Archive

Posts Tagged ‘World Health Organization’

Research Headache

February 22nd, 2012 4 comments

Greetings all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, so here we go – merry christmas, happy hanukah, happy new year, happy chinese new year happy valentine’s day yada yada been there done that.

What I wish to write about to day is a sharing of a personal experience with some research I’m involved with in the Philippine General Hospital, teaching hospital of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.

Yes, skeptics, there IS research being done in reputable state universities.  Then again the skeptics have already ignored the research done at the University of Vermont and the University of  Munich (click the links!) so why won’t they ignore this one?

Anyway, the research is supposed to be a cross-sectional study comparing the preventive effects of acupuncture versus propranolol in the treatment of migraine.  What I would like to comment on is the initial procedure that the residents wanted to do.

Initially, the idea of the other researchers was to pick a set of points and use that same set of points on EVERY PATIENT.  Following the principles of traditional chinese medicine, I said that that shouldn’t be the case.  I understand that their objective was to standardize the treatment.  I pointed out that chinese medicine emphasizes the root cause of the headache/migraine and address those causes.  The points to be used depend on those factors, as well as the location and nature of the pain.

wei shengchu 60 displays acupuncture needles in hi 2172839354 300x200 Research Headache

This is NOT how to treat headache using acupuncture.

In the end, what the protocol we submitted (which was subsequently approved by the appropriate committees) was that we would come up with a POOL of points to choose from.  Other factors would be there would only be ONE acupuncturist to diagnose, select from the pool and insert/manipulate the needles.  That will try to eliminate skill variation in practitioners.

When that study gets published, you guys will be the first to know about it!

 

P.S. – Gotta love this study

http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/acupuncturist-news-online/495-acupunctureceusbrainstrokerepair

share save 171 16 Research Headache

The Art of Chinese Medicine

November 15th, 2010 No comments

The past month has been brutal, scheduling wise.  I shan’t bore my handful of readers with the details of the non-essentials.  One of the things keeping me busy though, is having a 4th year medical student rotate with me in Traditional and Integrative Medicine.  For a whole month, I have a future M.D. to “convert” to Chinese medicine heh heh.

Anyway, during one of our rounds, she mentions to me that the subject of Chinese herbal medicine was brought up during her rounds with another doctor.  This other doctor encouraged her to study Philippine herbs instead of Chinese herbs because obviously, using indigenous resources is more cost-efficient than importing from China.  Also, indigenous materia medica would also be more apt and appropriate for the environment in which it grows.  Ma Huang works well in northern China for example, but not in tropical Philippines.

This got me thinking.  Just what IS the essence of Chinese medicine?  When I talk to most westerners about Chinese materia medica, most people think of stuff like Ginseng or Cordyceps.  In other words, they think about the individual materials.  Some folks with more experience might think of individual formulas – I know of a local nephrologist who actually tells patients with stones to take an over the counter stone “melting” formula from China with much success.

But is that what Chinese medicine is?  The individual materia medica?  The Formulae?

No.

The World Health Organization defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures that are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illnesses.”  If used outside it’s indigenous culture, it is termed alternative or complementary medicine.  (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs134/en/).

Hence, the idea of medicine is not the drugs, not the acupuncture, not the materia medica.  I’ve even given this example to medical students – if for example, a person takes a certain common antibiotic but uses it for “off-label” purposes (as is rampant in the Philippines), is that person practicing medicine?  Sure, that person is using a medical tool, but not based on the knowledge, skill, and practice on which the art of medicine is based.

Chinese medicine, it can be imputed, is not about the individual materia medica.  It is about the unique theory that the practice is based on.  In particular, Chinese herbal medicine is not about the individual materia, it is about how they are used and the framework in which they are used.

Ephedra has it’s specific indications in Chinese Medicine.  Weight loss is not one of them.  Therefore, using ephedra in weight loss  - even if the ephedra is a commonly used Chinese materia medica – is not practicing Chinese medicine.

American Ginseng is grown in Wisconsin in the United States.  Frankincense and Myrrh are more associated with the Middle than the Far East.  Yet all are used in Chinese herbal medicine so long as they can be made to fit within the tradition.

So how do I reconcile my student’s story with this?

Philippine herbs can be studied and classified according to the system of Four Natures and Five Tastes.  Once this is done, it is a matter of substituting appropriate local medicinals for the imported ones, but STILL WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF CHINESE MEDICAL THEORY.  Let’s take a formula – Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang – with two ingredients Dang Gui and Huang Qi.  What if we can find two local materials that can be used to replace either one (with dose adjustments of course).  We could help more people at less cost.

That would be a true integration of cultures.

share save 171 16 The Art of Chinese Medicine

WHO and Acupuncture

October 3rd, 2009 No comments

The World Health Organization has on its website an article entitled Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials (Link).  Not many western physicians are aware of this document and it’s recommendations.  It boggles my mind to no end how some folks can still, with a straight face, proclaim acupuncture as being effective only because of placebo effect.  For those who want to download, here’s a PDF.

The Document says,

People question whether acupuncture has a true therapeutic effect, or whether it works merely through the placebo effect, the power of suggestion, or the enthusiasm with which patients wish for a cure. There is therefore a need for scientific studies that evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture under controlled clinical conditions.

I totally agree.  If only to silence skeptics.

This publication reviews selected studies on controlled clinical trials. Some of these studies have provided incontrovertible scientific evidence that acupuncture is more successful than placebo treatments in certain conditions. For example, the proportion of chronic pain relieved by acupuncture is generally in the range 55-85%, which compares favourably with that of potent drugs (morphine helps in 70% of cases) and far outweighs the placebo effect (30-35%) (1-3). In addition, the mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia have been studied extensively since the late 1970s, revealing the role of neural and humoral factors.

Did you hear that skeptics?  “…incontrovertible scientific evidence…”  And since the LATE SEVENTIES.  There’s no excuse not to know about the research.

Anyway, I shan’t bore the casual reader with the rest of the details, except for the final list published by WHO.

1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved-through controlled trials-to be an effective treatment:

Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Biliary colic
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Dysentery, acute bacillary
Dysmenorrhoea, primary
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Headache
Hypertension, essential
Hypotension, primary
Induction of labour
Knee pain
Leukopenia
Low back pain
Malposition of fetus, correction of
Morning sickness
Nausea and vomiting
Neck pain
Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
Postoperative pain
Renal colic
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sciatica
Sprain
Stroke
Tennis elbow
2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:

Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
Acne vulgaris
Alcohol dependence and detoxification
Bell’s palsy
Bronchial asthma
Cancer pain
Cardiac neurosis
Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
Cholelithiasis
Competition stress syndrome
Craniocerebral injury, closed
Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
Earache
Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
Female infertility
Facial spasm
Female urethral syndrome
Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
Gastrokinetic disturbance
Gouty arthritis
Hepatitis B virus carrier status
Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
Hyperlipaemia
Hypo-ovarianism
Insomnia
Labour pain
Lactation, deficiency
Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
Ménière disease
Neuralgia, post-herpetic
Neurodermatitis
Obesity
Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
Osteoarthritis
Pain due to endoscopic examination
Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
Postextubation in children
Postoperative convalescence
Premenstrual syndrome
Prostatitis, chronic
Pruritus
Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
Raynaud syndrome, primary
Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Retention of urine, traumatic
Schizophrenia
Sialism, drug-induced
Sjögren syndrome
Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
Spine pain, acute
Stiff neck
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Tietze syndrome
Tobacco dependence
Tourette syndrome
Ulcerative colitis, chronic
Urolithiasis
Vascular dementia
Whooping cough (pertussis)
3. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:

Chloasma
Choroidopathy, central serous
Colour blindness
Deafness
Hypophrenia
Irritable colon syndrome
Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
Pulmonary heart disease, chronic
Small airway obstruction
4. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment:

Breathlessness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Coma
Convulsions in infants
Coronary heart disease (angina pectoris)
Diarrhoea in infants and young children
Encephalitis, viral, in children, late stage
Paralysis, progressive bulbar and pseudobulbar

Nuff said.  That’s the WHO talking.  Again, this was way back in 2003.  How can anyone NOT acknowledge this?

Makes my Liver Yang rise.

Reference:

World Health Organization.”Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials” WHO Website, 2003.  3 October 2009 <http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js4926e/1.html>

pixel WHO and Acupuncture
share save 171 16 WHO and Acupuncture

Switch to our mobile site