A New Era for the Integration of Traditional Medicine Professionals With Regular Medicine?

Logo of the Rand CorporationA recent report from the RAND Corporation explored this provocative question: “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Professions or Modalities?”  The report, led by Patricia Herman, ND, PhD, and Ian Coulter, PhD, provoked me to reflect on a broader question in a column in the Huffington Post: Chronicles of Health Creation: RAND Report Begs New Look at Integrative Medicine and Health Professionals in the Triple Aim Era.

In the United States, the first era of “integration” of these “professions or modalities” was all about modalities. The interest was engaged during the mid-1990s when the central motivation in the medical industry was production of procedures and revenue enhancement. Usefulness was linked to a single procedure. For instance, a licensed acupuncture and Oriental medicine professional, trained in general practice using multiple modalities in a relationship-centered care, was typically reduced to the status of a technician to apply needles. Similarly, a chiropractor was not valued for his or her ability to evaluate and manage a patient and to offer counseling and lifestyle change ideas or give advice on ergonomics. Instead, the chiropractor was typically paid merely for the application of spinal manipulation for lower back pain.

IHI triple aim diagramMy thesis was simple. The USA is moving to a “values-based” era with less focus just on the production of services that has created a $3 trillion–per-year industry. Isn’t it time to look at the potential contributions of these integrative health practitioners as professionals rather than technicians? This would seem to be especially so given the emerging evidence of their value in enhancing patient experience and their value in lowering healthcare costs. These are Triple Aim targets. Is it time for a reboot? What are the optimal uses of licensed chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, and practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental medicine not in making a buck but in creating health?

Comment: Now frame this thesis in the traditional medicine context. The question is whether the consideration of potential value is (merely) in the plants. Should the motivating interest be only the potential business contributions of a botanical medicine industry or herb-inspired pharmaceuticals? Or are traditional medicine professionals being approached to evaluate their contributions as valued parts of the regular medical enterprise?

We see growing indications of the value of the professionals, particularly in public health matters. In Uganda as reported here, a leader from PROMETRA (Promotion of Traditional Medicine) argues that “herbalists are ready to take part in the prevention of AIDS infection among the young girls.” In South Africa, traditional medicine practitioners were invited to a summit to foster collaborating in controlling a broad set of infectious conditions: South Africa Summit Models Inclusion of Traditional Healers in HIV, Tuberculosis Campaign. A recent Global Integrator Blog explored similar public health contributors in Sierra Leone: Traditional Healers Are Honored for Key Role in Responding to the Ebola Outbreak.)

In each, the respect for the professionals is limited to their potential role in averting the spread of infectious diseases. The most significant national activity in recent years to fully include traditional professionals as service providers in a national system is in India. There, under the elevated status of AYUSH begun in September 2013, robust activity is underway to explore how Ayurvedic practitioners, for instance, can help meet primary care needs in that country. These are good starts to a values-based look at integration of traditional medicine professionals.

Herding Atoms: Book, Journal, and Organizing Our Entanglement

Book coverThe title of Adam Gopnik’s book review in the November 30, 2015, New Yorker on the patterns of our scientific understanding is “Spooked: What Do We Learn about Science from a Controversy in Physics?” He wonders if science is “a socially agreed-upon fiction, no more empirically grounded than any other . . . with fetishes and fashions, with schemers, dreamers, and black-balled applicants.” Provoking such musings was Scientific American contributor George Musser’s new book, Spooky Action at a Distance. Musser’s book title comes from a statement made by Albert Einstein relative to what he found to be an awkward realization that “quantum entanglement” can exist between distant atomic particles.

Musser tracks the history of engagement with this perturbing finding. Elevated by Einstein and Niels Bohr and others in the first part of this last century, the concept fell out of favor mid-century. More recently amidst the turmoil post-Sixties, the concept has been revitalized by research such as that of Colgate professor Enrique Galvez who uses an apparatus that shows “photons behaving like a pair of magic coins.” Musser is interested in how these peaks of high regard and valleys of ill repute may be influenced by the spirit or the time more than by advancing research.

Photo on Shamini Jain, PhDNotably, Gopnik’s review comes within a fortnight of two significant projects from overlapping groups of leading figures examining evidence of consciousness in healing. Among these are Deepak Chopra, MD; Mimi Guarneri, MD; Wayne Jonas, MD; and Richard Hammerschlag, PhD. Through work backed by philanthropist Ruth Westreich, University of California San Diego’s Shamini Jain, PhD (pictured), helped convene a 2014 gathering of 45 researchers on the “biofield.” Contracted papers from the meeting led to the publication of a special issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine: Biofield Science in Healing: An Emerging Frontier in Medicine.

In the same week, Jain announced the opening of a new non-profit collaborative, Consciousness and Healing Initiative. The mission: “The Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI) is an international collaborative accelerator of scientists, health practitioners, innovators, educators and artists, who forward the transdisciplinary science and real-world application of consciousness and healing practices. CHI fosters a social movement to place health and healing at the center of our personal and global consciousness, in order to build healthier societies and sustainable stewardship of our planet.”

Comment: The appearance of the Gopnik review amidst the announcement of these work products from biofield scientists was too enjoyable a coincidence to not co-report them. This is especially so with the “social movement” that is the intent of CHI: Gopnik’s theme relates to how scientific ideas may gain strength, or weaken, less in response to new research than to, oh lowly worm, social activity.

There was a time 15 to 20 years ago when some of these scientists imagined that what is now the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health would serve as a sponsor of research on energy medicine practices such as homeopathy, Reiki, magnets, and distant healing. That direction was effectively “black-balled,” to use Gopnik’s word, when the agency came under increasing attack for far less esoteric initiatives. Through conversations with Jain, Westreich, and others in mid-2014, I learned that these informal consortia were being formed in part as a means to fill the gap and change the energy field for attracting research investment. Might this collaboration, these new social units, prove potent in doing so? Meantime, the very proximity of all of these luminaries in the field is certainly already causing multiple shifts in perspective. Credit Jain for taking on this herding of atoms.

Looney TunesGopnik’s article will resonate beyond the biofield community to anyone involved in the emergence of integrative health and medicine. In one paragraph on the (non) “neat line between science and magic” Gopnik invokes a scene from Looney Tunes. He recalls how “Bugs (Bunny) draws  a line in the dirt and dares Yosemite Sam to ‘just cross over ’dis line’—and then, when Sam does, Bugs redraws it, over and over, ever backward, until, in the end, Sam steps over a cliff.”

Just so “alternative medicine” was denigrated by regular medicine as quackery and fraud in the 1960s. The then “alternative” view of nutrition as medicine was subsequently redrawn into conventional care; then the line included manual therapy for low back pain, then fish oil, then acupuncture, then yoga, then mind and body were connected, then the concept of the microbiome, and etc. All the while antagonists can continue to decry the alternatives as shams and magic. Gopnik’s thesis on the social influence over science is supported by the “scientific” data that has had the most significant impact on the advance of integrative care. Doors and minds opened following the publication of results of a survey of consumer use of “unconventional medicine.” Over a third of the public—apparently selecting for those better educated and well-off—was already using these therapies and professionals. The transformative data were from a social movement, not from a randomized controlled trial.

WHO Antibiotic Overuse Awareness Campaign: Will Integrative Options Ever Be Considered?

Handle Antibiotics with careIn order to “save modern medicine as we know it,” the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), General Margaret Chan, has kicked off the organization’s first World Antibiotics Awareness Week. It is linked to a related global campaign: “Antibiotics: Handle with Care.” The comments are on what can happen if the problem of antibiotic resistance is not addressed are startling. Chan states in this audio press conference that the world is headed to a “post antibiotic era in which common infections can kill you.” She adds that many familiar major surgeries will no longer be viable without the protection. The issues related to these drugs are both overuse and misuse. Efforts to create new drugs are said to be limited by a lack of profitability and thus limited incentive to large pharmaceutical firms to make the investment.

Get SmartThe WHO release shared outcomes of a sobering survey. The WHO surveyed more than 10,000 people in 12 non-wealthy nations. In most—such as India, China, and Egypt—60% to 75% of people had used antibiotics in the previous 6 months. The vast majority were prescribed by doctors or nurses. The best news from the survey as reported by the WHO team was that 75% of people know about antibiotic resistance but there are high levels of misconception.  In answer to a question from a representative of the British Medical Journal in the media conference, the important role of practitioners in not succumbing to demands for antibiotics from patients who might seek them for wrong use in underscored. WHO is “aiming the campaign very broadly”—from consumers to practitioners to people in agriculture—and considers it “a wake-up call for everybody.” The WHO report is here.

In the United States of America, the American Hospital Association kicked off the week by publishing “Hospitals around the World Unite to Battle Antibiotic Overuse”. The article highlights the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own Get Smart about Antibiotics Week from November 16 to 22. They estimate that “upward of 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary or not optimally effective.”

EUROCAMComment: It is remarkable that nowhere in any of this campaign is there noted the possibility of value from non-conventional approaches and practices. In contra-distinction, last year to mark the European Union’s “Antibiotics Awareness Day” for 2014, EUROCAM (logo) published a draft position paper entitled “The role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in reducing the problem of antimicrobial resistance.” The 33-page policy document calls out “the potential of CAM in reducing the problem of AMR [antimicrobial resistance] to be given serious consideration and for further research to be carried out in this area to determine in which conditions, both in human and veterinary healthcare, specific CAM modalities are particularly effective.” See “EUROCAM Takes on Role of CAM in Microbial Resistance” at this Integrator Round-up.

The first segment of the EUROCAM paper, for instance, speaks to how integrative strategies can build resilience in people so they will have less need for antibiotics of any kind. The report then touches on such topics as the positive interactions between herbs and antibiotics and the use of homeopathic medicines. Noted also are the possibilities for integrative practices in veterinary medicine that might diminish overuse of antibiotics in farming.

Josephine Briggs, MDTwo other developments in 2015 along this line are noteworthy. First, the director of the USA National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Josephine Briggs, MD, (pictured) has directly spoken to the potential that alternatives may have. (See ”Briggs Blasts Over-Prescribing of Opioids and Announces NCCIH Initiative to Explore ‘Misplaced Fear’ of Drug-Botanical Interactions.”) Briggs specifically calls out antibiotic overuse as one area of the problem. Second, a publication reported here in the Global Integrator Blog exploring the use and cost of homeopathics under the French system led to a suggestion of the potential public health benefit from homeopathic use. The authors concluded that “management of patients by homeopathic (general practitioners) may be less expensive from a global perspective and may represent an important interest to public health.”

People like to take something for their problems. Given how many use antibiotics as the “something” when in fact they are not properly prescribed, why not have the “something” be a homeopathic medicine? We need to leave our limited thinking. Since when is giving what a practitioner might view as a placebo worse than giving an antibiotic that is contributing to a public health disaster? To the extent that we fail to invest in these potential alternatives, policy makers who deny the potential from these therapies and approaches risk a categorization that was a Cold War rebuke: “Better dead than red.” Too many decision makers would seem to think that they are better dead than CAM. It’s time to open eyes—and doors.

Report from Daniel Gallego-Perez, MD, at APHA: Creating a Database on Integrative Research in Colombia

ColumbiaThe Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Practices Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) nearly doubled in membership from 2014 to 2015 as it moved from interest group to “Section” status under the leadership of Elizabeth Sommers, LAc, MPH, PhD. The growth was reflected in a robus t set of presentations and posters at the early November 2015 APHA conference. One of the posters, presented by Colombian Daniel Gallego-Perez, MD, a DrPH student at Boston University (pictured below with Sommers), examined the status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research and Innovation in Colombia: State of the Art. His team’s lens: “indexed, non-indexed academic and gray literature” from 1980 to 2010. The team also engaged nearly two dozen semi-structured interviews with key informants.

The Gallego-Perez team found a total of 380 publications: 43 peer reviewed, 282 from other academic papers, and 55 from “gray literature.” The vast majority in each category were published in Colombia. The greatest number in a single therapy, at nearly 40, related to homeopathy. Energy medicine and “Combined Therapies (CAM)” followed with 15 and 25 publications, respectively. The 2006-2010 period showed the most significant activity. In that time, the number of papers related to homeopathy hit more than twice that of any other 5-year period. Also notable was a jump in papers on manipulative therapies from typically 0-1 to a half dozen.

The team’s definition of research is of interest: “a human activity [whose] goal is approaching knowledge, interpreting reality, or [creating] a trans-cultural and trans-discursive dialectic of the same, according to the paradigm from which the researcher is placed.” This, they note, “accounted for the inclusion of documents often excluded from mainstream definitions.” They also note that in the interviews three interrelated themes arose: “the meaning of research within the CAM paradigms; the relationship between CAM and ‘science’; and the ‘meaning of diseases’ and healing processes.” The team concludes: “The CAM research database built through this project is expected to become a national reference on the field and to facilitate identification of researchers across the country to foster research collaboration.”

Comment: This is spade work that will most certainly provide a shared platform in Colombia for the future practice and providers associated with “CAM.” The use is significant: a 2002 journal article includes an estimate that 40% of Colombia’s population uses traditional medicine or CAM. I like the broad inclusion criteria given the anticipated use of these report and papers as fodder for the minds of new explorers. Messy, yet to exclude might leave out of sight just the thread that might shape the pattern of a future investigator. One is mindful of the obscure text that informed the work of the 2015 Nobel Prize winner in medicine, China’s Tu Youyou. The breakthrough in Tu’s research came via accessing an ancient volume in which allusion was made to a process method for Artemesia. This is just the sort of tidbit one might find in gray literature valued only by a person working from a paradigm that might be discarded or denigrated by another.

Símon BolívarSide note: Speaking of Nobel Prizes, this piece could not be complete without reference to a Huffington Post article from Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH, at the time of the 2014 death of perhaps the most famous Colombian since : the Nobel winner for literature in 1982, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (pictured). Ullman documents how Garcia-Marquez was among the 40% of “CAM” users. Homeopathy figured into his life and writing. A homeopathic doctor was the “godfather of the protagonist” in Love in the Time of Cholera. He wrote of his father in an autobiography that he “gave up his worthy profession of telegraph operator and devoted his talent as an autodidact to a science on the decline: homeopathy.”

Sierra Leone: Traditional Healers Are Honored for Key Role in Responding to the Ebola Outbreak

While it is commonplace to have global policy wonks of all sorts allude to the data point that some 80% of Africans use some form of traditional medicine for a part of their primary care, it is rare yet to see conventional medical agencies working directly with traditional healers. A recent article in Al Jazeera offers a welcome account of the value that can come when these silos are broken. The article is entitled Sierra Leone: How Traditional Healers Helped Defeat Ebola.

The story, authored by Dariusz Dziewanski, takes place in the nation that suffered the most Ebola deaths, including a disproportionately high number of healthcare personnel deaths: Sierra Leone. Roughly 4,000 are estimated to have died from the virus. Early on, many locals mistrusted Western ways toward the disease and turned ahead to the nation’s approximately 45,000 traditional healers. Results went quite poorly: a traditional healer who eventually succumbed to the disease was linked to more than 300 deaths. Traditional practices for Ebola were banned for a time. However, “as authorities struggled to contain the epidemic, healers were brought back to help fight the virus.” The reason: “They played an important role in educating people about how to properly avoid and treat Ebola, helping to stop its spread.”

In fact, researchers studying Sierra Leone’s health system say that “the failure to include healers at an earlier stage may have prolonged the outbreak and increased its death toll.” Richard Mallett of the Overseas Development Institute’s Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) states that “traditional healers were largely ignored by the state and the international community throughout the early to mid-stages of the Ebola response.”

The article concludes with a quote from Mallett’s colleague Lisa Denney:  “Understandings of illness in Sierra Leone are often not solely biomedical, but also connected to the spiritual realm. The Ebola experience has shown the importance of engaging with actors like traditional healers so that they are playing a positive role in the wider health system and don’t become spoilers. Unless healers are asked to motivate and educate people to go to hospitals, she said, they will provide their services ‘underground in a manner that will make it harder to regulate.’” (Photo from the 2012 founding of the Sierra Leone Indigenous Traditional Healers’ Union.)

Comment: The article highlights the value of traditional healers in spreading the word about public health steps and the role traditional healers can have in educating their constituencies to the potential value in imported medicine. When those from the West need help, if they have relationships with traditional practitioners, they can collaborate with them to quickly reach their networks. They are often among the most influential and connected in their towns and communities. What took place in Sierra Leone, as portrayed in Dziewanski’s article, is a good example of that value. A similar story of collaboration on infectious diseases, from South Africa, is shared in South Africa Summit Models Inclusion of Traditional Healers in HIV, Tuberculosis Campaign.

Yet this relationship, while a starting place, falls well short of interprofessional respect. Reading this article brings to mind research with which former US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young has been associated. A group working with Morehouse University and the CDC discovered 4 herbs with researched in vitro impact on Ebola. The ultimate benefit from breaking the silos will come when industrial medicine comes seeking to understand the value traditional practices might bring, as first-line or complementary practices, not just for disaster, but in meeting WHO’s goal of primary care for all.  (Thanks to colleague and Andrew Young Foundation board member Virginia Floyd, MD, MPH, for the heads-up on the Sierra Leone article.)

Quick Links to Global News in Traditional,Alternative, and Integrative Health and Medicine for October 2015

This Global Integrator Blog Quick Links for October 2015 notes 66+ accounts of global developments in traditional medicine and alternative and integrative health. October was the month of Tu Youyou’s Nobel. Accounts of the award and its meaning dominant traditional medicine news. (A Global Advances summary piece is Nobel Prize Based on a Traditional Chinese Medicine Text: Themes from the Robust Media Coverage.) Other developments include traditional medicine regulatory discussions or institutional advancements in Fiji, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria. For quick links to developments in integrative medicine in the United States, click here.

  • Alternative medicine practitioners are among those referenced in this article on consumer protective regulations in Nigeria.
  • Tu YouYouQuartz India analyses how “the year’s most prestigious prize in medicine—the Nobel- has been bestowed upon Tu Youyou, the lead discoverer of powerful malaria drug artemisinin. In giving her the prize, the Nobel Prize committee has recognized the role ancient knowledge can play in the modern world.” At The Conversation, the question is asked about whether this is a turning point for TCM. Here is a Johns Hopkins perspective. One more, from ExtremeTech: “An ancient version of science managed to find the general location of this drug, but the modern version of science is what nailed it down.”
  • An article from South Africa notes that “in 2004 the government adopted the Indigenous Knowledge Systems policy in order to promote, protect, and develop the Indigenous Knowledge Systems.”
  • Officials meeting in Cape Town for the 2nd Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development developed an Action Plan under which China and Africa “are willing to share its experiences in regulating traditional medicine, and China is willing to support the training and the establishment of Traditional Medicine Clinics in African countries, upon the demand of African countries.”
  • Here’s a shallow look at six animals some Malaysians eat as medicines.
  • There are currently 2,382 international students studying at the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine from 37 countries and regions around the globe. The number of students has seen an average growth of 10 percent year over year.
  • An India-based alternative medicine portal “Welcome Cure” has raised $6 million to deliver homeopathic medicine via 100 senior homeopaths, telephonically, and via mailing medicines. Another piece on the financing is here.
  • Ebola VirusThe article suggests that Asian healing practices may have a future in Egypt amidst its crisis.
  • Liberia’s Felix Ikuomola, MD, based at U Hawaii, has a new book (pictured) on experiences with Ebola in West Africa.
  • There was a significant demonstration in Myanmar against killing of endangered animals for medicinal and other purposes.
  • The Times of India looks at a state government’s recommendation for using traditional medicines to fight Dengue.
  • The Confucius Institute at the University of Cypress offered a talk on TCM.
  • A Rotary Club presentation by a founder of California’s Yo San University on TCM is featured in this Santa Monica paper.
  • This Manila Times piece that looks skeptically at integrative cancer treatments notes that In the Philippines, traditional, and alternative medicines have been included in the national healthcare system under Republic Act No. 8432 or the “Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997.”
  • An overview of Unani Medicine—the “U” in AYUSH—is here: “There are about 42 recognized colleges of Unani medicine in India. Aspirants must pass Class XII exams to get admission to BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery). Those who have studied Urdu as a language in their 10+2 examination are given preference. Medium of instruction is mostly in Urdu but English is also used.”
  • Another article features the quick return to play of rugby star Waisake Nahalo after traditional medicine use.
  • The Nobel to China has been a source of multiple reflections in India, including this one. The response in the “twittersphere” is captured here at Nature.
  • Kendall Ho, MDA group of Vancouver, Canada, physicians led by Kendall Ho, MD, (pictured) have created a simple “travel card” tool to assist Chinese who use TCM to communicate with Western medical doctors about the products they use: “Although there are no recent statistics on the topic, a 1998 survey of four Vancouver family practices with predominantly Chinese patients found that 28 percent of patients used traditional herbal Chinese medicine in addition to Western medicine.”
  • This article from Louisiana (USA) looks at natural herb medicines under exploration there.
  • A group of Zimbabwe’s traditional healers from the nation’s traditional Healers Association helda rain-making ceremony and predicts more rain than otherwise forecast.
  • This USA Today speaks of the bottles of cows’ urine sold as medicine in India.
  • The University of Karachi’s International Centre for Chemical and Biological sciences (ICCBS) launched the website http://www.folkmedsindh.com.pk on Wednesday to promote the study and research of folk medicine.
  • The AYUSH ministry has a campaign to treat conditions related to hygiene and poor sanitation.
  • Here is a call for greater control of traditional medicines in the Cook Islands and Fiji.
  • Indigenous medicine of the Dimasa tribe in NE India’s rich, biodiverse area is the subject of this article. Specific examples of medicines are noted.
  • Henry Lowe, PhD In Jamaica, this article characterizes the Nobel to Tu Youyou as “encouragement for local scientists” and particularly notes the work of Henry Lowe, PhD (pictured).
  • The articles on the Nobel to Tu Youyou keepcoming: here in TechNews; this from Pakistan looks at challenges to traditional practitioners in the “mining” of traditional medicines for drugs and suggests lessons for that country; here, an Indian scientist suggests that his own nation may have been the originof the traditional information (“Even if it was used in China too as traditional medicine or treatment of intermittent fever (Malaria), then the credit should be given to both India and China and not China alone”); this Hong Kong Post piece stridently denies that the Nobel is “for Chinese medicine”; this New York Times article focuses on the “renewed debate on Chinese medicine” among the Chinese, regarding extracting drug knowledge.
  • This story documents a flourishing relationship between the TCM community and indigenous peoples of British Columbia.
  • A speaker at the global conference on Unanimedicine promotes “a level playing field” for homeopathy.
  • With cases of Dengue rising in this Indian state, a health department advisory offers recommendations for use of traditional medicines.
  • This article looks at the role of regulated TCM in Singapore.
  • Interesting backward look at the life of Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo, who was an influencer of royalty in the UK and who studied midwifery and TCM, and practiced each.
  • This article urges more partnership between laboratory science and traditional medicine in African health particularly regarding diabetes care (photo related).
  • The Chinese Xinhua News Agency highlights quotes Nobel winner Tu Youyou calling Artemisinin a “gift from China savings millions in Africa” and provides data supportingthe assertion.
  • Here in Science the discussion is how the Nobel “highlights the East-West divide.”
  • This article in Business Day explores how Tu Youyou’s classic drug approach to the herb in her research has created controversy among TCM purists: “Are we truly respecting this cultural heritage?” Liu asks. “When we think Chinese medicine needs to be modernised and the path it shall go down must be like Tu Youyou’s path, I think it is disrespect.”
  • HerbFestIn Nigeria, the “Chairman, Electoral Committee, National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP), Dr Idowu Ogunkoya, has called on members to vote for credible executives in the group’s forthcoming election.”
  • In the USA, 12 professionals, mainly registered herbalists and naturopathic physicians, comment in The Integrator Blog on the National Institutes of Health strategy on botanical research, most asking for more whole systems approaches.
  • An antagonist to TCM in Singapore argues that TuYouyou’s research in no way validates TCM as part of an appeal that the Nation’s government not subsidize TCM care.
  • Aboriginal medicine is part of what was featuredthrough a summer Parks Canada program.
  • A recent scientific publication in BMC CAM describes herbal medicine use by surgery patients in Hungary.
  • A Loyola, Chicago, neurosurgeon Christopher Loftus, MD, was granted Honorary Citizen status in China for the interinstitutional ties between his school and one in China that has a substantial integration of TCM.
  • This writer in Nature speaks to the potential value of alternative therapies including Reiki in people with “complex psychological and physiological reactions to serious illness.”
  • In the UK, a woman claiming to cure whooping cough with homeopathic vaccines is fined.
  • Radio NewZealand offers an interview on the use of traditional medicines in the South Seas.
  • Questions about traditional medicine were part of the interview process for this new Nigerian minister.
  • An article on an anti-diabetes campaign in a Turks and Caicos publication notes that some locals are preferring to use traditional medicine approaches.
  • In Nigeria’s Leadership, an article covering the 2015 HERBFEST speaks of a workshop (panelists pictured) with the theme “Food as medicine: utilisation and sustainable exploitation of African medicinal plants andnatural products.” Development of a TM industry such as in China, India, and the Koreas is promoted: “The overall goal of HerbFest is to galvanise a wide range of stakeholders to share experience, stimulate investment/partnerships; to promote optimal utilisation and conservation of medicinal plants; to showcase rich biodiversity, research and development results, investment opportunities, patronage and recognition and achievements.”
  • This article speaks to the growth of the Ayurvedic and herbal products beauty market.
  • A good close look, originally published by Xinhua, at the work of Tu Youyou—and thefailures—in her discovery is here.
  • This article documents an Indian professional claiming India should have shared the award for sourcing Tu Youyou’s Nobel: “Even if it was used in China too (other than India) as traditional medicine for the treatment of intermittent fever (malaria), then the credit for this knowledge to the use of artemisin and its purification should be given to both India and China and not China alone.”
  • This article on Hakim Mohammed Saeed speaks to the Pakistan leader’s contributions, among them reportedly “getting WHO to recognize TM.”
  • A perspective here from Zambia on theTu Youyou Nobel and another from Kenya via Xinhua.
  • This article in Israel’s Haaretz speaks to the problem of people buying doctorates in alternative medicine.
  • The Albany, NY Times Union gives space for a writer to share his views of the “Brief and Sordid History of Modern Medicine.”
  • Lori Aviso Alvord, MD Lori Aviso Alvord, MD (pictured), the first Navajo woman to be boarded in surgery spoke on Western and traditional methods atArizona State University.
  • Something called Ireland’s Dream has been set up to help people with MS access alternative treatments.
  • An herbal drink, Musimboti nyama, “took Zimbabwe by storm” as a panacea is making a comeback after being banned 14 years ago by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.
  • The Tu Youyou award stimulated this post on the role of ethnobotany in Bali.
  • The first Congress of Russian doctors of Chinese medicine was held in Spochi.
  • This post in the USA distinguishes modern medical from “traditional medicine” and provides a negative “Sordid History” of the former.
  • A sordid tale from Greytown, South Africa of child rape masquerading as traditional healing is told here.
  • Herbal supplement sales in the USA jumped 6.8% to $6.4 billion in 2014.
  • Something called Quantum University has produced the online World Summit of Integrative Medicine that claims to be the largest gathering of its kind, drawing 21,000 to its online meeting in October 2015.
  • This article talks about US medical schools that are trying to get medical doctors to appreciate the value of nutrition by teaching them to cook.
  • In Nigeria, herbal medicine specialist Dr Umaru Ndagi “has urged government at all levels to promote the use of roots and herbs as alternative medicine for prevention and treatment of diseases.” He states, “The Federal College of Alternative Medicine could have words with the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO) in Oshodi and the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) to really make this herbal medicine go a long way.” He believes herbal medicine “can bring in as much (revenue) asoil.”