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

TCM clinical efficacy appraisal system gets go-ahead
Interfax-China (www.interfax.cn), 6 November 2007

A China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS)-backed appraisal system for doctors using traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of three major diseases has been approved by a panel of experts, according to an announcement last Friday by the CACMS.

China legalizes apprenticeships for TCM
Xinhua News Agency 8 November 2007

China's traditional medicine authorities this month legalized apprenticeships for training doctors as an alternative to medical schools. "As traditional medicine is based very much on experience, apprenticeships will have advantages in training doctors that schooling won't have," stated Xu Zhiren, director of the medical administration department of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM). According to the regulation, a high school graduate can train for three years under a an experienced TCM doctor with a legal practitioner's license and 15 years of experience before applying to the provincial TCM authority to sit a competency exam. The exam will cover TCM knowledge and skills and test whether students fully understand what they have learnt. They can intern at a hospital for a year if they pass and apply to sit the practitioner exam with medical school graduates, if they receive a good performance assessment during the internship.

Pilot program to lift ban on traditional Chinese medicine doctors in pharmacies
Xinhuanet (www.chinaview.cn), 7 November 2007

A ban on TCM doctors treating patients in drugstores is set to be lifted after six years. From December, TCM doctors will be allowed to treat patients directly at drugstores, according to the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM). TCM doctors treating patients at drugstores has long been practiced in China, but it was banned in 2001 after some drugstores' illegally over-sold drugs and medical apparatus to patients under the disguise of free treatment provided by TCM doctors on site. However, strict measures will be in place to select the qualified drugstores and TCM doctors said Xu Zhiren of the SATCM. The pharmacy shops should have independent treatment rooms and at least 400 kinds of traditional Chinese herbs. Qualified practitioners should have at least five years' clinic working experience. Practitioners will only be allowed to prescribe traditional Chinese medicines.

Hong Kong conmen pass off snakes and lizards as crocodile meat
Earthtimes (Earthtimes.org), 14 November 2007

Crocodile meat fanciers in Hong Kong are being tricked into buying dried lizard and snake when they go to shops to order the reptile, consumer watchdogs have found. Of 24 samples collected from shops by the Hong Kong Consumer Council, only eight were genuine crocodile meat while the rest were much cheaper dried lizard or snake. Crocodile meat is used as a traditional Chinese medicine for asthma and respiratory illnesses. The Consumer Council recommends people ask for a receipt. If a shop refuses to give a receipt that states clearly it is crocodile meat, then they should be suspicious about its origins.

First UK-China collaboration program ICUK launched
Xinhuanet (www.chinaview.cn), 20 November 2007

The first UK-China collaboration program, Innovation China UK (ICUK) has just been launched to promote joint innovation and knowledge transfer between the two countries. ICUK involves five British and over 10 Chinese higher education institutions. Led by Queen Mary Hospital, University of London, ICUK has created an integrated framework of support and funding. ICUK will focus its main activities on energy, climate change and sustainable environment, infectious diseases, biomedicine and drug discovery (including TCM), nanotechnology & material science, and space technology. These knowledge bases are prioritized as key collaboration areas by the UK and China. The UK is providing 5 million pounds funding from the Higher Education Innovation Fund which supports knowledge transfer and increased business engagement in universities. China is providing complementary funding through its Ministry of Science Technology.

Chinese medicine promotion to launch
Hong Kong Government (www.news.gov.hk), 24 November 2007

Deputy Director of Health Dr Gloria Tam announced Hong Kong's participation in a nationwide campaign to promote TCM that would be held from November 24 to December 31. The Food & Health Bureau and Department of Health will coordinate the programme with support from the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Programmes in the campaign include exhibitions, carnivals, symposiums and seminars, as well as free consultations by TCM practitioners.

University of Sydney to play a leading role in Chinese medicine
Medical Research News 20 November 2007

The University of Sydney is poised to take a leading role in researching and developing TCMs with the establishment of a new research centre and a joint chair in the discipline. The new Australia-China Centre for Research in Chinese Medicines (ACCRCM) was announced in China recently by NSW Premier Morris Iemma. The Centre is to be established as joint collaboration between the University of Sydney and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Research has shown that between 50 and 75 percent of the Australian adult population use complementary medicine products and services each year. Mr. Iemma also announced the establishment of a Joint Chair in Traditional Chinese Medicine to be based at both the University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney.

Acupuncture mitigates chronic low back pain 20% better than conventional care
Orthopedics Today International (www.orthosupersite.com), 20 November 2007

A semi-blinded randomized, controlled study conducted at outpatient centers across Germany has shown that acupuncture was more effective at treating chronic low back pain than conventional care. However, the study results showed that sham acupuncture, however, worked about as well as the actual procedure. There was an approximately 20 percent better result at follow-up for the acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups than for the standard care group, investigators concluded. The German acupuncture trials for chronic low back pain involved 1,162 patients divided into three treatment groups, all of whom had chronic low back pain (LBP) for 8 years, mean (age range, 18 to 86 years). This study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in September 2007.

Worms may offer treatments for multiple diseases, including cancer
The Thai-Indian(http://www.thaindian.com), 20 November 2007

Sun Zhenjun and colleagues at China Agricultural University, Beijing has commenced research showing the potential of worm compounds for treating serious diseases. The researchers took cancerous cells and introduced them to worm tissues and fluids. Many of the cancer cells died. Zhenjun and his team also discovered that worm compounds, specifically certain complex carbohydrates and protein components, have antibacterial functions. The researchers also mixed bacteria like E. coli, staph, pneumonia and candida with the worm compounds. The researchers also found that this compound could kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an extremely harmful bacterium that is resistant to penicillin and most other antibiotics. The researchers are now working on isolating the most powerful anti-cancer and antibacterial agents in worms, which they hope to synthesize for human use in future.

"Dragon's Blood" may fight an ulcer bacterium
The New York Times(www.nytimes.com), 27 November 2007

Researchers have discovered that a plant widely used in TCM contains compounds that slow the growth of the bacterium that causes most peptic ulcers. The chemists, led by Zhao Weimin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, isolated 22 compounds from the treelike plant, Dracaena cochinchinensis, which gives off a dark-red resinous substance called dragon's blood. They found two that were effective against the ulcer bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, and eight others that worked as blood thinners. Dracaena is used in China for stomach ailments, fractures and wounds. Its antibacterial compounds would need to be taken in much higher concentrations than amoxicillin, an antibiotic used for peptic ulcers. The blood-thinning compounds the researchers found were effective, but not nearly as powerful as, for example, heparin, a common blood thinner.

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