

"A much-needed resource for the consumer as well as healthcare providers. The use of alternative medicine is increasing particularly among Christians. Over $4 billion is now spent annually in the United States on herbal remedies. This unique resource is an invaluable tool in sifting through the go! od, the bad and the ugly of alternative and complementary medicine," says David Stevens, MD, CEO of the 17,000 member faith-based organization, Christian Medical Association. "If the Church ever needed a trusted voice on health issues - we need it now."

In a CMA member survey, an evidence-based, faith-based resource on alternative medicine was by far the most sought-after resource.

"This area of medicine is hampered by unclear information and contradictory claims. Decisions to use any therapy or remedy should be based on the best evidence available. The book provides that evidence in ways that those without professional training can grasp. As the same time, enough details are given to make the book useful for health care professionals," notes co-author Dónal O'Mathúna, PhD.

Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook was one of the first comprehensive guidebooks to nontraditional medicine written from a distinctively Christian perspective. The updated and expanded edition discusses the latest developments in alternative medicine combining the most current research with an easy-to-use format. This book reviews over one hundred therapies, remedies and supplements, explaining the available research on each approach. In addition they examine, where relevant, the spiritual beliefs underlying certain therapies and look at them in light of traditional Christian values. The problems of quackery and fraud are discussed, and tips given on how to avoid them. The role of faith and prayer in health and well-being is! also examined, along with new research on these topics. The book is divided into three main divisions: Evaluating Alternative Medicine; Alternative Therapies; and Herbal Remedies, Vitamins, and Dietary Supplements.

University lecturer and researcher Dónal O'Mathúna, PhD, and national medical authority, Walt Larimore, MD, provide detailed and balanced answers to your most pressing questions about alternative medicine - and to other questions you wouldn't have thought to ask.

To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Margie Shealy at (423) 844-1047 or by e-mail: [email protected].. To order Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook or other helpful resources, call 888-231-2637. Additional information on health and bioethical issues can be found online at http://www.cmda.org.

Article URL:
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rynner2

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#51
Alternative medicine degrees 'anti-scientific'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 3:40am GMT 22/03/2007

A leading pharmacologist today condemns science degree courses in alternative and complementary medicine as pseudo scientific or even "anti-scientific".

Prof David Colquhoun of University College London says the rapid growth in "science degrees without the science" shows a sharp contrast with the closure of physics and chemistry courses at universities.

Homoeopathy has barely changed since the beginning of the 19th century and "is much more like religion than science", the professor says in the journal Nature.

"Worse still, many of the doctrines of CAM [complementary and alternative medicines] and quite a lot of its practitioners, are openly anti-science."

Outside Britain, even in France and Germany where homoeopathy is relatively popular, the topic is taught in universities as part of a medical degree and is not classed as a science. But in the UK there has been a marked rise in BScs in CAM.

The Prince of Wales, an advocate of treatments such as homoeopathy, suggested in a speech to the World Health Organisation in Geneva that governments should support "integrated health care" combining conventional and alternative therapies.

Prof Colquhoun says degrees in complementary medicine are harmful because they lead patients to believe that they are being treated by a scientifically trained practitioner. "Most complementary and alternative medicine is not science because the vast majority of it is not based on empirical evidence."

He says that 45 BSc honours degrees in complementary pseudo-science are now awarded by 16 universities. "The worst offender is the University of Westminster, with 14 BSc CAM courses," he says.

He claims that many universities refused to give him details of what they taught and he had to resort to freedom of information legislation and other methods to get access to course materials.

"Homeopathy is the most obvious delusion because the 'medicine' contains no medicine," said Prof Colquhoun. "Yet five of the 45 BSc degrees are offered in homoeopathy.

"These come from the Universities of Westminster, Central Lancashire and Salford."

One degree level exam question on homoeopathy reads as follows: "Psorinum and Sulphur are Psoric remedies. Discuss the ways in which the symptoms of these remedies reflect their miasmatic nature." :?

"This sort of gobbledygook is being taught in some UK universities as though it were science," says Prof Colquhoun.

Other CAM courses are in nutritional therapy, aroma-therapy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, reflexology, osteopathy, therapeutic bodywork, naturopathy, Ayurveda, shiatsu and qigong.

"None of these is, by any stretch of the imagination, science, yet they form part of BSc degrees.

"They are not being taught as part of cultural history, or as odd sociological phenomena, but as science."

He says that the BSc courses are "not science at all, but are positively anti-science".

The University of Westminster said in a statement yesterday that its course was a "fully validated degree that satisfies internal and external quality assurance standards".

"A research-minded and scientific approach to the practice of homoeopathy is embedded throughout the whole course," it said

The Faculty of Homeopathy, the professional body for doctors who practise homeopathy, said: "There is growing evidence for its clinical effectiveness, though more research needs to be done.

"Universities are just the places to lead this work."
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rynner2

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#52
It doesn't bear thinking about
Anjana Ahuja: Science Notebook

I have a pet theory. It isn’t charitable, but I might as well own up: I believe that gullibility has become a national sport. Many of us are disinclined to exercise even the mildest critical faculty when confronted with dubious information sheathed in pseudo-scientific jargon.

The latest evidence is a new book, The Intention Experiment, by Lynne McTaggart. Ms McTaggart is a crusader against the evils of modern medicine, such as vaccination and surgery. Now, modern medicine isn’t perfect, but it has saved lives — including my own — and it is a triumph of science. Nonetheless, Ms McTaggart is planning to use the scientific method to push a theory of her own, namely that the power of thought can change the world.

Here’s the lowdown on the Intention Experiment: “Can our thoughts influence the world around us? This extraordinary possibility is being tested throughout 2007 in a series of mind-over-matter experiments...”

If this were true, we’d surely know it by now — as would the many university parapsychology departments that are struggling to deliver convincing proof. Still, the publisher’s press release continues: “It is a gripping scientific detective story about the mind-blowing discovery of how the power of intention can have a real effect on the world...” It seems Ms McTaggart has already decided the results of those experiments.

She is principally assisted by Gary Schwartz, a psychologist at the University of Arizona. Professor Schwartz, it transpires, already subscribes to some offbeat ideas, including a belief that some recipients of organ transplants inherit the donor’s personality, such as the healthy eater who craved fast food after receiving an organ from a KFC fan. UK Transplant, which runs the organ donor register, has rubbished the idea.

Anyway, here is the plan. On March 24, through a global coordination of brainpower, McTaggart and her followers intend to heal . . . an injured geranium: “If we can heal a plant with our thoughts, we may be able to use collective intention to heal the planet,” she writes. Participants must first buy a copy of her book to access a password to join in.

If you really want to heal the planet, become an activist. If you want to heal a geranium, get some Baby Bio.

Ms McTaggart has previously written of her doubt that HIV causes Aids. If you want a refresher on how much damage this kind of denial has wrought, especially in Africa, seek out the superb article by Michael Specter in last week’s New Yorker magazine. If that doesn’t fill your heart with sorrow, nothing will.

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#53
Practicing Tai Chi Boosts Immune System In Older Adults
28 Mar 2007

Tai chi chih, the Westernized version of the 2,000-year-old Chinese martial art characterized by slow movement and meditation, significantly boosts the immune systems of older adults against the virus that leads to the painful, blistery rash known as shingles, according to a new UCLA study.

The 25-week study, which involved a group of 112 adults ranging in age from 59 to 86, showed that practicing tai chi chih alone boosted immunity to a level comparable to having received the standard vaccine against the shingles-causing varicella zoster virus. When tai chi chih was combined with the vaccine, immunity reached a level normally seen in middle age. The report appears in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, currently online.

The results, said lead author Michael Irwin, the Norman Cousins Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, confirm a positive, virus-specific immune response to a behavioral intervention. The findings demonstrate that tai chi chih can produce a clinically relevant boost in shingles immunity and add to the benefit of the shingles vaccine in older adults.

"These are exciting findings, because the positive results of this study also have implications for other infectious diseases, like influenza and pneumonia," said Irwin, who is also director of the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. "Since older adults often show blunted protective responses to vaccines, this study suggests that tai chi is an approach that might complement and augment the efficacy of other vaccines, such as influenza."

The study divided individuals into two groups. Half took tai chi chih classes three times a week for 16 weeks, while the other half attended health education classes - including advice on stress management, diet and sleep habits - for the same amount of time and did not practice tai chi chih. After 16 weeks, both groups received a dose of the shingles vaccine Varivax. At the end of the 25-week period, the tai chi chih group achieved a level of immunity two times greater than the health education group. The tai chi chih group also showed significant improvements in physical functioning, vitality, mental health and reduction of bodily pain

The research follows the success of an earlier pilot study that showed a positive immune response from tai chi chih but did not assess its effects when combined with the vaccine.

The varicella zoster virus is the cause of chickenpox in kids. Children who get chickenpox generally recover, but the virus lives on in the body, remaining dormant. As we age, Irwin said, our weakening immune systems may allow the virus to reemerge as shingles. Approximately one-third of adults over 60 will acquire the infection at some point.

"It can be quite painful," Irwin said, "and can result in impairment to a person's quality of life that is comparable to people with congestive heart failure, type II diabetes or major depression."

Tai chi chih is a nonmartial form of tai chi and comprises a standardized series of 20 movements. It combines meditation, relaxation and components of aerobic exercise and is easy to learn.

###

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Aging and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Contact: Mark Wheeler
University of California - Los Angeles
Article URL:
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#54
Complementary And Alternative Medicines May Hinder Diabetes Management
09 Jul 2007

People with diabetes are risking their health by not discussing their use of complementary and alternative therapies with the health professionals managing their conventional treatment.

A review of the international health literature has shown nutritional supplements and herbal medicines are the most commonly used complementary and alternative therapies in diabetes.

Annie Chang, a PhD candidate in Griffith's School of Nursing, said while some products may have benefits for patients, they can also have side effects in their own right or interact with conventional medications.

"Fenugreek for example, used as a supplement, may affect blood sugar levels but patients are already on other blood sugar lowering medications as well."

While the prevalence of use varies widely between different countries (17-72%), her review suggests nearly half of people living with diabetes supplement their conventional medicines with some form of alternative therapy.

Women, over 65-year-olds, those who had been living with diabetes for longer, and people interested in self management of their condition were the most likely to use alternative therapies.

"People will tell their alternative practitioners that they are using Western medicines but the vast majority will not discuss their alternative therapies with a doctor or other healthcare professional," she said.

Ms Chang, who has also surveyed more than 300 diabetics in Taiwan, said people feared their doctor would not be interested in discussing alternative medicines or that they might 'get into trouble' for taking them.

"The evidence is that patients are using these products and may even reduce their conventional medicine doses and modify the timing of doses so they aren't taking both together."

"While it might be impossible for Western medicine to learn all about complementary and alternative therapies, healthcare professionals do need to be included in discussions about them so we can document their use and be aware of any potential problems for our patients."

###

The review was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing 2007; 58(4) 307-319.

National Diabetes Week is 8-14 July.

Source: Mardi Chapman
Research Australia
Article URL:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=76035
 

rynner2

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#55
New laws to govern alternative medicine
Nigel Hawkes, Health Editor

Aromatherapy, homoeopathy and other popular complementary therapies are to be regulated for the first time under a government-backed scheme to be established this year.

The new Natural Healthcare Council – which is being backed by the Prince of Wales – will be able to strike off errant or incompetent practitioners. It will also set minimum standards for practitioners to ensure that therapists are properly qualified.

Patients will be able to complain to the council about practitioners and the new body will be modelled on the General Medical Council and other similar statutory bodies.

Millions of Britons currently spend £130 million a year on complementary treatments and it is estimated that this will reach £200 million over the next four years. Among the practices to be covered by the scheme would be aromatherapy, reflexology, massage, nutrition, shiatzu, reiki, naturopathy, yoga, homoeopathy, cranial osteopathy and the Alexander and Bowen techniques.

Research also shows that more than two thirds (68 per cent) of people in the UK believe that complementary medicine is as valid as conventional treatment.

However, there have been long-standing concerns over its regulation. At present anyone can set themselves up as an acupuncturist, homoeopath, herbalist, or other complementary therapist. However, a poll for The Times found that three quarters of people assumed that anyone practising complementary therapy is trained and registered by a professional body.

Although the scheme will initially be voluntary, it is hoped that all practitioners will be forced to join or lose business as the public will use the register as a guarantee of quality. The council will register only practitioners who are safe, have completed a recognised course, are insured and have signed up to codes of conduct.

Both alternative and complementary approaches to medicine — when a therapy is used as an alternative to conventional medicine and when it is used in conjunction with it — will be covered by the new regulator, although treatment without consideration of mainstream medicine is likely to come under greater scrutiny.

A number of high-profile cases in which therapists have assaulted clients have reached the courts in recent years. In 2000, a man claiming to be an aromatherapist was spared a jail sentence after being convicted of indecently assaulting a woman who came to him to treatment. An osteopath from Ipswich was jailed last February for seven and a half years after a series of sexual assaults.

But as the law stands, there is nothing to prevent such people setting up in practice again. By checking that they remain registered with the new council, patients will gain reassurance.

Only mainstream alternative therapies such as traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture are to be the subject of statutory regulation. Osteopathy and chiropractic are already covered by such legislation.

The council, whose formation has been driven by the Prince of Wales’s Foundation for Integrated Health, will consist of lay people appointed through an independent process, with a clear division between it and the professional bodies representing the therapies that it will cover.

The work of setting up the council, which is likely to be finished by the spring, led by Dame Joan Higgins, has been funded by the Department of Health and it will follow the best-practice model set out by the department in its white paper on regulation, Trust, Assurance and Safety.

Ian Cambray-Smith, of the foundation, said: “Although it is a voluntary scheme, we believe that in dealing with misconduct by therapists it will be almost as robust as statutory regulation, and as tough as we can make it. Suspension from the register will be the ultimate sanction.

“It will be good for practitioners, good for patients, and even good for the NHS. If there is a complaint, the council will convene a board of lay people, plus two practitioners, to review the case. If it is proven, a second board will determine what disciplinary procedures to take.”

The NHS spends £50 million a year on complementary therapies that will be covered by the new council.

The council - eight people plus a chairman — will be financed by registration fees from practitioners and will have a permanent staff, who are in the process of being recruited.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 134337.ece
 
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#56
More at link.

ME Sufferers Rely On Alternative Medicines
08 Sep 2008

More than a third of patients with long-term fatigue conditions like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) believe complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are more effective than traditional medicine in treating their illness, research launched at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester reveals.

98% of patients believed alternative therapy should be available through the NHS.

Researchers from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen found that sufferers of chronic conditions had relief from their symptoms when they used CAMs.

The findings showed:

- About 34% of participants believed that CAMs were more effective in alleviating their symptoms (including pain and malaise, or a general feeling of low energy and of being unwell) than traditional medicines;

- 60% believed that taking CAMs kept them well;

- 73% of participants who reported using CAMs believed that it had improved their health;

- Of those who reported using chiropractics, 83% said they very satisfied with the treatment

- 46% believed that a combination of CAM and orthodox medicine was better than using traditional medicine alone.

Lead researcher, Dr Yash Kumarasamy said: "Many patients who have a long-term fatigue condition turn to alternative therapies because they feel that orthodox treatments failed to work for them, or because they experienced a lack of support from their healthcare team."

"Patients need to know how important it is to consult a healthcare professional before they take complementary or alternative medicines, or stop taking prescription medication. Pharmacists don't just dispense medicines - they are healthcare professionals with a broad range of knowledge and can help people with expert advice and support in managing their health."

About Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a chronic, inflammatory, primarily neurological disease that affects the central nervous system, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrinological system and muscoskeletal system. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including changes in sensory tolerance, visual problems, exertional muscle weakness, difficulties with co-ordination and speech, severe fatigue, cognitive impairment, problems with balance, subnormal or poor body temperature control and pain.


Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/120639.php
 
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Latest Survey Shows More Hospitals Offering Complementary And Alternative Medicine Services
17 Sep 2008

Hospitals across the nation are responding to patient demand and integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services with the conventional services they normally provide, according to the results of a new survey released today by Health Forum, a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA). The survey shows that more than 37 percent of responding hospitals indicated they offer one or more CAM therapies, up from 26.5 percent in 2005. Additionally, hospitals in the southern Atlantic states led the nation in offering CAM services to the patients they serve, followed by east north central states and those in the middle Atlantic.

CAM is not based solely on traditional western allopathic medical teachings, and can include acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, massage therapy and more. CAM services also reflect hospitals' desire to treat the whole person-body, mind and spirit.

"Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "It's one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve."

According to the survey, 84 percent of hospitals indicated patient demand as the primary rationale in offering CAM services and 67 percent of survey respondents stated clinical effectiveness as their top reason.

"Today's patients have better access to health information and are demanding more personalized care," said study author Sita Ananth. "The survey results reinforce the fact that patients want the best that both traditional and alternative medicine can offer."

Other survey results include:

- Massage therapy is in the top two services provided in both outpatient and inpatient settings;
- The majority of hospitals that offered CAM were urban hospitals (72 percent) and were medium-sized (100-299 beds); and
- Most CAM services are not reimbursable by insurance and are paid for out-of-pocket by patients.

The third biannual survey was mailed in November 2007 to 6,439 U.S. hospitals. The report is available online at http://www.healthforumonlinestore.com (click on the Data Products tab in the right upper corner) or by calling 800-242-2626.


Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/121662.php
 

PeniG

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#58
Just about every drug taken regularly will lose effectiveness due to the body becoming adjusted to it; and no anti-depressant is for everyone. It doesn't help that biological changes over time will also affect the efficacy of a drug.

My bipolar friend is (we hope) at the end of four years of medical roulette, experimenting with her doctor on drugs and drug combinations that will address her symptoms after what she had been successfully taking for about ten years stopped working for her. She's been hospitalized three times and in between was barely functional, and now suddenly she's herself again, long may it last. The moral being - don't give up. And don't let your loved ones give up, on those days when they are physically incapable of hoping.
 
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Some more interesting stuff at the links.

New Data Provide Comprehensive Understanding Of Americans' Use Of Complementary And Alternative Medicine (CAM)
01 Dec 2008

What

The release of a nationwide government survey on trends and demographic use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among both adults and children in the United States. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a telephone briefing to discuss the findings of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Why

The 2007 NHIS provides data on who is using CAM, what they are using, and why people are turning to CAM, among other related topics. It marks the first time questions were included on children's use of CAM, as well as the first available trending data on CAM use in adults compared to the 2002 NHIS data on CAM use.

When

December 10, 2008 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST

Where

Telebriefing and online presentation. By responding to this invitation media will receive information to dial-in to the telebriefing and to obtain access to an online presentation.

More Information

To RSVP and receive dial-in information and online presentation access please contact Lauren Musiol at 202-745-5051 or [email protected].

Who Should Attend

Credentialed media only, please.

Hosts

Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., Director, NCCAM and Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H., Acting Director, Division of Extramural Research, NCCAM and Patricia M. Barnes, M.A., Statistician, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's mission is to explore complementary and alternative medical practices in the context of rigorous science, train CAM researchers, and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at http://www.nccam.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The Nation's Medical Research Agency - includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

References

Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 10, 2008. Barnes P, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. CDC Advance Data Report #343. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. May 27, 2004. http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats.htm.

National Institutes of Health
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Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/131352.php
 
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According To A New Government Survey, 38 Percent Of Adults And 12 Percent Of Children Use Complementary And Alternative Medicine
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/132568.php
11 Dec 2008

Approximately 38 percent of adults in the United States aged 18 years and over and nearly 12 percent of U.S. children aged 17 years and under use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a new nationwide government survey (1). This survey marks the first time questions were included on children's use of CAM, which is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic, and acupuncture that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine.

The survey, conducted as part of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual study in which tens of thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences, was developed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey included questions on 36 types of CAM therapies commonly used in the United States --- 10 types of provider-based therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and 26 other therapies that do not require a provider, such as herbal supplements and meditation.

"The 2007 NHIS provides the most current, comprehensive, and reliable source of information on Americans' use of CAM," said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of NCCAM. "These statistics confirm that CAM practices are a frequently used component of Americans' health care regimens, and reinforce the need for rigorous research to study the safety and effectiveness of these therapies. The data also point out the need for patients and health care providers to openly discuss CAM use to ensure safe and coordinated care."

The 2007 survey results, released in a National Health Statistics Report by NCHS, are based on data from more than 23,300 interviews with American adults and more than 9,400 interviews with adults on behalf of a child in their household. The 2007 survey is the second conducted by NCCAM and NCHS --- the first was done as part of the 2002 NHIS (2).

CAM Use Among Adults

Comparison of the data from the 2002 and 2007 surveys suggests that overall use of CAM among adults has remained relatively steady --- 36 percent in 2002 and 38 percent in 2007. However, there has been substantial variation in the use of some specific CAM therapies, such asdeep breathing, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga, which all showed significant increases.

The most commonly used CAM therapies among U.S. adults were

-- Nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products (17.7 percent)

Most common: fish oil/omega 3/DHA, glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil or pills, and ginseng (3)

-- Deep breathing exercises (12.7 percent)

-- Meditation (9.4 percent)

-- Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (8.6 percent)

-- Massage (8.3 percent)

-- Yoga (6.1 percent)

Adults used CAM most often to treat pain including back pain or problems, neck pain or problems, joint pain or stiffness/other joint condition, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Adult use of CAM therapies for head or chest colds showed a marked decrease from 2002 to 2007 (9.5 percent in 2002 to 2.0 percent in 2007).

Consistent with results from the 2002 data, in 2007 CAM use among adults was greater among:

-- Women (42.8 percent, compared to men 33.5 percent)

-- Those aged 30-69 (30-39 years: 39.6 percent, 40-49 years: 40.1 percent, 50-59 years: 44.1 percent, 60-69 years: 41.0 percent)

-- Those with higher levels of education (Masters, doctorate or professional: 55.4 percent)

-- Those who were not poor (poor: 28.9 percent, near poor: 30.9 percent, not poor: 43.3 percent)

-- Those living in the West (44.6 percent)

-- Those who have quit smoking (48.1 percent)

CAM Use Among Children

Overall, CAM use among children is nearly 12 percent, or about 1 in 9 children. Children are five times more likely to use CAM if a parent or other relative uses CAM. Other characteristics of adult and child CAM users are similar --- factors such as socioeconomic status, geographic region, the number of health conditions, the number of doctor visits in the last 12 months, and delaying or not receiving conventional care because of cost are all associated with CAM use.

Among children who used CAM in the past 12 months, CAM therapies were used most often for back or neck pain, head or chest colds, anxiety or stress, other musculoskeletal problems, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD).

The most commonly used CAM therapies among children were

-- Nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products (3.9 percent)

Most common: echinacea, fish oil/omega 3/DHA, combination herb pill, flaxseed oil or pills, and prebiotics or probiotics

-- Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (2.8 percent)

-- Deep breathing exercises (2.2 percent)

-- Yoga (2.1 percent)

"The survey results provide information on trends and a rich set of data for investigating who in America is using CAM, the practices they use, and why," said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., MPH, acting director of NCCAM's Division of Extramural Research and co-author of the National Health Statistics Report. "Future analyses of these data may help explain some of the observed variation in the use of individual CAM therapies and provide greater insights into CAM use patterns among Americans."

Inclusion and development of the 2007 supplement was supported, in part, by seven National Institutes of Health components: NCCAM; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; National Institute of Mental Health; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Office of Dietary Supplements; and Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.

(1) Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 10, 2008.

(2) Barnes P, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. CDC Advance Data Report #343. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. May 27, 2004.

(3) While the reference period for overall use of nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products was for the past 12 months, the reference period for the use of specific nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products was reduced from 12 months in 2002, to 30 days in 2007 in order to be more congruent with other national surveys of dietary supplement use, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's mission is to explore complementary and alternative medical practices in the context of rigorous science, train CAM researchers, and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals.

The NCHS is a component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NCHS's mission is to provide statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people. The CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations. The complete data set can be found under "What's New" at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
http://www.nih.gov.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
http://www.cdc.gov
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