Home > Current Events > Year 2007 August
A review of stories making the headlines.

"Doctor" is caught on secret film
The Daily Telegraph(Sydney), 1 August 2007

David Lin was qualified to practise TCM, but he was not registered as a Western medical doctor in NSW. He wrote prescriptions for abortion drugs and bogus medical certificates for foreign students. Lin now faces a possible 12-month jail term after pleading guilty to 31 breaches of the Medical Practice Act. A hidden camera caught Lin providing a banned abortion drug to an undercover investigator posing as a pregnant schoolgirl "Carla". Prosecutor Gerard Craddock said Lin charged "Carla" $250 for the abortion drug and $30 for a medical certificate giving her four days off school with stomach ache. Lin told the judge he had qualified as a doctor in China and arrived in Australia in 1988; he said he was unfamiliar with Australian regulations.

Chinese herbs can help control eczema: HK study
Reuters (uk.reuters.com), 2 August 2007

An article published in the August issue of the British Journal of Dermatology, described how doctors at The Chinese University of Hong Kong researched the efficacy of the five Chinese herbs which have long been used to treat eczema. While there is no definitive cure for eczema in Western medicine, TCM has long proposed that eczema can be countered by clearing heat and removing dampness in the body and strengthening the spleen. Between February 2004 and July 2005, the researchers recruited 85 children suffering from eczema; 42 of them were given capsules containing extracts of the five herbs twice daily for 12 weeks, while the remaining 43 children were given placebos. By the end of the treatment period, the children with eczema who were given the herbs improved and their use of corticosteroid creams and ointments was reduced by one-third.

Herbs may perk up new pandas
Shanghai Daily/em , 7 August 2007

Shanghai Zoo is using TCM to raise the sperm count of two new male pandas that arrived last week from Sichuan Province. The zoo is consulting experts about using herbs to improve the pandas' sperm quality and so prolong their reproductive cycle. "Male pandas are the hope for the reproduction of the rare species," Xiong Chengpei, director of the zoo, commented. The two pandas, Zhuang Zhuang and Peng Peng come from Wolong Panda Research Center to celebrate this year's Special Olympic Summer Games and the 2010 World Expo, both of which are being held in Shanghai.

Dwindling supply buoys herb prices
Xinhua, 8 August 2007

The prices of 262 frequently used herbs rose in the first six months of this year, according to China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy. This was due to the rapid increase in agricultural product prices in 2006, causing many herb farmers to grow agricultural products instead. For example, the price of angelica, a blood tonic, went up from 10 yuan to 60 yuan per kilogram, and one rare herb, saffron crocus, a remedy for gynecological ailments, rose from 5,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a kilogram. This also means increased prices for prepared Chinese medicines.

Mixed Massages
The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 10 August 2007

TCM is becoming increasingly popular in spas run by luxury hotels in Hong Kong. This has led to a debate about whether this will trivialise the discipline, which is trying to be taken as seriously as Western medicine. Doctor-led consultations and treatments such as acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping are offered at spas such as Chuan Spa at the Langham Place Hotel and the spa at the Mandarin Oriental. Because TCM takes years to perfect, some are worried that standards will not be maintained. Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings executive director Vivien Chou, who has managed TCM clinics in Hong Kong and elsewhere, questions whether a spa is an appropriate place for a TCM consultation. If offered, the practitioner should be clinically trained and licensed, she says. "If a person is interested in seeking a proper health diagnosis, then a session at a clinic where the staff are licensed practitioners is recommended," Chou says. "This is different from a person who's looking for general TCM health and relaxation therapy."

Wards for Chinese medicine urged
The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 13 August 2007

Che Chun-tao, director of The Chinese University's School of Chinese Medicine urges that wards run by practitioners of TCM should be set up in public hospitals and that there should be more training positions for new TCM graduates in these hospitals. The authority has launched pilot schemes in public hospitals in recent years, allowing doctors to invite TCM practitioners to work alongside them and provide treatment to in-patients at the request of patients. However, the hospitals' Western-trained doctors, do not have to agree with this request. "The western medicine doctors are the ones in charge," Professor Che said. Various barriers still hinder TCM development in Hong Kong. For example, TCM practitioners cannot draw blood from patients, making it difficult to test the effectiveness of their medicine.

Traditional Chinese exercises may increase efficacy of flu vaccine
Science Daily, 14 August 2007

In a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, a team of kinesiologists at the University of Illinois suggests that older adults who adopt an exercise regimen combining taiji and qigong may get an extra boost from their annual flu shot. It was found that 20 weeks of taiji can increase the antibody response to influenza vaccine in older adults," stated one of the study's participants, Yang Yang, an adjunct professor of kinesiology and community health, and a taiji master with 30-plus years of experience as a practitioner and instructor.

Fake cert in TCM case: Court to hear "new evidence"
The Straits Times (Singapore), 15 August 2007

Zhong Zhili, who was convicted in April in Singapore of registering himself as a TCM practitioner with a false certificate, now says that he has new evidence that could show the authenticity of his papers. Zhong's lawyer, Lawrence Tan told the High Court that Zhong received his graduation certificate from the Guangzhou Eastern Industry Company, where he practised before coming to Singapore. Mr Tan added that if they could show that Zhong had no idea his certificate was a fake, so it was possible he had no criminal intention. Zhong was also found guilty of lying to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board in Singapore to obtain his licence to practise. He has been on bail pending this appeal.

Talk about starting early - education begins in the womb
China Daily , 22 August 2007

Young Chinese parents are trying to give their children a headstart to their education by starting lessons while they are still in the womb. Pregnant women are talking to their unborn babies, and even playing classical music, to their abdomens in an effort to help their child get an early dose of education. The TCM practice of taijiao has re-emerged as a fashion for new urban mothers. Taijiao, or foetal education, is designed to boost the mood of mothers-to-be in a bid to ensure a smooth pregnancy and a healthy, intelligent child. However the new practice has taken on new aspects. Old foetal education advocated eating well, keeping an emotional balance, maximizing exposure to "high culture" such as art, and maintaining a peaceful environment. Now new advocates The new regime requires expectant mothers to go even further by doing such things as verbally describing flowers and trees to the unborn child to promote early language development.

Qigong practitioners demonstrate in Beijing
China.org.cn, 26 August 2007

The Chinese Health Qigong Association at the Gymnasium of Basketball Center recently hosted the 2nd International Health Qigong Demonstration and Exchange, with 166 participators making up 35 teams from 14 countries. Ji Yunxi, the chairman of the Chinese Health Qigong Association, said at the opening that "health qigong"came from China but now belongs to all people. It has "positive effects on people's physical and psychological health" he said. China's General Administration of Sport has officially recognized health-maintenance qigong since 2002. Experts have designed four new styles of qigong, based on the ancient Chinese health-maintenance qigong styles. The styles are called: Baduanjin, Wuqinxi, Liuzijue and Yijinjing.

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