Home > Current Events > Year 2008 April
A review of stories making the headlines.
Prescription for success: China TV series to feature traditional medicine
Xinhua (www.chinaview.cn), 1 April 2008

A TV series based upon the lives of a legendary family of TCM practitioners will be aired starting in June. The program, "The Great Medication", details nearly 200 years in the lives of the Yun family in Luoyang, central Henan Province, from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) to the War of Resistance (1937-1945). Health officials in China say this program will do much to boost the popularity of TCM.

Deer penis Loses favor as china's Olympians fear drug testers
Bloomberg(www.bloomberg.net), 1 April 2008

Chinese Olympians are unable to take deer penis, turtle blood and angelica as they are now on the banned drugs list. TCMs may contain banned substances such as the stimulant ephedrine or interact with other substances to give a positive doping test. China's sports ministry have to declare nutritional products or herbs safe before athletes can use them. In 2005, the Chinese Olympic Committee published a list of banned herbs and animal parts as well as the commercial products containing them. "One herb typically isn't a natural stimulant,"' said one Peking University sports medicine researcher. "But when you combine herbs, you can't be too sure the concoction won't have stimulant properties."

Alternative medicine gets $1.7 m extra research boost
The Australian,5 April 2008

The Australia Government has given $1.7 million to establish three new research centres that will study the efficacy of alternative treatments for specific conditions. The three new research centres will be at the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and Swinburne University of Technology. The Queensland centre will concentrate on nutraceuticals and herbal medicine, with an emphasis on cardiovascular medicine, including diabetes and obesity, and ageing and skin health. The Sydney centre will look at TCM including acupuncture and how they might benefit in diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The Swindon centre, for the study of natural medicines and neurocognition, will study how natural medicines might help in improving memory and brain function.

Chinese medicine graduates deprived of exam rights
Oriental Daily (Hong Kong), 6 April 2008

A group of over 30 graduates of Chinese medicine programmes jointly offered by mainland and Hong Kong tertiary institutions protested recently at the Food and Environmental Hygiene Bureau office in Hong Kong, complaining they could not sit Chinese medicine practitioners licensing examinations. A Chinese medicine doctor concern group said that there are about 160 part-time graduates who have each spent about HK$200,000 and six years to finish the programmes, with the qualifications which the programmes lead to have been recognised by the education bureau of the mainland government. A legislator said that the Chinese Medical Council of Hong Kong commented that the programmes were not up to standard but that they did nothing to solve the problem and this was obviously intended to protect people with vested interests.

Green tea, mushroom extract combo slows sarcomas
The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com), 8 April 2008

A combination of the active ingredients in reishi mushrooms and green tea inhibited the growth of tumors and extended survival time of mice with sarcomas, two Chinese studies have recently shown. Recent research at the Pharmanex BJ Clinical Pharmacology Center in Beijing has shown that both enhance the body's immune function. In one of the studies, groups of health mice were given either low, medium or high doses of ReishiMax or low, medium or high doses of a combination of ReishiMax and Tegreen. After 14 days of treatment, the mice were injected with sarcoma cells. The treatment then continued for another 14 days. Tumor development in the mice that received the combination treatment was less than in those that received only ReishiMax and 45 percent less than mice that received no treatment.

Traditional Acupuncture May Ease Migraines
Javno (Croatia - http://www.javno.com/en), 11 April 2008

Acupuncture, as practiced in TCM, may offer some relief from migraine pain, a new study by Italian researchers published in the journal Headache suggests. It was found that regular acupuncture treatments helped improve symptoms in 32 patients whose migraines had been resistant to standard medication. Past studies have yielded conflicting results as some research has suggested that sham acupuncture, using blunted needles that do not pierce the skin, is as likely to bring relief as is the real therapy. However, a problem with previous research is that studies have had inconsistent designs, and many have used acupuncture points that are "inappropriate" based on Chinese medicine, according to the authors of the new study. For the current study, Dr. Enrico Facco, of the University of Padua, and his colleagues looked at how traditionally performed acupuncture stood up against two sham forms for preventing migraines. The promising results need to be backed up with further studies to confirm the benefits of traditional acupuncture for migraine. The researchers said that since the therapy carries little risk of side effects, it could help migraine sufferers who are not adequately helped by standard preventive treatment.

TCM draws more students from US
The China Daily (www.chinadaily.com.cn), 11 April 2008

A growing number of American students are enrolling in courses on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it is becoming increasing recognized in their home country, according to an official with the Claremont University Consortium in the United States."We believe TCM has great value and lots of people are trying it back in the US. That's why we decided to launch the TCM course in our program in China. Our students can see how it works through comparing it with Western medicine," said Laura Skandera Trombley, president of Claremont's Pitzer College during a recent trip to Beijing. She joined other college presidents in the consortium on an Asian trip, seeking development opportunities to work with local partners.In the fall of 2001, Pitzer launched its China program with Peking University, offering courses in Chinese, Tai Chi, calligraphy, contemporary Chinese history and TCM for American undergraduate students.Among the many other American institutions with China programs on our campus, Pitzer is the only one which teaches an elective course in TCM for liberal arts and pre-medicine students. This course often attracts applicants from other programs such as the Yale/PKU joint program and Stanford at PKU," explained Lin Jianhua, vice-president of Peking University. Pitzer College currently has 75 percent of its undergraduate students studying outside of the US, and aims to increase the proportion to 90 percent over the next five years, with around 12-13 percent coming to China. Currently only five percent of them are in China, said President Trombley.

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