Home > Current Events > Year 2005 December
A review of stories making the headlines.
Novel TCM-platinum anti-cancer agents show high potency and low toxicity
Biotech Week November 9, 2005

In a recent study published in the journal, Anti-Cancer Drugs, 16(8): 825-835, "In Vitro and In Vivo Suppression of growth of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells by Novel Traditional Chinese Medicine-platinum Anticancer Agents", Researcher K.K. To and his colleagues from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have shown that complexes containing demethylcantharidin, a modified component of certain traditional Chinese medicines have a significant effect against liver disease, with their minimal toxicity suggesting that they have significant potential to be developed into useful anti-cancer drugs.

Diet and living habits crucial to guard against disease
China Daily November 9, 2005

TCM doctors believe that internal body heat is the major cause of influenza. To reduce this heat, people should exchange heat-producing foods such as mutton, beef and chicken for vegetables such as spinach/white radish and fruits such a pears. These can be supplemented by porridge or soup made of mung beans or red beans.

Some people seem to believe that cooking dishes spiced with bajiao (star anise), the major component of Tamiflu (an anti-bird flu drug) will help prevent bird flu, but TCM practitioners say that it has a warm property and so cannot relieve internal heat. TCM doctors caution that excessive fear of a possible pandemic may actually expose people to a higher risk of influenza of the "heat" type. As fear obstructs qi, more heat will be generated, thus they stress the importance of remaining calm.

Workers at risk of chronic fatigue syndrome
South China Morning Post December 9, 2005

A recent study by Hong Kong University's School of Chinese Medicine of 1,013 healthy people aged between 20 to 50 carried out between March and June 2004 showed that 79 percent had symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Researchers said that the current treatment of CFS in Western medicine was only "symptomatic", not a permanent cure. But the research team believes acupuncture can help relieve CFS and it is about to launch a clinical study to test the effectiveness of this treatment on 100 patients.

China Steps Up Efforts to Study Traditional Medicine for Bird Flu Prevention
BBC Monitoring November 17, 2005

In a report from Xinhua (New China News Agency), China is stepping up efforts to study the efficiency of TCM to control those infected with bird flu after two cases were confirmed in the country. The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) has set up a working group to supervise and coordinate the study with high-risk groups like chicken raisers and residents around the site of flu outbreaks. SATCM will also organize seminars to devise and revise technical plans for preventing and controlling human bird flu outbreaks with TCM.

Doctors Slam Plan for Chinese Medicine
Sydney Doctor November 25, 2005

Doctors have slammed a NSW parliamentary investigation that has called for practitioners of TCM to be registered, saying that this would lend undue legitimacy to the therapy without protecting patients from harm. The proposals would require all practitioners to complete a recognised Bachelor degree in TCM, but allowing listed practitioners with five years' practice to complete an approved bridging course or pass an exam. The move has raised concerns about the lack of appropriate training in Western medicine for TCM practitioners in Australia. Dr. Kit Sun Lau, a practising general practitioner (GP) and past-president of the NSW branch of the Australian Acupuncture College, said "in a proper system of health care it is important that all health practitioners have a basic understanding of Western medicine for the safety of the patient. What are the conditions for their registration? We are essentially giving them a blank cheque. What if they turn the tables and tell use what we can practise íV if they want to assume the authority?" However, Dr. Peter Wong, a member of the NSW legislative council and a practising GP, said registration would ensure consumer protection and a system where complaints could be investigated. Victoria is the only state in Australia that registers TCM practitioners.

TCM widely used for space motion sickness in China's space flight missions
http://news.xinhuanet.com December 3, 2005

Astronauts often develop space motion sickness during their missions. Director of the China Astronaut Research and Training Center (CARTC) Chen Shanguang says TCM proved to be effective in preventing this in the Shenzhou-6 astronauts, by taking certain traditional medicines that served to "enhance their ability to maintain balance and improve their immune system" before lift-off. Chinese medicinal herbs, Chinese massage therapy and acupuncture have been used to improve the astronauts' physical condition prior to the mission.

Hong Kong University accepts liberal arts students for it Chinese medicine programme
Singtao Daily December 5, 2005

Hong Kong University's School of Chinese Medicine has seen its first students graduate with promising career prospects. Other Hong Kong tertiary institutions offering traditional Chinese medicine programmes are The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University. While these latter two institutions stress that applicants have a science background, The School at Hong Kong Univeristy (HKU) also admits liberal arts students, saying they are good at grasping the concepts of TCM, since TCM is intimately bound up with Chinese culture. However they do need some extra tuition in biology and chemistry as they haven't studied it in senior secondary school. HKU has a school of Western medicine, so TCM students also study Western medical theory at the same time as learning about TCM, so removing the "wall" that exists between the two types of medicine. The School stresses that what it seeks from applicants is a strong interest in TCM, a willingness to practise lifelong learning, good academic results and good Chinese language skills.

McGuinty government regulating traditional Chinese medicine legislation gives Ontarians confidence in alternative healthcare
Press Release Ontario Provincial Government, Canada December 7, 2005

The passing of proposed legislation regulating TCM will make traditional Chinese medicine the first new health profession in Ontario to be regulated since 1991. Highlights of the proposed legislation include:

  • The creation of a self-governing regulatory college. This college would have the authority to set standards of practice and entry to practice requirements for the profession;
  • A defined scope of practice and restricted titles that only members of the profession may use, including the use of the "doctor" title by certain members of the profession;
  • Restricting the performance of acupuncture to members of regulated health professions and to persons who perform acupuncture as part of an addiction treatment program within a health facility.
China leading traditional medicine exporter
www.asiapulse.com December 8, 2005

Ren Dequan, former deputy director of the State Food and Drug Administration stated in the China Youth Daily that China still ranked first in the export of traditional Chinese medicine of around US$700 million per year. In recent years, the TCM industry in China has developed rapidly, with an annual increase of around 17 to 18 percent and a total output of 80 billion yuan in 2004.

Everything's sweet at first Chinese medicine clinic for pets
South China Morning Post 11 December 2005.

Health consultant Hermie Lee recently opened a 3,000 square Chinese medicine clinic for pets in Wan Chai, Hong Kong on December 10. Consultations at this clinic cost HK$180 and are available seven days a week by appointment. With six staff at present, the practice will add a western-medicine trained veterinarian by the end of December. Ms. Lee, who is studying Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong University, already runs two Chinese-medicine clinics for humans.

RMIT wins recognition for Chinese medicine
South China Morning Post 17 December 2005

RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, has been designated as a World Health Organisation collaborating centre for traditional Chinese medicine. It is only the second such centre in an English-speaking country after Yale University in the United States. The new centre has just held an international symposium to discuss issues relating to public safety and confidence in Chinese medicine such as quality assurance, safety, and education of healthcare practitioners. Mainland China's Vice-Minister for Health, She Jing, who is also the director-general for the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, attended the symposium.