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

The evidence for Shiatsu: a systematic review of Shiatsu and acupressure
7th Space Interactive, 7 October 2011

Shiatsu, similar to acupressure, uses finger pressure, manipulations and stretches, along Traditional Chinese Medicine meridians. Shiatsu is popular in Europe, but lacks reviews on its evidence-base. A review on 1,714 publications about Acupressure and Shiatsu clinical trials (final inclusions were 9 Shiatsu and 71 acupressure studies) suggests that acupressure may be beneficial for pain, nausea and vomiting and sleep. The scientists concluded that evidence is improving in quantity, quality and reporting, but more research is needed, particularly for Shiatsu, where evidence is poor.

2500-year-old medicine looks to Australia
Healthcanal.com, 10 October 2011

China's largest Chinese Medicine hospital is backing Australian researchers to help provide better health outcomes for sufferers of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a growing international health problem and is a focus of a new research agreement with RMIT University. Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine (GDPHCM) and Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences Research has signed a $2 million deal with RMIT's School of Health Sciences and Health Innovations Research Institute. RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Daine Alcorn, said current collaborations had led to multi-centre clinical trials of herbal medicines for COPD and acupuncture for allergic rhinitis.

AstraZeneca invests US$200m into manufacturing facility in China Medical City
Asian Scientist.com, 10 October 2011

AstraZeneca announced a US$200 million investment in a new manufacturing facility, located in China Medical City (CMC), Jiangsu province. This represents AstraZeneca・s largest ever investment in a single manufacturing facility globally, and will produce both intravenous and oral solid medicines for the company・s growing business in China. Construction of the site is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013. The Chinese pharmaceutical market grew from US$10 billion in 2004 to US$41 billion in 2010 and, according to IMS, is expected to grow to over US$100 billion by 2015, driven by government investment in improving healthcare infrastructure and expanding insurance coverage.

Traditional medicine to treat joint pain found with unapproved western medicines
Channel News Asia, 12 October 2011

Members of the public are being warned not to take four adulterated health products which are being sold as traditional Chinese and Malay medicines. The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) says undeclared western medicines not approved by HSA are contained in the products identified as: Athri-Eze, Sear Heang Tienchi Tu Chung Wan, Cap Wijaya Kusuma (An Ki It) and Wiku Jahe Kencur (Akur Mujarab). Doctors and a Chinese physician raised the alert to the HSA after treating patients who had self-medicated. HSA says the western medicines used in the four traditional medicines have to be taken under strict medical supervision, and reminds the public that traditional medicines are not allowed to contain medicinal ingredients or substances controlled under the Poisons Act.

Understanding, Perceptions and Self-use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among Malaysian Pharmacy Students
7th Space Interactive, 13 October 2011

The basic understanding, perceptions and CAM use among undergraduate health sciences students have become a topic of interest. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 500 systematically sampled pharmacy students from two private and one public university, which was aimed to investigate the understanding, perceptions and self-use of CAM among pharmacy students in Malaysia. A validated, self-administered questionnaire comprised of seven sections was used to gather the data. The results reveal a high-percentage of pharmacy students who were using or had previously used at least one type of CAM. Students of higher professional years tend to agree that CMs include ideas and methods from which conventional medicine could benefit.

Canada moves to update Chinese medicine rules
AFP, 15 October 2011

Federal health authorities in Canada have met with practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine as a first step towards modifying regulations covering the sale of imported Chinese herbal remedies. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq held roundtable talks with Chinese medicine professionals in Vancouver. More than 1,300 traditional Chinese remedies are currently sold in Canada, but the government, seeing a boom in the market, says it wants to be sure the laws on sales and prescription reflect current best medical practices. Sales of medicines are regulated at the federal level, but healthcare is governed by the provinces. Albert Fok, who represents a group of merchants in Vancouver's Chinatown area including several purveyors of traditional Chinese remedies, said federal and provincial authorities should work together to harmonize the legislation.

For cancer patients, acupuncture counters stress, side effects
Taunton Daily Gazette, 15 October 2011

As acupuncture becomes increasingly accepted in United States, more cancer patients are seeking traditional Chinese treatment to help put their bodies in balance during chemotherapy and radiation or after surgery. Acupuncture doesn・t treat cancer, but it can help relieve the anxiety, aches and pains, fatigue and other side effects following a breast cancer diagnosis and course of treatment, according to acupuncturists JoAnn Simon and Donna Leon. :It helps a tremendous amount with nausea and GI (gastrointestinal) discomfort from chemo. It helps with fatigue. I treat a lot of women who are stressed, anxious,; Simon said. Acupuncture treats the whole person, whether it・s alleviating the emotional toll cancer takes on a person or restoring the full range of motion after surgery, Leon said. There isn・t a set regimen of acupuncture treatments for breast cancer patients, instead, acupuncture focuses on what the patient needs when she walks in the door. :Acupuncture is a healing art,; she said. :Every woman who walks in here doesn・t get the same treatment, I ask them, .What do you need today?・;

21st century database of traditional Chinese medicine released
Healthcanal.com, 18 October 2011

A comprehensive database developed by King・s College London researchers that features the chemical components found in traditional Chinese medicines has been released, allowing researchers to explore age-old remedies in the search for tomorrow・s new drugs. Featuring over 12,000 chemicals found in plants used in Chinese medicine, and part-funded by Innovation China UK (ICUK), the database has been developed through collaboration between researchers in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science at King・s, Dr David Barlow, Dr Thomas Ehrman and Professor Peter Hylands, and the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM).

Traditional Chinese medicine company lands in Middle East
English.news.cn, 19 October 2011

Beijing Tong Ren Tang opened a branch in Dubai, the first of its kind in the Middle East region. The new clinic is situated in the Dubai Healthcare Center, with an in-house pharmacy and retail outlet offering more than 70 traditional Chinese medicinal products. The clinic will also join hands with Confucius institutes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to hold forums and lectures to boost the brand awareness and impart the culture of traditional Chinese medicine to people in the UAE and other gulf states, said Ding Yongling, vice general manager of the Company.

E-sales of placenta continue to thrive under ban
China Daily, 25 October 2011

Sales of human placenta continue to flourish online, despite a government ban on the trade and warnings from health experts about the risk of disease. Taobao, the country's largest online marketplace, is awash with vendors offering dried or ground placenta, an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Several traders contacted by China Daily said their products were secretly purchased from staff members at hospitals and specialized maternity clinics. A Shanghai-based e-trader has a sales record on his Taobao store that 42 placentas had been sold in the past 85 days. Placenta is believed to be full of protein and nutrients, and according to TCM, it can help improve the immune system, slow the aging process and cure impotence and infertility. However, due to some health risk concerns, the Ministry of Health banned the trade of placenta in 2005.

Int'l environment group applauds Chinese Taoists
English.eastday.com, 25 October 2011

From a call for burning fewer incense sticks to living a simpler life, from an appeal to ban the use of tiger bones for making medicine to the issuance of a global ecology statement, Chinese Taoists have won recognition and applause from an international environmental protection group for their conservation efforts. :Taoism is one of the best ways to achieve sustainability, Taoism does not just view sustainability as a purely human concern.; said Martin Palmer, secretary-general of Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC). The Chinese Taoist Association has cooperated with ARC, the two sides are jointly carrying out an Eight-Year Plan (2010-2017) for the protection of the environment, that The Chinese Taoist Association has been calling for a healthier and more environmentally friendly style of pilgrimage and travel.

Officials to monitor bird・s nest industry for standards compliance
The Star Online, 28 October 2011

Chinese officials will visit Malaysia in December to look at Malaysia・s food and veterinary regulations, including enforcement action on swiftlet houses following the discovery of high nitrite content in bird・s nests exported to China. Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, said that during his visit to China recently, he told Chinese officials that the agency governing the bird・s nest industry had left it to them to decide on the acceptable nitrite level. Malaysian Federation of Bird・s Nest Traders Associations president, Datuk Paduka Beh Heng Seong, echoed the minister, saying the high nitrite levels were caused by the bird droppings that contain ammonia. Malaysia is the world・s second biggest exporter of bird・s nests after Indonesia with 80% sold to China. The exports to China had surged from 1.44 tonnes in 2009 to 100 tonnes last year. The industry is producing an average of 20 tonnes a month this year.

Gansu health official under fire for promoting folk medicine
AsiaOne, 30 October 2011

Doing a breathing exercise to cure hepatitis B and lung disease and eating pigs feet to recover from cancer surgery are among the remedies being promoted by a senior health official in Northwest China's Gansu province. Liu Weizhong, head of the Gansu provincial health department, has been advocating folk remedies in a series of articles published on the official website of his department. In an article posted, he said the health department has urged local hospitals to implement 10 cures for silicosis (a lung disease), including eating pigs feet, raw carrots or chufa (earth almond) and doing a breathing exercise or singing. Liu and the health authority publicity officer said they will not delete all or parts of Liu's articles. :Many people in Gansu are poor, and these remedies are simple. As long as it cures patients, it・s good.; That echoes the reform guideline of Gansu health authorities, for hospitals to use the simplest ways to address the common health problems, while citizens to use as little as possible to maintain their health, Liu said. Some netizens claimed Liu might mean well, but what he did was promoting pseudoscience.

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