Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Pain significantly reduced, quality of life improved by integrative medicine interventions

English: graph of age-adjusted percent of adul...

English: graph of age-adjusted percent of adults who have used complementary and alternative medicine: United States, 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 24 July 2013 article at Medical News Today

 

An integrative approach to treating chronic pain significantly reduces pain severity while improving mood and quality of life, according to a new study from the Bravewell Practice-Based Research Network (BraveNet) published last month in BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. Researchers found a reduction in pain severity of more than 20 percent and a drop in pain interference of nearly 30 percent in patients after 24 weeks of integrative care. Significant improvements in mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and well-being were also observed.

In keeping with the integrative medicine philosophy of individualized, patient-centered care, no standardized pre-specified clinical intervention for chronic pain was prescribed for all study participants. Instead, practitioners at each of the network sites devised integrative treatment plans for participating chronic pain patients. All BraveNet sites include integrative physicians, acupuncturists, mindfulness instructors, and yoga instructors; some also incorporate massage therapists, manual medicine therapists, fitness/movement specialists, dietician/nutritionists, psychologists, healing touch therapists, and other energy practitioners.

 

 

July 24, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Herbal medicine: 6 tips to consider when talking to your patients

Pictures of herb samples from categories of Ch...

Pictures of herb samples from categories of Chinese Herbs Substances for Topical Application (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 4 July 2013 article at KevinMD.com

 

 | MEDS | JULY 4, 2013

Herbal medicines make most doctors cringe, laugh, or want to put blinders on and pretend they don’t exist. This is understandable. While allopathic medical education hammers pharmaceutical formulas and mechanisms of action into our brains, we learn little-to-nothing about herbs in medical school. Quite the opposite – we are most often told to uniformly discourage our patients from taking herbs out of concern for safety; a conversation stopper with little room for nuance.

In Western medicine, at best, herbs and plants are recognized for their role as an anchor ingredient in many pharmaceutical drugs. At worst, herbs are shunned for being unstudied and unregulated – fraught with reports of contamination, false-advertising and misuse by patients. This is thanks in large part to the Dietary Supplement Act of 1994, which allowed their sale without prescription.

Yet at least 15 million Americans say they take some form of herbal medication, and the dietary supplement market grosses $28 billion dollars annually. In other words, chances are that some of your patients are taking herbs, whether you know it or not.

First, some context: Not all herbs are restricted to mysterious Internet sites or eight hour energy drinks. Far from it. Tumeric root, a staple in Indian food, is a great example of an herbal medicine whose active ingredient, curcumin, has been proven to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, adaptogenic, and immunomodulatory properties. Not only has it been widely studied and used, but it also has basically no side-effects.

Ginger, cinnamon, not to mention others less likely to show up in your salad – milk thistle, for example – all have double-blind studies backing their claims. Indeed, many herbs can be a great sources of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and alkaloids, and have properties ranging from the anti-microbial to the anxiolytic. These anti-inflammatory properties can lend them a supportive role in the continuum of health and illness, helping nourish the body properly so it can do what it was designed to do – heal from and resist disease.

So how do you, as a Western doctor, with a responsibility to do no harm, approach herbs intelligently? The following is a pathway for addressing the use of herbal medicine in your practice even if you would never recommend an herb yourself.

1. Do your research. I find that the most easy-to-use and comprehensive guides are the online databases The Natural Standard, and The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, as well as the textbook, The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. For a quick reference, the National Institutes of Health also offers the online“Herbs At A Glance,” patient-focused resource with information on the most common Western herbs. Finally, the American Journal of Cardiology published two helpful lists in 2010 summarizing common herb-drug interactions and herbs to avoid in patients with cardiovascular diseases. The databases and textbook in particular offer a digestible run-down of efficacy, contraindications, side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy classification.

 

Read the entire article here

Related Resources

 

 

July 24, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Logo of the United States National Center for ...

Logo of the United States National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine , part of the National Institutes of Health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 From the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

 

Cancer and Complementary Health Approaches

Introduction

People with cancer want to do everything they can to combat the disease, manage its symptoms, and cope with the side effects of treatment. Many turn to complementary health approaches, including natural products, such as herbs (botanicals) and other dietary supplements, and mind and body practices, such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga.

This fact sheet was produced through a collaboration between the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It provides an introductory overview of complementary health approaches that have been studied for cancer prevention, treatment of the disease, or symptom management, including what the science says about their effectiveness and any concerns that have been raised about their safety.

 

Key Facts

  • Symptom management. A substantial amount of scientific evidence suggests that some complementary health approaches may help to manage some symptoms of cancer and side effects of treatment. For other complementary approaches, the evidence is more limited.
  • Disease treatment. At present, there is no convincing evidence that any complementary health approach is effective in curing cancer or causing it to go into remission.
  • Cancer prevention. A 2012 study indicated that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement may slightly reduce the risk of cancer in older men. No other complementary health approach has been shown to be helpful in preventing cancer.

 

Keep in Mind

  • Unproven products or practices should not be used to replace or delay conventional medical treatment for cancer.
  • Some complementary approaches can interfere with standard cancer treatments or have special risks for people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Before using any complementary health approach, people who have been diagnosed with cancer should talk with their health care providers to make sure that all aspects of their care work together.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

 

About Cancer

Cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymph system. Although cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, improvements in screening, detection, treatment, and care have increased the number of cancer survivors, and experts expect the number of survivors to continue to increase in the coming years. Detailed information on cancer is available from NCI at www.cancer.gov.

 

About Complementary Health Approaches

Complementary health approaches are a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products whose origins come from outside of mainstream medicine. They include such products and practices as herbal supplements, other dietary supplements, meditation, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture.

The same careful scientific evaluation that is used to assess conventional therapies should be used to evaluate complementary approaches. Some complementary approaches are beginning to find a place in cancer treatment—not as cures, but as additions to treatment plans that may help patients cope with disease symptoms and side effects of treatment and improve their quality of life.

 

Use of Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer

Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer use complementary health approaches.

  • According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, 65 percent of respondents who had ever been diagnosed with cancer had used complementary approaches, as compared to 53 percent of other respondents. Those who had been diagnosed with cancer were more likely than others to have used complementary approaches for general wellness, immune enhancement, and pain management.
  • Other surveys have also found that use of complementary health approaches is common among people who have been diagnosed with cancer, although estimates of use vary widely. Some data indicate that the likelihood of using complementary approaches varies with the type of cancer and with factors such as sex, age, and ethnicity. The results of surveys from 18 countries show that use of complementary approaches by people who had been diagnosed with cancer was more common in North America than in Australia/New Zealand or Europe and that use had increased since the 1970s and especially since 2000.
  • Surveys have also shown that many people with cancer do not tell their health care providers about their use of complementary health approaches. In the NHIS, survey respondents who had been diagnosed with cancer told their health care providers about 15 percent of their herb use and 23 percent of their total use of complementary approaches. In other studies, between 32 and 69 percent of cancer patients and survivors who used dietary supplements or other complementary approaches reported that they discussed these approaches with their physicians. The differences in the reported percentages may reflect differences in the definitions of complementary approaches used in the studies, as well as differences in the communication practices of different groups of patients.

 

Safety

  • Delaying conventional cancer treatment can decrease the chances of remission or cure. Do not use unproven products or practices to postpone or replace conventional medical treatment for cancer.
  • Some complementary health approaches may interfere with cancer treatments or be unsafe for cancer patients. For example, the herb St. John’s wort, which is sometimes used for depression, can make some cancer drugs less effective.
  • Other complementary approaches may be harmful if used inappropriately. For example, to make massage therapy safe for people with cancer, it may be necessary to avoid massaging places on the body that are directly affected by the disease or its treatment (for example, areas where the skin is sensitive following radiation therapy).
  • People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consult the health care providers who are treating them for cancer before using any complementary health approach for any purpose—whether or not it is cancer-related.

 

What the Science Says

No complementary health product or practice has been proven to cure cancer. Some complementary approaches may help people manage cancer symptoms or treatment side effects and improve their quality of life.

Incorporating Complementary Health Approaches Into Cancer Care

In 2009, the Society for Integrative Oncology issued evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for health care providers to consider when incorporating complementary health approaches in the care of cancer patients. The guidelines point out that, when used in addition to conventional therapies, some of these approaches help to control symptoms and enhance patients’ well-being. The guidelines warn, however, that unproven methods should not be used in place of conventional treatment because delayed treatment of cancer reduces the likelihood of a remission or cure.

A comprehensive summary of research on complementary health approaches for cancer is beyond the scope of this fact sheet. The following sections provide an overview of the research status of some commonly used complementary approaches, highlighting results from a few reviews and studies focusing on preventing and treating the disease, as well as managing cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.

Talking With Your Health Care Providers About Complementary Approaches and Cancer

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has resources that can help you talk with your health care providers about complementary approaches and cancer.

  • NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine has a workbook to help cancer patients and their health care providers talk about and keep track of complementary approaches that patients are using. You can download it here: cam.cancer.gov/talking_about_cam.html?cid=ARcam_camnews.
  • NCCAM’s Time to Talk campaign has tips to help both patients and health care providers discuss complementary health approaches.

Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects

Some complementary health approaches, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and yoga, may help people manage cancer symptoms or the side effects of treatment. However, some approaches may interfere with conventional cancer treatment or have other risks.People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consult their health care providers before using any complementary health approach.

  • There is substantial evidence that acupuncture can help to manage treatment-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. There is not enough evidence to judge whether acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer pain or other symptoms such as treatment-related hot flashes. Complications from acupuncture are rare, as long as the acupuncturist uses sterile needles and proper procedures. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body’s immune system, so it is especially important for acupuncturists to follow strict clean-needle procedures when treating cancer patients.
  • Recent studies suggest that the herb ginger may help to control nausea related to cancer chemotherapy when used in addition to conventional anti-nausea medication.
  • Studies suggest that massage therapy may help to relieve symptoms experienced by people with cancer, such as pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression. However, investigators have been unable to reach definite conclusions about the effects of massage therapy because of the limited amount of rigorous research in this field. People with cancer should consult their health care providers before having massage therapy to find out if any special precautions are needed. The massage therapist should not use deep or intense pressure without the health care providers’ approval and may need to avoid certain sites, such as areas directly over a tumor or those where the skin is sensitive following radiation therapy.
  • There is evidence that mindfulness-based stress reduction, a type of meditation training, can help cancer patients relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, and general mood and sleep disturbances, thus improving their quality of life. Most participants in mindfulness studies have been patients with early-stage cancer, primarily breast cancer, so the evidence favoring mindfulness training is strongest for this group of patients.
  • Preliminary evidence indicates that yoga may help to improve anxiety, depression, distress, and stress in people with cancer. It also may help to lessen fatigue in breast cancer patients and survivors. However, only a small number of yoga studies in cancer patients have been completed, and some of the research has not been of the highest quality. Because yoga involves physical activities, it is important for people with cancer to talk with their health care providers in advance to find out whether any aspects of yoga might be unsafe for them.
  • Various studies suggest possible benefits of hypnosis, relaxation therapies, and biofeedback to help patients manage cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
  • A 2008 review of the research literature on herbal supplements and cancer concluded that although several herbs have shown promise for managing side effects and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, pain, fatigue, and insomnia, the scientific evidence is limited, and many clinical trials have not been well designed. Use of herbs for managing symptoms also raises concerns about potential negative interactions with conventional cancer treatments.

Coping With Cancer

People who have cancer, or who have been treated for cancer, may have physical or emotional difficulties as a result of the disease or its treatment. Many conventional approaches can help people cope with these problems. For example, counseling may help people who are distressed about being diagnosed with cancer, medicines can control nausea related to chemotherapy, and exercise may help decrease treatment-related fatigue. Some people find that complementary approaches also help them cope with cancer and improve their quality of life. In addition, using complementary approaches can help people feel they are playing an active part in their own care. If you have cancer or if you have been treated for cancer, be sure to tell your health care providers about all approaches—both conventional and complementary—that you are using. Your health care providers need this information so they can make sure that all aspects of your care work well together. Additional information on coping with cancer is available from NCI at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping.

Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer Treatment

This section discusses complementary health approaches to directly treat cancer (that is, to try to cure the disease or cause a remission).

No complementary approach has been shown to cure cancer or cause it to go into remission. Some products or practices that have been advocated for cancer treatment may interfere with conventional cancer treatments or have other risks. People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consult their health care providers before using any complementary health approach.

  • Studies on whether herbal supplements or substances derived from them might be of value in cancer treatment are in their early stages, and scientific evidence is limited. Herbal supplements may have side effects, and some may interact in harmful ways with drugs, including drugs used in cancer treatment.
  • The effects of taking vitamin and mineral supplements, including antioxidant supplements,during cancer treatment are uncertain. NCI advises cancer patients to talk to their health care providers before taking any supplements.
  • A 2010 NCCAM-supported trial of a standardized shark cartilage extract, taken in addition to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, showed no benefit in patients with advanced lung cancer. An earlier, smaller study in patients with advanced breast or colorectal cancers also showed no benefit from the addition of shark cartilage to conventional treatment.
  • A 2011 systematic review of research on laetrile found no evidence that it is effective as a cancer treatment. Laetrile can be toxic, especially if taken orally, because it contains cyanide.

Beware of Cancer Treatment Frauds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have warned the public to be aware of fraudulent cancer treatments. Cancer treatment frauds are not new, but in recent years it has become easier for the people who market them to reach the public using the Internet.

Some fraudulent cancer treatments are harmful by themselves, and others can be indirectly harmful because people may delay seeking medical care while they try them, or because the fraudulent product interferes with the effectiveness of proven cancer treatments.

The people who sell fraudulent cancer treatments often market them with claims such as “scientific breakthrough,” “miraculous cure,” “secret ingredient,” “ancient remedy,” “treats all forms of cancer,” or “shrinks malignant tumors.” The advertisements may include personal stories from people who have taken the product, but such stories—whether or not they’re real—aren’t reliable evidence that a product is effective. Also, a money-back guarantee is not proof that a product works.

If you’re considering using any anticancer product that you’ve seen in an advertisement, talk to your health care provider first. Additional information on cancer-related health frauds is available from the FDA and from the FTC.

Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer Prevention

A large 2012 clinical trial has shown that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement may slightly reduce the risk of cancer in older men. No other complementary health approach has been shown to be helpful in preventing cancer, and some have been linked with increased health risks.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. The results of a study of older men completed in 2012 indicate that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement slightly reduces the risk of cancer. In this study, which was part of the Physicians’ Health Study II (a complex trial that tested several types of supplements), more than 14,000 male U.S. physicians were randomly assigned to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement or a placebo (an identical-appearing product that did not contain vitamins and minerals) for 11 years. Those who took the supplement had 8 percent fewer total cancers than those who took the placebo.

Other studies of vitamins and minerals—most of which evaluated supplements containing only one or a few nutrients—have not found protective effects against cancer. Some of these studies identified possible risks of supplementing with high doses of certain vitamins or related substances. Examples of research results include the following:

  • In another part of the Physicians’ Health Study II (not the part described above), supplementing with relatively high doses of either vitamin E or vitamin C did not reduce the risks of prostate cancer or total cancer in men aged 50 or older. Men taking vitamin E had an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain).
  • A 2010 meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials found no evidence that antioxidant supplements (vitamins A, C, and E; beta-carotene; and selenium) help to prevent cancer.
  • Two large-scale studies found evidence that supplements containing beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer among smokers.
  • The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), funded by NCI, NCCAM, and other agencies at NIH, showed that selenium and vitamin E supplements, taken either alone or together, did not prevent prostate cancer. It also showed that vitamin E supplements, taken alone, significantlyincreased the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men. There was no increase in prostate cancer risk when vitamin E and selenium were taken together. The doses of selenium and vitamin E used in this study were substantially higher than those typically included in multivitamin/mineral supplements.
  • Although substantial evidence suggests that calcium may help protect against colorectal cancer, the evidence of potential benefit from calcium in supplement form is limited and inconsistent. Therefore, NCI does not recommend the use of calcium supplements to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Other Natural Products. A 2009 systematic review of 51 studies with more than 1.6 million participants found “insufficient and conflicting” evidence regarding an association between consuming green tea and cancer prevention. Several other natural products, including Ginkgo biloba, isoflavones, noni, pomegranate, and grape seed extract, have been investigated for possible cancer-preventive effects, but the evidence on these substances is too limited for any conclusions to be reached.

Do You Want To Learn More About Cancer Prevention?

People can reduce their risk of cancer in many ways. They include avoiding exposure to agents that cause cancer (such as cigarette smoke), having tests (such as colonoscopies) that find precancerous conditions early, and, for some people who are at high risk, taking medicines to reduce cancer risk (chemoprevention). Additional information on cancer prevention is available from NCI.

 

NIH Research on Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer

Both NCI and NCCAM fund many laboratory studies and clinical trials related to cancer. Some ongoing studies are investigating:

  • The effects of genetic factors and intakes of calcium and magnesium on the risk of developing precancerous colorectal polyps
  • Mechanisms of action of natural products that may be of value in cancer prevention or treatment, such as bamboo extract, grape seed extract, white tea, red ginseng, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
  • The use of acupuncture for difficulty in swallowing after treatment for head and neck cancer
  • Mind and body practices to improve sleep in cancer patients.

Additional information is available from NCI and from NCCAM.

 

If You Have Been Diagnosed With Cancer and Are Considering a Complementary Health Approach

  • Cancer patients need to make informed decisions about using complementary health approaches. NCCAM and NCI have written a brochure that can help: Thinking About Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Guide for People With Cancer.
  • Gather information about the complementary health product or practice that interests you, and then discuss it with your health care providers. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is especially important to talk with your health care providers before you start using any new complementary health approach. If you are already using a complementary approach, tell your health care providers about it, even if your reason for using it has nothing to do with cancer. Some approaches may interfere with standard cancer treatment or may be harmful when used along with standard treatment. Examples of questions to ask include:
    • What is known about the benefits and risks of this product or practice? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
    • What are the potential side effects?
    • Will this approach interfere with conventional treatment?
    • Can you refer me to a practitioner?
  • Do not use any health product or practice that has not been proven safe and effective to replace conventional cancer care or as a reason to postpone seeing your health care provider about any health problem.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about complementary health approaches, seeNCCAM’s Time to Talk campaign.

 

Key References

 

For More Information

NCCAM Clearinghouse

The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information on NCCAM and complementary health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Toll-free in the U.S.:
1-888-644-6226
TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers):
1-866-464-3615
Web site:

National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute is the Federal Government’s lead agency for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine coordinates and enhances the National Cancer Institute’s activities in CAM research.

Toll-free in the U.S.:
1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Web site:

NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine

NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine coordinates and enhances NCI’s activities in complementary and alternative medicine research.

Information on complementary and alternative medicine in cancer treatment:www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cam-cancer-treatment/patient/page3/AllPages

Web site:

PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals.

NIH Clinical Research Trials and You

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a Web site, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You, to help people learn about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. The site includes questions and answers about clinical trials, guidance on how to find clinical trials through ClinicalTrials.gov and other resources, and stories about the personal experiences of clinical trial participants. Clinical trials are necessary to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases.

Acknowledgments

NCCAM thanks Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., German Cancer Research Center; Susan Folkman, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco; Jun James Mao, M.D., University of Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Austin, M.S., Robin Baldwin, B.S.N., Barbara McMakin, M.S., and Jeffrey White, M.D., National Cancer Institute; and Carol Pontzer, Ph.D., and John (Jack) Killen, Jr., M.D., NCCAM, for their contributions to the 2013 update of this publication.

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.

NCCAM has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCAM.

* Note: PDF files require a viewer such as the free Adobe Reader.

NCCAM Pub No.:
D453
Date Created:
September 2005
Last Updated:
May 2013
 

 

 

 

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Traditional Chinese Medicines – Some Are Dangerous

Herbal supplements

Herbal supplements (Photo credit: Ano Lobb. @healthyrx)

As I’ve stated in previous postings here, choose your alternative/traditional/complementary medicines and therapies wisely.
Also, include herbs, supplements and traditional medicines in “medications” lists you share with your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or any healthcare professional you are consulting.  Many of these non-prescription items can interfere with any prescription medicine you are taking.
The Related Resources section below has links to trusted resources. However, they are not meant to replace advice from you health care provider.

From the 14 April 2012 article at Medical News Today

Australian border officials seized 15 TCMs (traditional Chinese medicines), which researchers from the Murdoch University analyzed to reveal the animal and plant composition by using new DNA sequencing technology. The results, published in PLoS Genetics, showed that some of the analyzed TCM samples contained potentially toxic plant ingredients, allergens, as well as traces of endangered animals.Leading researcher, Dr. Bunce, and a Murdoch University Australian Research Council Future Fellow commented:

“TCMs have a long cultural history, but today consumers need to be aware of the legal and health safety issues before adopting them as a treatment option.”

Related Resources

  • HerbMed® 
    an interactive, electronic herbal database – provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource provided by the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc. This public site provides access to 20 of the most popular herbs.
  • Herbs at a Glance (US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
    a series of fact sheets that provides basic information about specific herbs or botanicals—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information.
  • Herbal Links
    a compilation of  sites that the researchers at the University of Iowa Drug Information Service consider to be the highest quality and most useful to pharmacists for finding information concerning herbal medicines.
  • Longwood Herbal Task Force
    This site has in-depth monographs about herbal products and supplements written by health professionals and students. It provides clinical information summaries, patient fact sheets, and information about toxicity and interactions as well as relevant links. The task force is a cooperative effort of the staff and students from Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

  • Drug Information Portal (US National Library of Medicine)
    Search by drug.  Information includes some basic resources (as that at MedlinePlus) plus some more technical ones (as Toxilogical Data and Literature)

  • Dietary Supplements Labels Database Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
  • NCCAM Director’s Page – It’s Time to Talk (March 13, 2012)
    • Time to Talk is a recently launched NCAAM series which encourages folks to discuss complementary health practices with their health care providersThe director notes the following
      • We know that nearly 40 percent of Americans use some kind of complementary health practice. But we also know that most patients do not proactively disclose use of complementary health practices to their health care providers. Likewise, most providers don’t initiate the discussion with their patients. As a physician, I strongly believe that patients and their health care providers need to talk openly about all of their health care practices to ensure safe, coordinated care. Talking not only allows fully integrated care, but it also minimizes risks of interactions with a patient’s conventional treatments.
    1. List the complementary health practices you use on your patient history form. When completing the patient history form, be sure to include everything you use—from acupuncture to zinc.  It’s important to give health care providers a full picture of what you do to manage your health.
    2. At each visit, be sure to tell your providers about what complementary health approaches you are using. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. Make a list in advance, or download and print this wallet card and take it with you. Some complementary health approaches can have an effect on conventional medicine, so your provider needs to know.
    3. If you are considering a new complementary health practice, ask questions. Ask your health care providers about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (both prescription and nonprescription).

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Complementary Health Practices Information from NCAAM

NCAAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) recently published these pages/articlers

  • Director’s Page – It’s Time to Talk (March 13, 2012)
    Time to Talk is a recently launched NCAAM series which encourages folks to discuss complementary health practices with their health care providers

    The director notes the following

    • We know that nearly 40 percent of Americans use some kind of complementary health practice. But we also know that most patients do not proactively disclose use of complementary health practices to their health care providers. Likewise, most providers don’t initiate the discussion with their patients. As a physician, I strongly believe that patients and their health care providers need to talk openly about all of their health care practices to ensure safe, coordinated care. Talking not only allows fully integrated care, but it also minimizes risks of interactions with a patient’s conventional treatments.

 

  1. List the complementary health practices you use on your patient history form. When completing the patient history form, be sure to include everything you use—from acupuncture to zinc.  It’s important to give health care providers a full picture of what you do to manage your health.
  2. At each visit, be sure to tell your providers about what complementary health approaches you are using. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. Make a list in advance, or download and print this wallet card and take it with you. Some complementary health approaches can have an effect on conventional medicine, so your provider needs to know.
  3. If you are considering a new complementary health practice, ask questions. Ask your health care providers about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (both prescription and nonprescription).

Don’t wait for your providers to ask about any complementary health practice you are using. Be proactive. Start the conversation.

  • NCCAM TiwtterChate – Join us for monthly Twitter Chats that cover a variety of health topics and complementary approaches. Each month, a different topic will be selected. An expert in scientific and health issues will be available to answer your questions. Most chats will occur on the last Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. ET. Dates, times, and topics may change, and will be announced on this page and through Twitter and Facebook.

    Find us on Twitter: @NCCAM. To participate, use the hashtag: #nccamchat.

    Upcoming Chats

    March 30, 2012 Time to Talk

    Time to Talk Campaign—an educational campaign to encourage patients and their health care providers to openly discuss the use of complementary health practices.

    April 26, 2012 Asthma and Complementary Approaches

    May 31, 2012 Yoga

 

 

 

March 16, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Headaches and Complementary Health Practices

Lady rubbing her temples of her head

From the November 2011 Clinical Digest item of NCAAM (US National Center for  Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Headaches are one of the most common forms of pain. More than 45 million Americans have headaches severe enough to require the help of a health care professional. Headaches occur when pain-sensitive nerve endings around the scalp, in the blood vessels that surround the skull, in the lining around the brain, and in other areas around the head send impulses to the part of the brain that interprets pain signals from the rest of the body. Some headaches are related to tender spots in head, neck, and shoulder muscles.

Researchers are studying treatments for different types of headaches, including a number of complementary health practices. This issue provides information on “what the science says” about the effectiveness and safety of selected complementary health practices for headaches, includingrelaxation trainingbiofeedbackacupuncturetai chicognitive-behavioral therapy,massagespinal manipulation, and dietary supplements.

Read more about what the science says

Jump to: Clinical Guidelines | Scientific Literature | Research Spotlights | Info for Patients

 


December 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Age-old remedies using white tea, witch hazel and rose may be beneficial


Researcher Tamsyn Thring at work in the laboratories at Kingston University London. (Credit: Image courtesy of Kingston University)

From the Science Daily article of Thu Dec 1, 2011 

Age-old remedies could hold the key to treating a wide range of serious medical problems, as well as keeping skin firmer and less wrinkled, according to scientists. Experts have discovered that white tea, witch hazel and the simple rose hold potential health and beauty properties which could be simply too good to ignore.

The research suggests a number of naturally-occurring substances may offer the hope of new treatments to block the progression of inflammation. It is credited with a major role in both the initiation and development of diseases ranging from cancer, diabetes and arthritis through to neuro-degenerative conditions and cardiovascular and pulmonary problems.

“For thousands of years people used natural remedies to try — and sometimes succeed — in curing their ailments and preserving their youth,” Professor Declan Naughton, from the University’s School of Life Sciences, said. “Now the latest research we have carried out suggests a number of naturally-occurring substances may offer the hope of new treatments to block the progression of inflammation.”….

….The new study builds on work undertaken by Professor Naughton and Kingston University PhD student Tamsyn Thring, along with the technical team from Neal’s Yard. They tested 21 plant extracts for evidence of their efficiency in fighting cancer and also in the battle against aging. Of the 21 extracts, three — white tea, witch hazel and rose — showed considerable potential, with white tea displaying the most marked results. “Indeed it appeared that drinking a simple cup of white tea might well help reduce an individual’s risk of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or even just age-associated wrinkles,” Professor Naughton said.

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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