Home > Current Events > Year 2006 July
A review of stories making the headlines
War Over Chinese Medicine Sick Note
The Australian (Australia) 7 July 2006

A sick note written by a TCM practitioner has triggered an official complaint by doctors' lobby group, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) which plans to use it as a "test case" to challenge one element of the Howard Government's Work Choices laws. The laws, passed in March, extended the right to issue sickness certificates to any registered health worker, regardless of whether they had medical qualifications. That means pharmacists, chiropractors and others can all issue sick notes. The AMA claims non-doctor health workers lack the training to diagnose all but the most trivial illnesses. Now the doctors' group has highlighted a note by a TCM practitioner in Melbourne in what it calls a "test case to try to stop the trivialisation of sick leave in the workplace". The AMA claims the note breaches state law. Headed "medical certificate", the note said the patient "is receiving medical treatment" and "she will be unfit to continue her usual occupation" on the day it was written.

Longevity Man
The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) 8 July 2006

A "Longevity Man" made with 2,374 pieces of sun-dried ginseng was a feature of a display of traditional Chinese medicines at an exhibition in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. The world's tallest wild Herba Cistanches was also on display. The exhibits were provided by the Baptist University of Hong Kong, which co-organised the event. The exhibition also featured free medical consultations and Chinese medicine seminars, was run as part of the Hong Kong Shopping Festival organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Acupuncture May Reduce Vomiting Directly After Chemotherapy
News Target (www.NewsTarget.com) 17 July 2006

Acupuncture can reduce the likelihood of vomiting 24 hours after chemotherapy, according to a new review of recent studiesˇXin which participants also took anti-vomiting medication. Electroacupuncture, in which a small electrical current is passed through the inserted needle, was the only technique that reduced the incidence of vomiting directly after chemotherapy, Dr. Jeanette Ezzo of James P. Swyers Enterprises and colleagues found. However, the electroacupuncture studies were also the only studies that did not use state-of-the-art anti-vomiting drugs such as Zofran and Anzemet. The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Ezzo and her colleagues also evaluated acupressure, in which acupuncture points are stimulated by gentle pressure from the fingers or a studded wristband, as well as mild electrical stimulation at the acupuncture points from electrodes placed on the skin. Acupressure was the only technique among all acupuncture treatments reviewed to reduce the likelihood of nausea the day after chemotherapy, although it did not affect vomiting.

Gardenia Fruit Compound Starting Point for Diabetes Therapy
News Target (www.NewsTarget.com) 18 July 2006

A Gardenia fruit extract traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat symptoms of type 2 diabetes does contain a chemical that reverses some of the pancreatic dysfunctions that underlie the disease, researchers report in the June 7, 2006 issue of the journal, Cell Metabolism. The chemical therefore represents a useful starting point for new diabetes therapies, they said. The group says that this drug is a big advance, as no currently available therapy for diabetes actually targets the underlying causes of disease in insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. Insulin controls blood levels of glucose, the body's main energy source. In those with diabetes, insulin deficiency or insulin resistance causes blood sugar concentrations to rise.

A Herbal Apprentice
The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) 19 July 2006

Studying Chinese medicine is hard work, said a fresh graduate who recorded his experience in a new book, The Memoir of a Herbal Apprentice. Vincent Lee Yu-ming, just finished a five-year Chinese medicine course at Hong Kong Baptist University. Published by Breakthrough, the book has proved popular among young readers and has been nominated for the 18th "Top 10 Books for Secondary School Students" election. Lee hopes the book can give students an idea of what studying Chinese medicine is like. "I never went to a Chinese medical doctor when I was young. I only thought about studying western medicine," he said.

Can TCM Deliver on Fighting Addiction?
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition) 26 July 2006

TCM is playing an increasingly significant role in the fight against drug addiction. However, despite the success TCM has shown in fighting addiction, scientists say much more research and clinical trials are needed to further understand the pharmacology involved. China's drug authorities approved the use of TCM to fight addiction just 10 years ago.

None of the around 10 anti-addiction TCMs approved by China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) contain narcotics, which means they are not subject to control and can be bought easily in pharmacies. Based on the traditional TCM theories, these medicines work to eliminate or reduce the symptoms, such as pain, nausea, insomnia and vomiting, of addicts when they stop taking drugs.

New Chinese Medicine Treatment for Lung Cancer Enters the Market
Xinhua(China), news.xinhuanet.com 31 July 2006

A new Chinese medicine for treating lung cancer officially entered the market on Sunday. After clinical trials on hundreds of patients, the new drug, approved by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), had proved to be more effective than chemotherapy in controlling the tumour, strengthening the immune system, prolonging life and improving life quality, said Pu Bingkui, chief researcher of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. If the herbal drug was applied in conjunction with chemotherapy, it could reduce the toxicity of the chemical agents to the alimentary tract, blood, liver and kidneys, Pu said. The medicine comes in a form of dry granules, which the researchers say can best preserve the biological quality of the natural Chinese medicine.

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