Home > Current Events > Year 2010 June
A review of stories making the headlines.

IBM, Chinese hospital start med project
UPI.COM, 3 June 2010

IBM and South China's largest hospital announced a project designed to ascertain the efficacy of certain traditional Chinese treatments. IBM and the Guang Dong Hospital of TCM said the pilot project involves new healthcare analytics technology that allows doctors to analyze thousands of anonymous electronic medical records to determine health trends across demographics for specific diseases. The project involves the use of a first-of-its-kind IBM system called Healthcare Information Warehouse for Analytics and Sharing, which allows clinicians to extract and compile relevant patient data to quickly pinpoint critical issues and detect patterns.

Giving tradition a bad name
Global Times, 7 June 2010

A retired Beijing textile worker was able to become the most famous and expensive TCM doctor virtually overnight. Zhang Wuben, the so-called diet guru, appeared on various TV programs flaunting his diet theory. His million-dollar business includes best-selling books, a nutrition center and health camps, and consultations at other health organizations. According to the Ministry of Health and the media, Zhang can be charged with at least two major criminal offences, faked medical qualifications and illegal medical practice. So far, the Bureau has not received complaints about Zhang so they have no grounds to accuse him. Zhang's most famous remedy is mung bean soups, which allegedly pushed up the price of mung bean.

Manufacturer cuts corners with donkey extract
People's Daily Online, 7 June 2010

Donkey-hide gelatin (e-jiao) is a precious traditional tonic in China, it is made with the hide of black-skinned donkeys. About three kilograms of donkey skin are needed to make one kilogram of the ingredient, and so the price is up to 300 yuan ($43) per kilogram. China Central Television (CCTV) reported that some manufacturers failed to use the proper ingredient in e-jiao and may have put customers at risk. They have used the skin of other animals or even leftovers from hide, used for leather products.

Sales of alternative medicine products are booming
Naturalnews.com, 09 June 2010

Sales of alternative medical products are on the rise in spite of and perhaps in part because of tough economic times. The Daily Mail reported that alternative medicines market has grown by 18% in the past two years in British, to a yearly value of ¢G213 million. This value is expected to rise to ¢G282million, or another 33% in the next four years. In United States, sales of herbal supplements have increased 6%. The true scale might even be higher, as the figures do not include sales from Wal-Mart or club stores, where people are more likely to turn when their budgets become more restricted.

Alert issued on Chinese medicine
News.gov.hk, 11 June 11 2010

The Department of Health in Hong Kong urges the public not to consume a product called "Kam Chik San¯i¿n´²", claimed to be manufactured by Chan Ka Yuen Medicine Company. The product bears the number PC-2005-01734 which is not a registered number of any proprietary Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. Laboratory test shows the level of mercury in the product was much higher than the permitted level of mercury intake according to the registration requirement of a proprietary Chinese medicine.

Malaysia to set up traditional Chinese medicine hub
The Star Online, 14 June 2010

Malaysia plans to set up a centre of excellence for TCM in the country in a joint venture with China. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the cooperation would be between Malaysian and Chinese institutions as part of Malaysia¡¦s bid to raise its standard in TCM. He said when the new Traditional Medicine Act is in place later this year, it would give the ministry more bite to monitor the quality of TCM practitioners and provide them with grants.

Taiwan alliance boosts Cambridge TCM dream
Business Weekly, 16 June 2010

Exploratory talks are being held between Cambridge University academics and officials from China Medical University in Taiwan to see if there is a basis for potential collaboration on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) projects. Dr Tai-Ping Fan, who is campaigning to create a Cambridge centre for TCM, said the initial meetings were constructive and cordial and believes there is a lot Cambridge can learn from CMU in considering the merits of establishing a TCM centre of its own.

Taiwan businessmen in Shanghai less healthy than other residents: poll
Focus Taiwan News Channel, 19 June 2010

Most Taiwanese businessmen in Shanghai suffer from allergies, depression and sub-health state, according to a survey. The sub-health survey showed that Taiwanese businessmen are in poorer physical and mental health than other residents of the city. Taiwanese entrepreneurs suffer more pain, indigestion and allergic reactions. In addition, Taiwanese businessmen experience deeper depression and more memory problems.

Institutes complete first gene map of Chinese medicinal plant
People's Daily Online, 20 June 2010

The Institute of Medicinal Plants of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences launched a program to create a gene map of Salvia miltiorrhiza (also known as red sage) in conjunction with Hutchison Whampoa Guangzhou Baiyunshan Chinese Medicine Co., Ltd. They used the second generation of high-flux sequencing techniques to check salvia herb's DNA order and finally finished its gene map. The success of the gene map is seen as a step forward in the research of medicinal plants and the merger of front-line life science and TCM.

Cannabis farmer jailed for three years
Northamptonchron.co.uk, 28 June 2010

Zheng Chen, a 33 years old illegal immigrant from China, claimed that he was only looking after rare and expensive herbal plants to be used in Oriental medicine but he was unanimously convicted by a jury at Northampton Crown Court. He was arrested in the property in Newcombe Road Spencer. Three bedrooms of the house were filled with skunk cannabis plants, and the potential yield of all 317 plants was estimated at 11.13 kilograms with a street value of about ¢G65,500. Judge Christopher Metcalf jailed him for three years and recommended he deported once released.

Victoria man found guilty of practicing acupuncture without a license
The Province, 29 June 2010

Igor Muntianov had been sticking needles in the bodies of unsuspecting patients for 18 months without proper training before a complaint from a patient sparked an investigation, according to findings published by the College of TCM Practitioners and Acupuncturists of B.C. He was fined $10000 plus hearing costs but is now believed to have fled the country. Dr. Mary Watterson, the College Registrar, wants to warn the public about him, ¡§in the event of his attempted return.¡¨ She also urged those seeking services from TCM to refer to the College¡¦s website to confirm they are authorized to practice.

Acupuncture and Science Intertwined
The Epoch Times, 29 June 2010

Acupuncture research has made some advances, its efficacy is usually explained by the presence of adenosine, a compound responsible for many bodily functions, such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, promoting sleep, decreasing inflammation, and disrupting undesirable nerve impulses that trigger pain. Acupuncture works differently in different individuals. U.S. researchers at the University of Rochester, N.Y., found a possible explanation for individual variation. Their laboratory experiments isolated a protein called A1 that appears to play a decisive role in the effects of acupuncture. If the body lacks this protein, acupuncture efficacy is weak.

TCM medical biometrics
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 29 June 2010

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has made a head start in Medical Biometrics researches, with the development of several authentication and medical diagnosis tools based on the concept of TCM. Professor David Zhang, Chair Professor and Head of PolyU's Department of Computing, have developed three novel diagnosis systems, the Automated Tongue Image analysis system, Pulse waveform analysis system and Olfaction analysis system. Over the past ten years, the biometric researches have been awarded research funding amounting to over HK$18 million from the SAR Government's Research Grants Council and National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC). The working team is already secured a few patents for the breakthroughs and published many papers in top international journals.

Compiled By:
Rose Tse, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.