Home > Current Events > Year 2006 August
A review of stories making the headlines
Shaolin Temple Cooperates with College to Foster Foreign Disciples
People's Daily Online http://english.people.com.cn, 1 August 2006

Shaolin Temple in Henan Province has recently signed a contract with Henan College of TCM to commence a joint education program. Overseas followers of Shaolin Temple can get admission to Henan College of TCM to study Chinese medicine, Shaolin pharmacological science and Shaolin Kung Fu. The cooperative education is set to be a 5-year undergraduate higher learning program. Shi Yongxin, the abbot of Shaolin Temple, said that the cooperation would also cover some exchanges and sharing of pharmacy resources, including certain secret recipes of the "Shaolin Pharmacy Office". At the moment this program is temporally open to foreigners alone.

Exotic Mushroom New Weapon in Cancer Fight
Life Style Extra (United Kingdom) http://www.lse.co.uk, 1 August 2006

Extracts of the rare mushroom, phellinus linteus, known as song gen in China, has been found by scientists based at the Boston University School of Medicine boosts the effects of a particular anti-cancer drug. They tested the extract's effects on prostate cancer cells and found that when it was combined with the common chemotherapy treatment doxorubicin it increased the number of prostate cancer cells killed by the drug. The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, raise the possibility a constituent of these mushrooms could one day be used in combination with existing chemotherapy to boost the effectiveness of treatment for some cancer patients. This fungus's medicinal properties in treating illnesses have been well known in oriental medicine since ancient times.

Development of a Standardized, Oriental Medical Diagnosis Form
Akupunktur Aktuell (Germany) http://www.akupunktur-aktuell.de/fb0126_1.htm, 4 August 2006

Terry Oleson, of Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, Los Angeles, California has carried out a study leading to the development of a standardized TCM diagnosis form. There have been few previous investigations about whether such a form could be devised. Consultations with several experienced, acupuncture practitioners led to the development of an initial, structured, assessment form to conduct systematic evaluation of such qualities as pulse, tongue, and facial diagnosis. A pilot study of 16 patients examined with this questionnaire was used to develop a revised Oriental Medical Diagnosis Form.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Helpful to Bird Flu Patient: Expert
People's Daily (China) http://english.people.com.cn, 13 August 2006

Traditional Chinese medicines have contributed greatly to the recovery of China's latest bird flu patient, said a Chinese medical expert on Saturday. The patient, surnamed Jiang, 31, was discharged on 2 August from the Donghu Hospital after being treated there for about 50 days, in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. During the early period of Jiang's treatment, doctors used a kind of soup made with ginseng, a medicinal herb, to clear toxic heat in his body, said Zhou Boping, head of the hospital. Hirudo, a TCM, was also used to activate blood circulation against stasis in the second phase, said Zhou. Other Chinese medicines such as Cordyceps Sinesis, a Chinese caterpillar fungus, were also used to promote lung function, according to Zhou. The use of traditional Chinese medicines worked well along with the other forms of treatment.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Cause Psychosis
All Headline News, http://www.allheadlinenews.com, 14 August 2006

Researchers Karl Jacobs and Kenneth Hirsch report that ma huang, a TCM, can cause psychoses and mood disorders in healthy patients. In two cases, healthy, enlisted Marines, who had a family history of depression, became violent after using supplements with ma huang and its active ingredient, ephedrine. When they stopped using the medicine, their mood became normal again. Supplement users should refrain from using ma huang if there is a family history of depression or if the patient has high blood pressure because ma huang causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. The Chinese have used ma huang for centuries as a stimulant and a treatment for asthma. Between 1993 and 1997 the Food & Drug Administration in the U.S., reported 34 deaths and 800 medical and psychiatric complications associated with the substance.

Call to Speed Up Studies of Chinese Medicine
Science and Development Network www.sci.dev.net, 23 August 2006

Modern research on TCM should skip studies of the molecules involved and proceed directly to clinical trials on human subjects argues senior medical researcher Tang Jinling, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He says many TCM have already been proven safe because they have been used for generations. He outlined his reasoning in an article published 18 August in the British Medical Journal. Research in this field tends to follow the Western model, which first identifies the active chemicals in herbal remedies, and then tests their safety and efficiency in cells and animals before undertaking clinical trials. Tang says research should start with the Western model's phase-II clinical trial, in which scientists assess the efficiency, rather than just the safety, of a drug in patients randomly selected to receive it. He says that testing traditional medicines in people before identifying the remedies' chemical constituents or giving them to animals should present no ethical concerns.

Shortage of Medicinal Herbs due to High Demand
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 26 August 2006

Chinese news agency Xinhua recently announced that China is facing a shortage of herbs used in TCM due to soaring demand and lack of seeds. Annual demand for medicinal herbs had reached 600,000 tonnes, four times that of a decade ago, however less than 200,000 hectares of herbs were farmed in 2004, some 70,000 hectares less than in 2003, "because of the lack of supply of wild seeds". To meet demand at least 340,000 hectares of land are needed.

Chinese Medicine Helps Diabetes
Virtually Comprehensive Healthcare news (United Kingdom), 30 August 2006

Research shows that berberine, a TCM may help people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Found in the roots and bark of some plants, Berberine has been documented in Chinese literature as being able to lower glucose levels in diabetics. Studies on rats have now shown this. Scientist in the journal Diabetes, reported on the effect of berberine on mice and rats. They found that a dose of the compound, given orally, caused blood sugar levels to go down, led to fewer fats circulating in the bloodstream, made insulin work better and lowered the animals' body weights. The team believes the plant product is "turning on" an enzyme found in body tissue, improving the body's sensitivity to insulin. Professor David James, head of the diabetes and obesity research programme at the Garvan Institute, Sydney, Australia, cautioned that more clinical studies were needed on humans before berberine should be recommended for diabetics, particularly to investigate how the compound interacts with other drugs.

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