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 Vav Simon
(Mhairi Simon)

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News about Natural Therapies

July 2012: Drug Company Guilty of Fraud - Reuters

GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanour criminal charges and pay $3 billion (1.9 billion pounds) to settle what government officials on Monday described as the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history.

The agreement, which still needs court approval, would resolve allegations that the British drugmaker broke U.S. laws in the marketing and development of pharmaceuticals.

March 2012: The Age of Safe Medicine is Ending - The Independent

The world is entering an era where injuries as common as a child's scratched knee could kill, where patients entering hospital gamble with their lives and where routine operations such as a hip replacement become too dangerous to carry out, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

There is a global crisis in antibiotics caused by rapidly evolving resistance among microbes responsible for common infections that threaten to turn them into untreatable diseases, said Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO. She said that every antibiotic ever developed was at risk of becoming useless.

"A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it." She called for measures to tackle the threat by doctors prescribing antibiotics appropriately, patients following their treatment and restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals.

February 2012: Swiss Government recommends Homeopathy - Huffington Post

The Swiss government has a long and widely-respected history of neutrality, and has just affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland's national health insurance program. 

In late 2011, the Swiss government's report on homeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government and was just published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011).

The Swiss government's inquiry into homeopathy and complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments resulted from the high demand and widespread use of alternatives to conventional medicine in Switzerland, not only from consumers but from physicians as well.

December 2011: Acupuncture can treat Laminitis - theHorse

Acupuncture is a relatively simple treatment option veterinarians and horse owners consider for a variety of equine ailments, but little scientific evidence of its efficacy exists--particularly in regards to treating laminitis. Lisa Lancaster, MSc, PhD, DVM, of Lancaster Veterinary Services, in Denver, Colo., explored how this complementary therapy can be used as part of a multimodal approach to treating laminitis at the 6th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, held Oct. 28-31 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

In Lancaster's experience, clinicians or horse owners typically see a positive response after two to three acupuncture treatments; but as with any treatment method, it's not going to work 100% of the time. "Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with standard protocols, both medical and surgical," she concluded. "The safety profile and lack of contraindications make acupuncture worth trying in all laminitis patients."

November 2011: Complementary therapies help Health Services

Some interesting reports arrived from other countries this week:

  1. A study lasting five years has revealed that Canadian people who practice transcendental meditation have lower health costs. The researchers say that this result could well have a significant impact on policy decisions. With up to 70% of the total expenditure on medical treatment in the US being taken up by 10% of the population, any effect on that figure can have far reaching financial benefits.

  2. According to a recent survey by the American Hospital Association and the Samueli Institute, a non-profit research group focusing on complementary medicine, 42 percent of the 714 hospitals that responded offered at least one such therapy in 2010, a significant jump from just five years earlier, when 27 percent of hospitals offered such treatments. Experts say hospitals are embracing these therapies for many reasons, including a growing recognition that some integrative therapies, as they’re also called, are very effective in some instances.

  3. In France, research on cost-effectiveness has shown that the annual cost to the Social Security System for homeopathic treatment is 15% less than that of conventional treatment and the price of the average course of homeopathic medicine is one third that of standard drugs.

October 2011: Ouch - Back Pain Guidelines Ignored - College of Medicine

Back pain is the biggest cause of absenteeism in the UK yet one in three GPs is not able to offer patients the full treatments recommended by the NICE (the National Institution for Clinical Excellence). A survey of GPs by the College of Medicine today reveals that, despite acupuncture, massage and manipulation being recommended in more serious cases, 32 per cent had not actioned them. Yet guidelines have been in effect nearly 2 years.

 

September 2011: Malnutrition: another side effect of medicine? - Healthy Pages

According to the Department of Health and Human Resources a minimum of one prescription drug is being taken by 50% of Americans. Nutritional deficiency is one of the possible side effects of taking prescribed drugs, however, many people are totally unaware of this.

September 2011: Chiropractic Tops Satisfaction Survey - Consumer Health

45,601 consumers answered an online survey in the US to say that Chiropractic outperformed all other back-pain treatments. Prescribed medication came second, but the method most people used (over-the-counter medication) came twelfth out of twenty methods.

August 2011: Healthcare workers use more Therapies - Massage Magazine

Health care workers in the USA use complementary and alternative medicine, at a rate greater than the general public's, new research shows... Overall, 76% of healthcare workers reported having used at least one complementary therapy in the past year compared with 63% of the general population.

  • Back, neck or joint pain were the most commonly reported health conditions

  • The least common reason was that traditional medical care in the USA was too expensive.

July 2011: 'Scientific Fraud' is under the microscope. - The Guardian

The Guardian reports that perhaps “scientists are no more trustworthy than restaurant managers or athletes. Restaurant kitchens are checked because some of them are dirty. Athletes are drug-tested because some of them cheat. Old people's homes, hospitals and centres for the disabled are subjected to random inspections. But oh-so-lofty scientists plough on unperturbed..."

In the meantime, the new College of Medicine has been born from ashes of Prince Charles's holistic health charity. It aims to raise the acceptance of "an integrated approach to health" among doctors, politicians and the public by running courses and publishing books, journals and films. Doctors who endorse integrated medicine believe it improves patients' wellbeing by considering their beliefs and personal circumstances and helping them look after their own health.

An interesting choice of name - it aims to "re-define what good medicine means"...

July 2011: Antibiotic resistance grows in horses too - The Horse

While parasite resistance is currently a hot topic in the equine community, so is antimicrobial resistance. The growth in antibiotic-resistant bacteria since the drugs become commonplace in the 1930s and '40s is "sobering."

 

"...antimicrobial drugs should be used with caution and only in cases with an appropriate need for treatment."

May 2011: Conventional Doctors Using Unconventional Medicine - The Independent

A new study from from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School researchers found one in 30 American have been referred for non-traditional therapies by their health-care provider. This 3 percent represents more than 6.3 million Americans.
 

The findings suggest physicians may be sending patients for mind, body therapies as a last resort, when conventional treatment has failed.

"These data suggest that mind-body therapies have really become a mainstream approach to care," adds Russell Phillips, MD, senior author on the study. Prior research suggested that holistic treatments, while used by millions of patients, were still on the fringe of mainstream medical care in America. New research suggests that attitudes are changing.

  • More than a third of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine and that number continues to rise.
     

  • The World Health Organization reports that more than 70 percent of the world's population uses holistic medicine as their primary form of health care.

Clearly these figures show that holistic therapies are generally safe, and are increasingly accepted as useful by doctors who are bound by their rules to try 'modern medicine' first. It is telling that those referred are 'sicker' than those who choose it themselves - that is more vulnerable, so a greater risk of going to law if the referral fails - so these doctors must trust the therapy!

April 2011: An apple a day... - Better Health Research

A study presented at the annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that mature women who consumed dried apples every day for a year experienced a 23 percent decrease in low-density lipoprotein, otherwise known as bad cholesterol.

 

Herbal remedies and old wives tales...?

January 2011: Homeopathy Works! - Daily Mail

A study found that allergy sufferers who were given homeopathic treatment were ten times more likely to be cured than those given a dummy pill instead.
[Our underlining!]

Doctors should be more positive about the alternative medicine, which is the only complementary therapy available on the NHS, the said researchers at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, one of five specialist hospitals in Britain.

December 2010: Even obvious placebos work! - The Guardian

Placebos can help patients feel better, even if they are fully aware they are taking a sugar pill, according to an unusual experiment funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which aimed to better understand the "placebo effect."
 

Most medical researchers and practitioners have assumed that a placebo will not work if the patient knows it is a placebo. This study shows that this is not a safe assumption - other factors are at work: not chemical and not simple suggestion or 'belief'...

October 2010: The Placebo Has No Standard! - Science Daily

In most drug trials, there are two groups of volunteers. One group is given the active drug that is on trial and the other group are given a placebo; a pill without the drug in it. Both groups need to believe they are taking the drug so that human factors such as ‘belief’ or ‘expectation of results’ does not interfere with the trial.
 
However, Professor Beatrice Golomb, MD from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, says: "There isn't anything actually known to be physiologically inert. On top of that, there are no regulations about what goes into placebos, and what is in them is often determined by the makers of the drug being studied, who have a vested interest in the outcome.”

 

Scientists were originally warned about this problem 15 years ago through the high-credibility journal Nature.

June 2010: Swine flu 'vastly overrated by World Health Organisation' - Daily Mail

The Council of Europe last night also accused the UN's health arm of 'grave shortcomings' in the process that led it to declare a pandemic last year. Plummeting confidence in health advice could prove 'disastrous' in the event of a severe future pandemic, parliamentarians at the Strasbourg-based senate said. 

Predictions of a 'plague' that would wipe out up to 7.5million people allowed pharmaceutical companies to profit to the tune of £4.6billion from the sale of vaccines alone. 

June 2010: Alternative Medicine Sales Booming - HealthyPages

Even though economic conditions are far from good, the sales of alternative medicines are rising. The Daily Mail, a UK newspaper reported a study that revealed how the alternative medicine market in the UK has grown by 18% in the last two years making it worth £213 million yearly. In the next four years that is forecast to rise to £282 million.
 
What is especially interesting in the study is that the rise in purchases of alternative medicines also includes categories that are not so well known such as Indian ayurvedic medicine. The U.S. has also experienced a rise in sales to the tune of $639 million but at a lower percentage rate of 10%. 

June 2010: Scientists Discover How Acupuncture Works - HealthyPages

A team of university scientists have discovered how acupuncture works to reduce or eliminate pain. Researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center found that a molecule called adenosine is responsible for the pain reducing effects as well as other benefits that acupuncture brings.
 
Adenosine is a natural compound found in the body that influences the sleep pattern, heart health and possesses anti inflammatory qualities. It is also known to be an effective natural pain killer by inhibiting nerve signals in damaged skin.

(It is also a vital part of DNA! - DS)

May 2010: Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health Succeeds! - Press Release

The Trustees feel that The Foundation has achieved its key objective of promoting the use of integrated health. Since The Foundation was set up in 1993, integrated health has become part of the mainstream healthcare agenda, with over half a million patients using complementary therapies each year, alongside conventional medicine.

From 2000-2007, at the request of the Department of Health, The Foundation ran a regulation programme which resulted in the creation, in 2008, of an independent self-regulatory body for complementary therapy, called the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

On 1st April 2010, the Secretary of State for Health announced plans to introduce statutory regulation for herbalists and to consider the equivalent for acupuncture.

April 2010: Placebos work with dogs! - Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine

When placebos are given to epileptic dogs, they work well enough for the researchers to say that this effect could interfere with the results of drug trials that assume there is no other factor having any effect.

So... perhaps this means:
1. that natural therapies might work by methods different to normal medicines
2. that normal medicines may not produce all the benefits seen
3. that lower cost & fewer side-effects may be good outcomes
4. that dogs receive TLC by this method and appreciate it - as we do too!

February 2010: Was Swine Flu 'pandemic' a Fake? - Healthy Pages

The Council of Europe‘s Parliamentary Assembly has accepted that there is a need to launch an enquiry into Swine Flu. This is due to serious allegations of gross conflicts of interest of the experts who were advising the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare that swine flu was a pandemic.

Of specific concern is the fact that out of the 20 members of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), 11 of them are either linked to pharmaceutical companies via their universities or have profited from work they have done for them. Some of the scientists have declared that they have interests in GlaxoSmithKline, which as a manufacturer of Swine flu vaccines has been poised to benefit the most due to the pandemic.

November 2009: EU to fund research - The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health

The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health welcomes news that the EU is to put €1.5 million into complementary medicine research over the next three years.

Professor George Lewith, who heads the CAM research unit at Southampton University, is one of the project’s co-ordinators and a Foundation Fellow. He said: 'More than 100 million people in Europe and the UK are regular users of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 'Yet compared with conventional medicine, there is a lack of research, very little funding and not enough scientific co-operation.'

September 2009: Herbs 'can be natural pesticides' - BBC

Common herbs and spices show promise as an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides, scientists have told a major US conference.

Some spice-based commercial products now being used by farmers have already shown success in protecting organic strawberry, spinach, and tomato crops against destructive aphids and mites. An additional advantage is that insects are less likely to evolve resistance and these products are also safer for farm workers, who are at high risk for pesticide exposure, as well children using household pesticides. This comes at a point when the Prime Minister will be advised that common pesticides are killing bees - who may be facing disastrous decline.

August 2009: Regulating more complementary therapies - The Prince's Foundation

As a long standing campaigner for the regulation of complementary therapies,  The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health is delighted that the government has announced a new consultation on regulation of practitioners of complementary therapies.

In line with previous consultations and surveys, we are confident there will be overwhelming support in favour of regulation. Dr Michael Dixon, the Foundation’s medical director, said: 'There is good evidence for herbal medicine, acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the treatment of some conditions but, as in all healthcare, these therapies require properly trained practitioners.

August 2009: Vets revolt against annual vaccinations - Canine Health Concern

Last month, 33 veterinarians and medical doctors from around the world signed a letter to the press.  They were calling for an end to annual vaccination.  When they sign such a letter, they risk censure from their professional organisations, which could end their careers.  Other vets told us they wanted to sign the letter, but feared for their businesses, or they feared ‘upsetting’ their veterinary colleagues.  The last time a group of vets got together to sign a similar letter, which appeared in Veterinary Times, they were threatened with being struck off.  To see the letter, click here

Although it was sent to national newspapers, TV and radio, no-one published it. 

July 2009: Older people on 'drugs cocktail'  - BBC

Nearly half of over 65s are taking five or more drugs, and without regular reviews this may be both dangerous and costly to the NHS, pharmacists say.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says not only are lots of older people taking a "cocktail" of drugs, many are not taking them as prescribed. Over 60% of 500 polled believed they may be suffering side-effects from the drugs. Many of these drugs are on repeat prescriptions, the society notes, and could have been prescribed for conditions the patient no longer has.

June 2009: Organic Animal Welfare - Soil Association

The welfare of animals is central to Soil Association organic principles.

In most intensive agricultural systems, faster growing breeds that produce more milk or meat tend to be used. As a result the welfare of some breeds has been seriously compromised. This can put animals under excessive stress, weaken their natural immune systems and increase reliance on antibiotics and vaccines.

Organic farming is a holistic method of agriculture. Through a positive management approach to health and welfare, farmers aim to prevent disease from occurring on the farm. If disease does occur then organic farmers are encouraged to use natural and complementary therapies. If these are not appropriate then medicines, including antibiotics, may be used. 

Read more at the
Soil Association

May 2009: Back pain? NHS Chiropractic soon! - Daily Mail

Anyone with lower back pain for more than six weeks should be offered acupuncture, chiropractic and exercise on the NHS, the health service rationing body National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said. It has backed widespread use of 'alternative' therapies for the first time.

Dr Michael Dixon, medical director of The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, said: "This is integrated healthcare in action. Now all patients will be able to access proven complementary treatments as well as orthodox medicine. That means real patient choice. Hopefully better outcomes in primary care will obviate the need for more costly technological interventions which can then be saved for those who need them." [our italics]

Read more at NICE

May 2009: €1million Research Grant: Traditional Chinese Medicine - Medical News Today

King's College London successfully led a consortium bid for 995,100 euros of EU funding for a ground-breaking research project that will play an important role in the unification of Western and Chinese approaches to medicine.

April 2009: 'Peddling Bad Science' - The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health

Aggressive campaigning against complementary therapies by scientists who should know better, does patients a grave disservice.

That will be the message from Professor George Lewith, Professor of Health Research at Southampton University, speaking at a debate on complementary medicine at Guy’s Hospital medical school on 28th April 2009. He will say:

'We hear bigotry rather than science. More science fiction than science fact. This misleads doctors and their patients, and can harm the therapeutic relationship.'

March 2009: Acupuncture is Scientifically Sound - The Independent

The UK medical establishment is adopting acupuncture – the British Medical Journal group is taking over publication of the journal Acupuncture In Medicine. Its editor declared this is all thanks to scientific proof that it works.

However, the limited portion of acupuncture that doctors use may be amenable to scientific research, but there is clearly more on offer from the thousands of years of Chinese experience.

March 2009: Patients call for NHS complementary therapy - Complementary Therapy Assn.

A year-long pilot scheme in Northern Ireland has found that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can offer significant health improvements to NHS patients.

After receiving CAM treatments on referral from their GP, 81% of patients reported an improvement in their physical health and 79% in their mental health. The majority of patients, 84%, directly linked improvements in their health and wellbeing to the CAM treatment they had received and 94% said they would recommend it to others with a similar condition.

February 2009: Pet Health Care Goes Holistic - Washington Post

"Like many older dogs, Buster the beagle suffers from a few health problems. At 15, the dog has chronic sinusitis that causes breathing trouble and can turn into pneumonia, and torn ligaments lead to pain that can affect his mobility, said owner Chris Shoulet.

"After being told by several veterinarians that the dog should be euthanized, the Bethesda resident turned to holistic medicine to cure Buster's ills. According to Shoulet, holistic treatments, including acupuncture, have worked wonders for her furry friend.

more info on Complementary Therapies for Pets in the USA

 January 2009: Mass Homeopathy Treatment Success - NaturalNews

An incredible 2.5 million people were treated in Cuba with a homeopathic vaccine against Leptospirosis. The outbreak of Leptospirosis is an annual occurrence following flooding in the region due to hurricanes.

The results were that "within 2 weeks after Aug 2007, the rising lines literally dropped off the chart to ZERO - ten infections only!"

"Near-zero infections, zero deaths from leptospirosis after Aug 2007."

"And in 2008, no deaths, infections less than 10 a month,"

said an amazed attendee of the conference as the charts were being revealed on the stage.

 

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