Placebo effect may be at play in acupuncture studies: analysis

June 28, 2007  
Filed under Acupuncture

Reuters Health – Acupuncture can bring some relief to people with knee arthritis, but the benefits may be at least partly from a placebo effect, a new research review suggests. Read more

Echinacea halves risk of catching cold, study concludes

June 25, 2007  
Filed under Cold & Flu

CBC – Echinacea (紫錐花), a herb widely used to fight the sniffles, helps reduce the risk of getting the common cold and shortens its duration, a new review suggests.

In the July issue of the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers analyzed the results of 14 published trials on echinacea, or purple coneflower. The beneficial effect was seen after combining results from 1,600 participants. Read more

Acupuncture stimulates brain metabolism in dementia patients

June 25, 2007  
Filed under Acupuncture, Aging

acupuncture, dementiaCM NEWS – Needling specific acupoints may help patients with dementia, a recently published study shows. The acupoint combo seems to increase cerebral glucose metabolism in the brain, as indicated by cerebral functional imaging. Read more

UK pharm has high hope in new TCM dementia drug

June 23, 2007  
Filed under Aging

Anemarrhena Rhizome (zhi muCM NEWS – A group of Chinese scientists has finished pre-clinical research for its new anti-dementia drug, dubbed NJS, which is derived from traditional Chinese medicine substances. NJS has just become the first TCM drug that its patent licence is being sold to a UK pharmaceutical firm. Read more

FDA issues manufacturing standards for dietary supplements

June 23, 2007  
Filed under TCM use & research

PRWire – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released its long-awaited final regulation on good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements.

The rule, according to the FDA, will ensure that “dietary supplements are produced in a quality manner, do not contain contaminants or impurities, and are accurately labeled.”

“We think the final regulation is strong, but more reasonable than the proposed version. It offers a more flexible framework in meeting standards, such as testing and facility design. This will help smaller companies control costs — costs that would have been be passed along to the consumer — while still maintaining quality standards,” said David Seckman, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association.

“At 800-plus pages we’ll need to take a longer, more careful look at this document to fully determine its impact on the industry and consumers, but it appears that FDA took some of our concerns into account.”

The regulations establish controls throughout the manufacturing process, including packaging, labeling, and storing, to ensure quality and purity standards are met. The final rule includes requirements for establishing quality control procedures, designing and constructing manufacturing plants, and testing ingredients and the finished product. It also includes requirements for recordkeeping and handling consumer product complaints.

“With heightened consumer concern over the safety of food ingredients, particularly those coming from overseas, this new regulation should help to increase consumer confidence in the dietary supplement products they buy,” said Seckman. “Consumers want to be assured that what’s on the label is in the bottle — nothing more, nothing less — and this regulation aims to make sure that is the case.”

The regulation released today will be officially published in the Federal Register next week. In addition to the final regulation on good manufacturing practices, the agency also issued an “interim final rule” for identity testing that will allow the public and others to comment.

Information about both the final GMP regulation and interim final rule can be found on the FDA Web site.

The Natural Products Association is the industry leader in self-regulation, having established its own GMP certification program for dietary supplements in 1999. This program is based upon third party inspections of manufacturing facilities to determine whether specified performance standards are being met. These standards include many of the same specifications seen in the final regulation.

The Natural Products Association is the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. The association represents nearly 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids.

How does ginseng kill cancer cells?

June 21, 2007  
Filed under Cancer

CM NEWS – Ginseng, a herbal medicine used extensively for centuries in oriental medicine including Chinese, Korean and Japanese as a general tonic to promote longevity can be effective in combating cancer, diabetes, stress, fatigues and oxidants. These effects of ginseng are mainly attributed to a group of compounds called ginsenosides, which recent studies indicate that they might act in a similar way as steroid hormones. Read more

Machoism’s effect? Most men avoid preventive health measures: survey

June 18, 2007  
Filed under Men's health

PRNewswire – From skipping important health screenings to avoiding a visit to the doctor altogether, new results from a survey released by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) indicate men continue to fall short when it comes to managing their personal health.

The AAFP recently surveyed 2,282 men and women across the country about their health behaviours.

Among the findings:

  • More than half (55%) of all men surveyed have not seen their primary care physician for a physical exam within the past year.
  • Four in 10 (42%) men have been diagnosed with at least one of the following chronic conditions: high blood pressure (28%), heart disease (8%), arthritis (13%), cancer (8%) or diabetes (10%).
  • Almost one in five men (18%) 55 years and older have never received the recommended screening for colon cancer.
  • More than one out of four men (29%) say they wait “as long as possible” before seeking help when they feel sick or are in pain or are concerned about their health.

Despite this, almost 8 in 10 (79%) men describe themselves as in “Excellent,” “Very Good,” or “Good” health.

Men in the United States may not be as healthy as they say they are. The survey showed men spend an average of 19 hours a week watching television, and more than four hours a week watching sports, but just slightly more than one- third (38%) of men exercise on a regular basis.
And, the CDC estimates, almost three out of four (71%) men are overweight.

“One of the biggest obstacles to improving the health of men is men themselves,” said Rick Kellerman, M.D., President of the AAFP. “They don’t make their health a priority. Fortunately, 78 percent of the men with a spouse or significant other surveyed say their spouse or significant other has some influence over their decision to go to the doctor.”

Family physicians focus on prevention and the early detection of illness by treating the whole person and the whole family — men, women, children, and the elderly. Family physicians provide routine check-ups,health-risk assessments, immunizations, screening tests and personalized counseling on healthy lifestyle choices. They also manage chronic illnesses and coordinate care, when appropriate, with other specialists.

“Many men are unaware that simple screening tests and lifestyle changes can dramatically improve their quality of life,” Kellerman said. “Family physicians are well equipped to address men’s physical, mental and emotional health concerns and provide the medical guidance necessary to keep them in the best of health.”

For more information on men’s health and other family health topics, please visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians between April 30 and May 2, 2007, among 2,282 adults (aged 18 and older) 1111 of which were men. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 2,282, one could say with a 95% probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 5 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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