Home > Current Events > Year 2011 March
A review of stories making the headlines.

TCM practitioners told to register by end of this year
The Borneo Post, 2 March 2011

All traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) practitioners are required to register with the Health Ministry before the enforcement of a proposed Act involving the industry. The proposed Act, likely to be enacted next year, would call for the registration of all traditional medicine practitioners. The State Health Department Traditional and Complementary Medicine branch head Dr. Hamidi Mohamad Sharkawi told. He explained that the main purpose of registration was to compile details of TCM practitioners in all states so that Health Departments could better deal with public complaints or provide assistance to practitioners.

Chinese medicine hospitals will get new evaluation system
Focus Taiwan, 3 March 2011

The Department of Health (DOH) launched a new evaluation system to assess Chinese medicine hospitals. Huang Lin-huang, chairman of the Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy at DOH, said the number of TCM hospitals and hospital-affiliated clinics has increased from 20-30 ten years ago to 96 today, which means there is now a greater need for a more holistic and higher quality evaluation program. The results will serve as criteria for hospitals that want to become teaching hospitals. Those hospitals with high scores will have more opportunities to participate in government-related projects. The evaluation will rate each hospital's patient safety practices, quality of care, hospital management, environment and service quality, and human resources.

Thunder god vine and its ingredient triptolide
Emax Health, 4 March 2011

The active ingredient called triptolide found in thunder god vine (Tripterygium wilfordii) has been credited with stopping cell growth, until now scientists did not know how it does. According to study author Jun O. Liu, PhD, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins, triptolide has demonstrated the ability to block the growth of all 60 National Cancer Institute cell lines when administered at very low doses and has caused some cell lines to die. Liu noted that the ability of triptolide to stop the activity of RNAPII explains its anti-inflammatory and anticancer benefits. He and his team are eager to see what future research will uncover.

Cluster of poisoning cases from mislabelled Chinese herb investigated
7thSpace Interactive, 4 March 2011

Hong Kong: The Department of Health (DH) continued its investigation into the cause of the cluster of poisoning cases. The cases involved four patients who had taken a Chinese herb labelled Flos Campsis, from a retailer of Chinese herbal medicines, while DH's examination revealed that it was actually a toxic herb Flos Daturae Metelis. So DH visited all other traders which had purchased from the wholesaler. As both retailer and wholesaler had failed to differentiate the herbs clearly, the spokesman said that they might have contravened the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance. DH will consult the Department of Justice on possible legal action.

Acupuncture may ease hot flashes
Bloomberg Businessweek, 8 March 2011

Acupuncture may help reduce the severity of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, according to a small study. The research included 53 postmenopausal women, with about half receiving traditional Chinese acupuncture twice a week and the others given sham acupuncture treatments. After 10 weeks, the women in the traditional acupuncture group had significantly less severe hot flashes and mood swings than those who'd gotten the fake treatment. There were no differences between the two groups in terms of vaginal dryness and urinary tract infection. The beneficial effects of traditional acupuncture, according to the researchers, did not appear to be associated with changes in levels of hormones that trigger menopause and its associated symptoms. The findings were published online March 7 in Acupuncture in Medicine.

Reserve system mooted for TCMs
People's Daily, 8 March 2011

China should establish a reserve system for TCM materials as soon as possible, according to the nation's pharmaceutical businesses and industrial associations. "A reserve system would help prevent speculation in TCM raw materials on the international and domestic markets, and would protect natural resources and guarantee sustainable development for TCM sector in China," said Li Zhenjiang, a deputy on the National People's Congress (NPC). He also suggested the government should encourage TCM manufacturers to become involved in the system, thus helping businesses to establish a long-term supply mechanism and perform a role in upstream resources protection.

Ministry to control traditional medicine
The Jakarta Post, 12 March 2011

The Health Ministry plans to take control of licensing for traditional medicine as an effort to control the spread of Chinese medicine stores. "The punishment in the existing regulation is too lenient," said Budihardja, the ministry¡¦s director general of nutrition and mother and child health. The existing ministerial decree on traditional medication states that violators of operational licensing and medicine distribution laws can receive a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Budihardja said that in the meanwhile before a new ministerial regulation was issued, provincial administrations were obliged to report to the ministry if any parties applied for such permits.

Chinese scientists publicize first genome map of rare, highly-valued herb
Xinhuanet.com, 18 March 2011

After over a year's efforts, scientists from Shanghai and Hong Kong announced that they have completed the whole genomic sequencing work of Isaria cicada, a traditional Chinese herb. According to the result, the genomic size of Isaria cicada is about one eightieth of human genome, containing about 16,000 genes. The genome map will help accelerate the artificial cultivation of Isaria cicada, enhancing its medicine and nutrition value and making it available in a larger market, according to the scientist.

UT MD Anderson receives grant for study of acupuncture in cancer
Medical News Today, 23 March 2011

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded a $2.7 million grant to study whether xerostomia, a side effect caused by head and neck cancer radiation treatment, can be prevented when acupuncture is part of a patient's treatment regimen. The research is in collaboration with MD Anderson's Sister Institution, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, in Shanghai. Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, affects more than 80% of head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation. The side effect can be debilitating for a patient's quality of life, making it difficult to speak, eat, sleep and often results in taste changes.

Active ingredient from Chinese medicine blocks biofilm formation on medical implant materials
Medical News Today, 23 March 2011

A compound that is an active ingredient in plants commonly used in Chinese medicine prevents biofilm formation on polystyrene and polycarbonate surfaces by Staphylococcus aureus. The research suggests that this compound, 1,2,3,4,6-Penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucopyranose (PGG) is highly promising for clinical use in preventing biofilm formation by S. aureus. The paper is published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. PGG is "far more potent" than several other compounds found to inhibit biofilms according to the report. Despite that potency, PGG did not kill S. aureus. It is also non-toxic to human epithelial and fibroblast cells.

Meditation improves lives of menopausal women
www.figo.org, 23 March 2011

Menopausal women suffering from hot flushes who undertake mindfulness classes have improved quality of life, new research has revealed. The classes, which incorporate elements of meditation and stretching exercises, boost women's sleep quality and reduce stress and anxiety when they are going through the menopause, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, US, found. "There are certainly many, many women who don't want to take hormones and don't want to take other drugs either," said Dr. Ellen Freeman, a menopause expert at the university. She explained mindfulness classes, as an alternative, "may be something that they find very acceptable."

Taiwan's China Medical University to participate in HK's Chinese herb standards project
7thSpace Interactive, 30 March 2011

The Department of Health (DH) of Hong Kong signed a contract with Taiwan's China Medical University (CMU) for sample collection and research on Chinese materia medica under Phase V of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS) Project. The aim of the Project is to develop reference information for Chinese herbs commonly used in Hong Kong. The work to be undertaken by CMU will be funded by the HKCMMS Project and will focus on four Chinese herbs commonly used in Hong Kong, namely Curcumae Radix, Arecae Semen, Rosae Laevigatae Fructus and Alpiniae Oxyphyllae Fructus.

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