Home > Current Events > Year 2008 March
A review of stories making the headlines.

Yao Ming has a secret weapon to speed recovery for Olympics X TCM
The Associated Press, 5 March 2008

Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets basketball player from China has undergone surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Doctors in the United States said after the surgery that he was expected to recover in time to play for China at the Beijing Olympics in August. But the Chinese Basketball Association is taking no chances and will also use traditional Chinese medicine.Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets basketball player from China has undergone underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Doctors in the United States said after the surgery that he was expected to recover in time to play for China at the Beijing Olympics in August. But the Chinese Basketball Association is taking no chances and will also use traditional Chinese medicine.

Plans to tighten up on herbal remedies
Staff Nurse (http://www.staffnurse.com), 5 March 2008

The British Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been cracking down on dangerous herbal remedies after an increase in incidents of side effects in recent months. The agency heard about suspected adverse drug reactions to an illegal unlicensed product (DBCare) for diabetes. This product claimed to naturally lower blood sugar levels. It was removed from the UK market after patients were advised to stop taking prescribed medication. In other examples, new labels were illegally placed on TCM products covering up the original list of ingredients. The adulteration of products with potent pharmaceuticals and toxic ingredients has also been investigated by the MHRA. The agency hopes to reduce these risks through the new herbal registration scheme, for patented over-the-counter herbal medicines. The scheme will require products to meet assured standards of safety, quality and patient information.

Chinese medicine "eases eczema"
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk), 13 March 2008

A traditional Chinese herbal medicine consisting of five herbs may ease eczema symptoms, a study has found. Researchers found the treatment reduced the need for conventional medicines, and improved the quality of life for young patients with atopic eczema. The 85-patient study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong is reported in the British Journal of Dermatology. Herbs in the medicine are: Flos lonicerae (Japanese honeysuckle), Herba menthae (peppermint), Cortex moutan (root bark of peony tree), Atractylodes Rhizome (underground stem of the atractylodes herb), Cortex phellodendri (Amur cork-tree bark) The Hong Kong team assessed the effects of this formulation on patients with atopic eczema - the most common type of the disease which affects at least one in ten children. Patients who took the herbal remedy showed lower blood levels of four proteins thought to have inflammatory effects linked with eczema.

Traditional Care Clinic Proposed
South China Morning Post , March 2008

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) is considering building a Chinese medicine hospital. Wong Kwok-kin, chairman of the HKFTU said the federation had approached the government about the plan and would collaborate with Guangdong Provincial Hospital of TCM if the proposal went ahead.

TCM applauded for leukaemia treatment
China Daily (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn), 12 March 2008

Traditional Chinese medicine leapt into the international limelight on Monday after research on its effectiveness in treating leukaemia was published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. The research proved that traditional Chinese medicine Huangdai Tablets can help treat leukaemia effectively, according to Ruijin Hospital, an affiliate of Shanghai Jiaotong University Medical School. Huangdai Tablets are a kind of compound prescription made of plant and mineral extracts. The research was led by Chen Zhu, now minister of health and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Chen Saijuan, executive director of the Shanghai Institute of Haematology and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Humble vegie may end diabetes fight
ABC News (www.abc.net.au), 26 March 2008

Australia and China are jointly analyzing the reputed therapeutic effects of a bitter melon, a traditional Chinese vegetable long held to hold therapeutic effects of cooling the body, promoting digestion and brightening the eyes. Researchers at the Garvan Institute in Sydney took a tonne of bitter melon and broke it down to its most basic parts. Using a high-powered microscope, the team were able to identify several new compounds which when applied to muscle cells produced an important reaction. What appears to be an "explosion" is actually the compound triggering the muscle cell to absorb glucose. When mice were given this compound just before a meal, it was found that they have a much more efficient removal of glucose from the blood compared to animals that have not been given the drug. The most significant observation of the study was that there were no side effects in the mice with type 2 diabetes. The process is in its early stages and human trials are possibly a year away.

Study: malaria parasite killed by suppositories
Reuters (www.reuters.com), 30 March 2008

A study by WHO researcher Melba Gnomes and her colleagues has found the malaria parasite can be effectively stopped by a suppository made from sweet wormwood. A wormwood derivative, artemisinin, when given rectally, clears the parasite in 24 hours. Artemisinin administered this way is even better than quinine even for those with the most severe forms of malaria. Artemisinin works well in conjunction with other malaria drugs ad is especially effective for people who cannot swallow pills. Sweet wormwood extract has been used in TCM for generations.

B.C. first in Canada to cover acupuncture for low-income residents
Times Colonist (http://www.canada.com), 31 March, 2008

The British Columbian government will become the first in Canada to include registered acupuncturists under its Medical Services Plan premium-assistance program. Households earning a total of $28,000 or less a year, including welfare recipients, students, the disabled, and the elderly, will be covered by this benefit. Health Minister George Abbott said that the program could cost as much as $3 million based on its adoption. Those in households earning more than $28,000 must still pay for services such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, massage and physiotherapy on their own or through an extended health insurance plan.

Study examines traditional Chinese herbs for diabetics
Trend News Agency , Azerbaijan (http://news.trendaz.com), 31 March 2008

Half of 60 patients at Singapore General Hospital will be getting enalapril, a commonly prescribed Western drug, and the other half a concoction of nine TCM herbs in a three-month study to determine how well TCM can prevent kidney damage in diabetics compared to the Western drug normally used.. If the study produces favourable results, TCM will become an option for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of the Western drug, which include a bad cough. A similar study conducted on 100 patients in Shanghai has shown after a year that the TCM prescription works as well as standard drugs in protecting the kidneys without the side effects.

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