Home > Current Events > Year 2006 March
A review of stories making the headlines.
Acupuncture is as effective as standard drug treatments for migraine
Medical News Today www.medicalnewstoday.com.  March 3, 2006

In an article in The Lancet Neurology, Hans-Christoph Diener (University Duisburg-Essen, Germany) and colleagues present the results of the German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) migraine study. In this prospective, randomized, multi-centre, controlled clinical trial they showed that the number of days on which a patient suffered from migraine was significantly reduced after treatment with either acupuncture or standard therapy. However, the improvement was the same whether the patient was treated with a sham acupuncture technique, which was done on areas of the skin in which no traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture points are known. "Ultimately, one could argue that the efficacy of a treatment, especially a treatment with almost no adverse events or contraindications, is more important than the knowledge of the mechanism of action of this particular therapy."

A sip of "supertea" is just the remedy
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)  March 5, 2006

Chinese University of Hong Kong biochemist Chen Zhenyu is developing an all-in-one "super teabag" to lower cholesterol and combat heart disease. He said it would contain foods known to lower cholesterol such as hawthorn root, mushrooms, ginseng, barley and seaweed. "People don't like taking traditional Chinese medicine so I am focusing on using real foods to do the job," Chen said. "There are four ways to lower cholesterol. By combining a number of ingredients that work on different controlling points I will create something effective and efficient." The four ways Dr Chen mentions are: reducing cholesterol synthesis in the body; stopping low-density lipoprotein from leaking cholesterol to other parts of the body; stopping cholesterol from entering the bloodstream following digestion; and stopping the re-absorption of bile acids.

Job market set up for talents of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
People's Daily Online, english.peopledaily.com.cn.  March 8, 2006

The World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) has established a service center for those wanting to work in TCM. This center is the first of its kind in China to provide job opportunities for professionals in TCM. The federation was set up in September 2003 with its headquarters in Beijing, and currently has 147 group members from 48 nations and regions. The WFCMS is responsible for studying and spreading international rules for industries related to TCM, organizing examinations for certified TCM practitioners, holding professional training courses, and providing information and job opportunities.

Ginseng may improve quality of life for breast cancer sufferers
News-Medical.Net www.news-medical.net.  March 19, 2006

Ginseng, a common herb in TCM, may improve survival and quality of life after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a recent study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Centers. The large epidemiological study, led by Xiao-Ou Shu, was published online recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology. White and red varieties of ginseng contain more than 30 chemicals, called ginsenosides, which have anti-tumor effects in cell culture and animal studies. Shu and his colleagues assessed the effects of ginseng use in breast cancer survivors as part the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study, which has followed 1,455 breast cancer patients in Shanghai since 1996.

Breast cancer patients were asked about ginseng use both before and after their diagnosis of breast cancer. All patients who used ginseng had received at least one type of conventional cancer therapy. Information on ginseng use prior to cancer diagnosis was used to determine whether prior ginseng use predicted survival. At follow up (3-4 years after diagnosis), the researchers asked about ginseng use since diagnosis. That information was used to look at quality of life measurements - i.e., physical, psychological, social and material well-being. The findings suggest that ginseng may provide tangible benefits to breast cancer survivors, but there are limitations to the study. The varieties and the methods of ginseng use and the use of other complementary and alternative therapies could not be fully accounted for in the analysis. Also, the quality of life measures exclusively relied on patient self-reporting.

Registered vets commonly use supplementary treatments
Hong Kong Economic Times (Hong Kong)  March 10, 2006

Registered vet, Dr. Lai Chongshan that it is quite common for vets to use acupuncture, moxibustion and Chinese medicine to treat animals; however, when many pet owners when they consider it necessary, "if they suspect that their pet has cancer, I recommend an X-ray first and then an operation, but I would also want the pet owner to use an appropriate Chinese medicine like Cloud Mushroom (Lingzhi) and Reshi Mushroon (Yunzhi). Dr. Lai holds that when vets use TCM, they should first pay attention to whether or not Chinese and Western medicine interact with each other, for example, if steroids are affected if used in conjunction with Chinese medicine when treating rheumatism in their animals.

Lei Hui Man has a degree in physiology from the University of NSW, Australia, and will obtain a TCM licence next year after completing a programme in Chinese medicine. However, according to the Veterinary Surgeons Registration Ordinance, only certified veterinarians can carry out veterinary surgery or provide veterinarian services in Hong Kong. A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department says that they are unable to verify whether TCM veterinary clinics are lawful or not, but if residents discover someone is illegally performing surgery on animals or providing unlawful veterinary services they should report them to police.

New mobile TCM vans added
Mingpao (Hong Kong)  March 13, 2006

The ageing of the population means a higher demand for health services. In June 2003, Yan Oi Tong, a community service charity, created the first mobile TCM Van staffed with certified TCM practitioners. These practitioners provided free consultations and dispensed over 400 types of prepared Chinese medicine (mainly ready to drink medicines). A $30 charge per visit was levied to provide this instant prescription service. In a two-year period, over 100,000 clients were seen.

Yan Oi Tong's chairman, Mr. Wilson WS PONG yesterday was present at the ceremony launching an extra three mobile vans to strengthen their services on Hong Kong Island. Currently there are nine such vans servicing the city, travelling to over 40 locations in the New Territories. Information for service times and locations can be found on their website (www.yanoitong.org.hk).

City to promote herbal medicine projects in communities
Shanghai Daily news March 17, 2006

Shanghai plans to promote several traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) projects in local community health service centers each year to benefit residents. By 2010, local communities are expected to have ten health projects employing TCM techniques and 80 percent of community health service centers will be able to offer convenient TCM services. To further this plan, a research institute for TCM community health services was recently set up for the Baoshan Community in Zhabei District.

University of Malaya Signs MoUs with Top Chinese Universities
Malaysian National News Agency, www.bernama.com.my.  March 21, 2006

After being heavily criticized for its dismal performance in the latest World University Ranking, Universiti Malaya (UM) has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two top Chinese universities. UM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Hashim Yaacob announced Tuesday that the nation's premier university had signed a MoU with Peking and Fudan Universities in the fields of medicine, science, economics and culture.

The MoU with Fudan University, Shanghai, was signed on March 17 while the MoU with Peking University, Beijing on March 18. Prof Dr Hashim represented the UM at both signing ceremonies. The MoUs would enable the UM to have a joint collaboration with the two Chinese universities in the areas of traditional medicine, integrated medicine and bio-technology. Prof Hashim said details of the joint collaboration would have to be worked out, but basically it would involve student and staff exchange, research and development and joint workshop in the areas of traditional medicine, integrated medicine and bio-technology.

1st alternative medicines meet in Baguio set
The Sun Star (The Philippines) www.sunstar.com.ph.  March 22, 2006

"The First Baguio Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners convention" will be held later this month. The activity aims to foster greater awareness to the general population as well as to those in the medical and allied medical professions regarding complementary and alternative medicines that have been in existence for thousands of years, yet remained unrecognized or unheard of.

Topics discussed at the convention will include: "The Truth About Coconut Oil: The Drugstore in a Bottle"; "Scientifically Proven Medicinal Plants Endorsed by the Department of Health (DOH)"; "Traditional Chinese Medicine"; "The Natural Therapy for Hypertension"; "Homeopathic Medicine"; "Liver Cirrhosis and Silymarin", and "Brahma Kumaris: Raja Yoga Meditation". Parallel to the lectures and discussions scheduled on March 24 and 25, there would also be a four-day trade fair on various complementary and alternative medical products and services.

Compiled By: Jennifer Eagleton, BA, MA (Asian Studies), Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.