Home > Current Events > Year 2015 May
A review of stories making the headlines

Mexican doctors to train in acupuncture to fight obesity
Ghana News Agency, 28 April 2015

Mexican doctors will train in acupuncture and other alternative medical techniques thanks to an agreement between local officials from Mexico and China. The agreement, signed between Mexico City's Secretariat of Health and the Chinese City of Zhengzhou, aims to help fight obesity and chronic diseases, to exchange experiences and promote cooperation to help boost the use of alternative therapies.

Slapping therapy death of Sydney boy aged seven appalls Chinese medicine experts
Dailytelegraph.com.au , 1 May 2015

Experts in Chinese medicine say they have never heard of "slapping therapy" or the self-proclaimed healer Hongchi Xiao at the centre of a police investigation into the death of a diabetic Sydney boy this week. They say his practice sounds more like a cult than a legitimate procedure. Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association acting CEO Judy James confirmed he was not a member of her organization.

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra join forces with a cappella Yat Po Singers in theatre production
Scmp.com , 4 May 2015

Like other modern harmonizers, a four-man outfit delivers inventive mash-ups of songs from classical to jazz. And being Hongkongers, they bring Canto-pop, Chinese folk and Peking opera into the mix too. Their new performance is in combination with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, titled "Herbal, Vocal or Motional?" which is a light-hearted exploration of concepts in traditional Chinese medicine mixing storytelling, movement and fresh arrangements of familiar tunes.

Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking
Nursingtimes.net , 4 May 2015

A systematic review suggested there is inconsistent evidence from randomized trials to support the theory that active acupuncture or related techniques increase the success rate in smoking cessation. There is a need for well-designed research studies into acupuncture, acupressure and laser stimulation, since these are popular interventions. However, the review suggests some techniques are safe when applied correctly and can be better in the short-term compared with doing nothing at all.

Ancient Chinese remedy applicable to modern medicine: study
Zeenews.india.com , 7 May 2015

An ancient Chinese remedy for healing wounds could be useful for removing raised scars called hypertrophic scars. Chen Fan of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is probing the active components of shikonin, a dried root of plant called Lithospermum erythrorhizon. The result suggests that shikonin could be used as a powder on a hypertrophic scar three months after the wound has healed to reduce the scarring and perhaps return the scar to a normal healed wound.

CAM for psoriasis: evidence-based approaches for clinicians
Empr.com , 7 May 2015

A review in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology looks at data from clinical trials on psoriasis and CAM. Use of TCM with routine therapies is supported by mounting evidence from controlled trials that this combination can be more effective than routine therapy alone. Potential risks include contamination of TCM products with heavy metals or corticosteroids, systemic toxicity or contact dermatitis from herbal supplements, clinicians should discuss these with their patients.

TCM ingredient sellers forced to close
Ecns.cn , 7 May 2015

Seven market stores in Harbin of Heilongjiang Province, have been closed down on suspicion of selling fake and substandard medicinal herbs. Harbin is known for its vendors of TCM ingredients, but is also home to numerous unscrupulous traders, according to a report by China Central Television. After the CCTV show aired, officials raided the markets and closed down the seven stores. They also confiscated 187 batches of "suspect" products.

TCM services to be promoted worldwide under China State Council
Xinhua , 9 May 2015

The State Council of China's cabinet, published a five-year plan to promote TCM that aims to increase the role of TCM in health care and make TCM products and services more competitive abroad. Services on health maintenance, recovery, and elderly care are all included. Private companies will be encouraged to invest in TCM services and favorable policies will be rolled out to support development.

'Harley Street' clinics promoting leeches and acupuncture are subject of formal complaints
Telegraph.co.uk , 10 May 2015

Harley Street clinics promoting the use of leeches, herbal medicine and acupuncture have been subject to a complaint to advertising authorities after featuring in a BBC documentary. The Good Thinking Society, a charity which pledges to promote rational debate, has submitted a dossier to ASA, accusing the companies of making more than 200 misleading claims in their publicity, which it says could jeopardise patients' health.

Viagra sales in China rocketed by 47 percent last year
Shanghaiist.com , 11 May 2015

Pfizer is reaping the benefits of its educational campaign about erectile dysfunction in China, which helped sales of Viagra to surge by 47% last year. Previously, men had turned to TCM techniques to treat their impotency issues. Pfizer's campaigns about ED have kept users loyal despite the fact that Viagra lost its patent protection last year and cheaper competitors have been emerging.

Book reveals China's roadmap for TCM
Womenofchina.cn , 13 May 2015

According to a recent survey by the Social Science Academic Press, only 29% of the respondents in Beijing said that they sought medical help from TCM practitioners often, and 67.8% said that they seldom resorted to TCM healthcare services, while 3.2% never used such treatments. Blue Book of TCM Culture: Report on TCM Culture Communication Development of Beijing 2015 is the first of an annual series of reports, and the survey will expand to other parts of the country.

Psychiatry and Buddhism trending as China seeks inner peace
Wantchinatimes.com , 13 May 2015

China has seen a surge in the number of people seeking inner peace, the incidences of depression, anxiety disorder and schizophrenia are higher than the global average. People desperately want to find a way to maintain inner peace at a time of rapid change and regular anxiety. Buddhism has become the top choice for most people, the number of Buddhist venues growing from 13,000 in 1997 to 33,000 in 2013, and people have also become interested in meditation.

Tibetan medicine book declared as part of national heritage list
En.yibada.com , 18 May 2015

The Chinese government has declared a classic book on Tibetan medicine to be listed as national heritage in a bid to protect and preserve the knowledge about the endangered ethnic medicine. The Four Volumes of Medicine was first published in Tibet in 1546, and is widely regarded as the most systematic and most complete book on Tibetan medicine. It consists of 156 chapters.

Healthcare reform has macroeconomic implications
China Daily , 19 May 2015

The nation's healthcare sector has evolved erratically since 1949, much of the Chinese population was left without adequate access to health services, especially in rural areas. There are important macroeconomic dimensions to healthcare reform in China. Healthcare has been labor-intensive, offering the prospect of a wide range of good jobs for increasingly educated young Chinese. Another even more important issue in the long run is efficiency in resource allocation.

Congo bans Chinese medicine
Worldbulletin.net , 20 May 2015

Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have slapped a ban on Chinese hospitals and physicians practicing traditional Chinese medicine. The ban came after practitioners were found to be using magnetic analyzers and unauthorized food supplements. There are around 10,000 Chinese people living in the DRC, mostly in the capital Kinshasa and the southeastern province of Katanga.

Traditional Chinese medicine 'thunder god vine' causes massive weight loss in obese mice
Ibtimes.co.uk , 21 May 2015

An extract from a plant commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine has been found to have a huge weight loss effect on obese mice. Thunder god vine is used traditionally for fever, chills and edema. Scientists have now found it may be an effective treatment for obesity. The study, published in the journal Cell, found that an extract in thunder god vine called Celastrol enhances the action of leptin, an appetite suppressing hormone.

University to teach traditional Chinese medicine
Timesofmalta.com , 24 May 2015

A TCM centre is to be set up at the University of Malta's Msida campus, and a collaborative joint master programme in TCM and Culture is expected to be launched at the university. The centre will enable healthcare and medical practitioners to acquire skills in clinical practice of TCM to complement their theoretical studies. This is the first time that a Shanghai university has launched a course and opened such a centre outside China.

Valuable cattle gallstones in Toowoomba stolen and recovered
Brisbanetimes.com.au , 27 May 2015

A 38-year-old man has been charged with stealing cattle gallstones, which can apparently sell for as much as $20,000 a kilogram. The stones are used in TCM under the belief they can treat hepatitis and other liver and heart-related diseases. The Australian Medical Association warns there is a substantial gap between the use of complementary medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine, and the evidence to support that use.

Press Digest: Chinese medicine operators strongly against liquor sale ban
Thesundaily.my , 27 May 2015

The decision by the Petaling District and Land Office to ban Chinese medical halls under its jurisdiction from selling liquor has raised the ire of operators. Petaling district officer said the ban does not cover herbal alcoholic drinks. The notice was issued following a unanimous decision of the council's committee at its meeting that the sale of liquor in Chinese medicine shops is inappropriate. The ban takes an immediate effect.

Marginalized: Taiwan's box turtle the loser in Chinese shell game
Wantchinatimes.com , 29 May 2015

Taiwan's yellow-margined box turtles are being overharvested at an alarmingly high rate in order to be shipped to China where wealthy business people view the animal as an investment opportunity. In 2010 alone, over 20 tonnes of the turtles were smuggled across the Taiwan Strait. The numbers have been declining sharply in Taiwan ever since, with around four tonnes of turtles shipped illegally each year.

Almost 50% of traditional medicine shops in the country sell illegal bear products
Therakyatpost.com , 29 May 2015

Products containing illegal bear-derived items such as gall bladders and bile continue to be available in 175 of 365 traditional medicine shops surveyed across the country. Nearly 60% of 298 bear gall bladders observed for sale were claimed to be from wild Sun Bears killed locally through opportunistic and deliberate poaching activities. According to a study titled Hard to Bear: An assessment of trade in bear bile and gall bladder in Malaysia.

Four charged over unlicensed medical clinics in Battambang
Cambodiadaily.com , 30 May 2015

Three Chinese men and a Cambodian were charged for operating unlicensed medical facilities and supplying spoiled or fake drugs. The four were arrested some five months after the first signs of a HIV outbreak, more than 250 people test positive for the virus. The spread of HIV has been blamed on Yem Chrin, an unlicensed practitioner who offered cheap medical services in the area and has been jailed on murder charges after confessing to reusing syringes.

Yunnan Baiyao admits to buying substandard gingko extract
Wantchinatimes.com , 31 May 2015

The manufacturer of Yunnan Baiyao has released a statement admitting that it had purchased 6.9 tonnes of ginkgo extract from two suppliers. According to China's Food and Drug Administration, one of the two suppliers illegally used hydrochloric acid instead of the approved homeopathic alcohol to extract ginkgo and sell the product to pharmaceutical companies. The other used ginkgo extracted through the same method to produce medicine. The authority has ordered a recall of all medicine tainted by the products.

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