Home > Current Events > Year 2013 September
A review of stories making the headlines.

The emergence of Chinese medical tourism
nationmultimedia.com , 2 September 2013

Globally, medical tourism is booming. An estimated 6 million people travel internationally each year to seek medical treatment, estimated around US$100 billion in 2012, growing at an annual rate of 20-30%. Many believe that China can be competitive globally, given its advantageous healthcare prices. Heart surgeries cost around one tenth of US prices while hip or knee replacements in Shanghai are more than 70% cheaper than in the US. Shanghai was among the first places in China to get serious about medical tourism.

UK ban on TCM sales to hurt Chinese clinics
Global Times , 3 September 2013

UK is expected to issue a ban on the sale of Chinese patent drugs in 2014, a move that could push many Chinese clinics out of business. The UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a notice on July 9, ordering major Chinese medicine stores in Britain to report their current TCM inventories. It was also planning to halt the sale of "Unlicensed Herbal Products," or Chinese patent drugs, in Britain next year. The plan will have a huge impact on the TCM community in Britain, according to Bo-ying Ma, president of the Federation of TCM, UK.

Energy... minus the caffeine? PepsiCo explores Chinese herbal extracts for fatigue relief
ewallstreeter.com , 3 September 2013

PepsiCo is exploring the potential of natural energy drinks containing Chinese herbal extracts that can alleviate fatigue and enhance sports performance without a big dose of caffeine. Experiments to determine the physiological effects of the extracts in various combinations were conducted on mice, and had showed that the mice took far longer to become exhausted during a burden swimming process. Biochemical analyses also revealed blood lactic acid in response to exercise was decreased, and also had a lower content of serum urea, and higher glycogen storages.

Chinese investment in ASEAN bloc more diverse
China Daily , 6 September 2013

New deals signed during the 10th China-ASEAN Expo suggest that Chinese companies are diversifying their investment portfolio in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Outbound investment to the ASEAN expanded from the traditional areas of mining exploration and manufacturing to include green technology, TCM and tourism. The volume of trade agreements made during the four-day event also rose. Next year's expo will take place on Sept 19 to 22 in Nanning.

KwaZulu-Natal becomes first state to poison rhino horn
wildlifenews.co.uk , 11 September 2013

Some private rhino conservancies have injected their rhino’s horns with chemicals, so that they are poisonous for use in TCM. South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) became the first state authority to announce that they have started to poison their rhino. Wildlife officials say that those who consume rhino horn originating from their state can expect ‘vomiting, diarrhoea, nerve disorders and other dose-related health problems.

TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare launch phase I 'Thunder God vine' trial for cancer
medicalxpress.com , 12 September 2013

Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) initiated the first-in-human clinical trial for pancreatic cancer patients using a compound derived from a plant known as "Thunder God vine." A chemical compound called triptolide is among the more than 100 bioactive ingredients derived from the plant. Preclinical studies showed a pharmaceutical version of the compound proved effective against pancreatic cancer cells, according to a study.

Wine snake bites captor after 3 months in the bottle
thedailymeal.com , 12 September 2013

Snake wine is considered a powerful medicine according to TCM and a woman had been told drinking it every day would cure her rheumatism. Three months ago she bought a live snake and stuffed it in a bottle, which she filled up with wine and capped. After drinking it every day for three months, she decided to top off the alcohol, which was getting low. But when she opened the bottle, the wine-soaked snake somehow still alive and presumably extremely hung over leapt out and bit her on the hand. The woman was treated for a snakebite and will be fine.

Bothered about menopause? Steer clear of certain foods
gladstoneobserver.com.au , 14 September 2013

According to Chinese medical theory, menopause occurs when a woman's body starts to preserve blood and energy in order to sustain her vitality and kidneys instead of sending blood and energy to the uterus. TCM does not recognize menopause as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual. Therefore, if 10 women are treated for hot flushes, each receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, lifestyle and dietary recommendations.

USP, ChP to host Int'l meet on quality standards for medicines on September 18-19 in Baltimore
pharmabiz.com , 14 September 2013

The United States Pharmacopoeial Convention and the Chinese Pharmacopoeial Commission in association with Drug Information Association are gearing up to host an International meet on “Partnering Globally for 21st Century Medicines.” The symposium is expected to focus on regulatory issues and quality standards related to the manufacture of chemical medicines, biologics, herbal and traditional medicines and excipients. The complex relationships between herbal medicines, TCM, and U.S. dietary supplements in national and global commerce are expected for discussions.

New NCCAOM Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine changes
healthcmi.com , 16 September 2013

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) seeks four major changes. They propose phasing out foreign language examinations for acupuncturists seeking Diplomate status, and requiring documentation of English language proficiency and criminal background checks. They also propose that providers of PDA coursework in the category of Core Competency must meet one some requirements: standard PDA provider, institutional provider, affiliated certification provider.

Clinic closed for cheating patients
Global Times , 16 September 2013

A private clinic in Shanghai had its license revoked for scamming patients with poor medical care and employing touts to lure people away from other hospitals with false promises, the Shanghai Municipal Health Inspection Institute announced. The TCM clinic was one of two clinics that city health inspectors shut down during a recent crackdown on illegal medical practices. Health inspectors have received 25 patient complaints about the clinic since 2012, they worked with police to arrest the touts hired by the clinic.

Does rutaecarpine relieve cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury?
phys.org , 16 September 2013

Rutaecarpine, an active component of the TCM, Tetradium ruticarpum, has been shown to improve myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury, mainly focusing on calcitonin gene-based targets. The study is reported by researches from the Hebei North University, and the mechanism may be associated with oxidative stress. These findings, published in the Neural Regeneration Research, can provide the experimental basis for rutaecarpine to become a drug in the prevention and treatment of cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury.

Metabolic markers and microecological characteristics of tongue coating in patients with chronic gastritis
7thspace.com , 17 September 2013

A study aimed to look at the biological bases of different tongue coatings and found that changes in glucose metabolism could possibly form the basis of tongue coating conformation in chronic gastritis patients. The study has revealed important connections between metabolic components, microecological components and tongue coating in chronic gastritis patients. It also concluded that compared with other diagnostic regimens, such as blood tests or tissue biopsies, tongue coating is more amenable to, and more convenient for, both patients and doctors.

Caterpillar fungus creating fortunes in Tibetan regions
wantchinatimes.com , 17 September 2013

Up in the Himalayas, caterpillar fungus can sell for up to RMB$120,000 per 1/2kg in Lhasa. In the areas where the fungus grows, schools will give students more than one month of "caterpillar fungus holiday." Parents can take their children to dig and collect the precious substance. Villagers in the production areas have exploded with wealth. Many have bought houses in Lhasa and only going back to their hometowns to dig up the golden fungus for two months of the year.

US pharmaceutical denies links to ‘cancer curing’ TCM
Global Times , 18 September 2013

US pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp denied a report saying that it splurged RMB$50 billion on the purchase of a “super” TCM prescription claimed could cure cancer. A report said a Hong Kong merchant who represented the company tried to buy a patent for cancer treatment prescription from the Anhui-based Jinfang Huaixia TCM Research Center. The prescription is one among a series of "super" traditional Chinese prescriptions developed by the research center. However, no information about the center's location could be found, the report was also deleted later.

Moxibustion must improve in quality: experts
China Daily , 18 September 2013

Moxibustion is becoming fashionable but much more needs to be done to maintain its popularity as well as improve the quality of moxibustion products, experts said. The biggest problem hindering the popularity of moxibustion is the lack of official and mandatory standards. Unlike other healthcare products, there are no official standards for moxibustion-related materials and tools. Manufacturers have different understanding of what quality products are, leading to consumer confusion.

Folk medicine studied
China Daily , 23 September 2013

More than 800 medical practitioners from all over the world have vowed to promote co-operation between Eastern and Western medicine at the 10th World Congress of Chinese Medicine held in Santa Clara of Northern California, where more than 300 practitioners were from China including many famous academics and researchers. The weekend's Congress also attracted some American graduates who are interested in Chinese Medicine for job opportunities.

Acupuncture and moxa cause sleep gain
healthcmi.com , 23 September 2013

A study concludes that a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of insomnia is effective. Researchers at the Henan University of TCM compared the treatments of insomnia. Group A received acupuncture combined with moxibustion while group B received only acupuncture. Group A had a success rate of over 87% and group B had a success rate of over 76%. There is an overall improvement of sleep quality, time to fall asleep and daytime function in the group receiving both.

Uyghur traditional medicine doctors tested in Chinese
rfa.org , 24 September 2013

A licensing exam requiring doctors of traditional Uyghur medicine to answer in Chinese is threatening the future practice, according to doctors from the ethnic minority group in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. In order to receive a license for practice, the doctors must pass an exam that contains questions given only in Chinese, and those who speak only the native language fail to attain the top-level qualification. Moreover, they cannot pass on the knowledge because they are not allowed to open clinics and train students.

Natural herb may be key to eradicating cancer cells
atlantablackstar.com , 26 September 2013

A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has revealed that a herb called thunder god vine possesses at least one unique compound capable of fully eradicating cancer tumors within 40 days. A research team from the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center discovered that when given an injectable extract form of lei gong teng, mice with pancreatic tumors experienced complete healing and recovery in less than five weeks. Even after discontinuing the treatment, the healed mice indefinitely maintained their healthy, cancer-free state with no signs of tumor resurgence or relapse.

Harmonising EU research on traditional Chinese medicines
cordis.europa.eu , 27 September 2013

EU-funded project GP-TCM ('Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research in the Post-Genomic Era') was set up to assess current EU research practice on the use, safety and efficacy of TCM, in particular focused on herbal medicines and acupuncture. The project also worked to strengthen EU collaboration with China in this field of research. It involved 200 scientists, clinicians and practitioners of TCM from 112 institutions in 24 countries. GP-TCM received EUR 1.1 million in funding from the EU and completed in October 2012.

Combining Chinese and Western medicine could lead to new cancer treatments
sciencecodex.com , 27 September 2013

Experts from Cardiff University's School of Medicine have joined forces with Peking University to test the health benefits of a TCM. The team also set-out to examine how by combining it with more traditional methods like chemotherapy could improve patient outcomes and potentially lead to the development of new cancer treatments and therapies. Funded by Cancer Research Wales and the Albert Hung Foundation, the results will be presented at the European Cancer Congress 2013.

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