CAM news, legal issues

More research on CAM makes headlines, including use of arnica for pain relief.

Garlic may help with common colds:

Australian researchers combed the literature and found only one study with good enough methodology to evaluate. The team, from the University of Western Australia, published its findings online in the July issue of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit that analyzes health care information.

That study, in which 146 participants were randomly assigned to take a daily garlic supplement or a placebo, found that those taking the supplement got fewer colds over the three-month study period than those taking the dummy supplement. They also got over their colds faster.

Even the authors, in the article and in e-mail interviews, said that this evidence is too slim to make firm recommendations about garlic's effectiveness.

"My advice is that if you feel it is helpful, go ahead and use it,'' said Dr. J. Owen Hendley, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine who studies the common cold.

If garlic is useful for the common cold, said Dr. Kimon Zachary, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, it's probably more effective as a preventive than as a treatment once a person has a cold.

Wellness grows in India:

Corporate healthcare group Apollo Hospitals is firming up its foray into the wellness segment. The Chennai-based hospital is keen to engage McKinsey to draw the blueprint in this regard. The wellness business is pegged at Rs 1500 crore and Apollo has formed a core committee to work on the finer details of the venture.

Apollo Hospitals MD Preetha Reddy said for the moment things are still at a lucid stage. But, the group is looking at appointing the global agency to provide its consulting input to take the plan forward. "We are considering the appointment of the agency so that all the details of this venture can be worked out," she told ET.

While she and ED-Finance Suneeta Reddy have been spearheading all illness and health-related aspects of the hospital, the other two sisters -- Sangita Reddy and Shobana Kamineni, are expected to play a key role in taking the wellness business forward.

Osteoporosis news:

Do drugs used to treat osteoporosis inhibit bone growth?

In her book, The Bone Health Revolution, Vivian Goldschmidt tackles these issues and advocates an all-natural way to treat osteoporosis. Her work is endorsed by Dr. Robert Salter, a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon in Toronto, and has gained an online following.

One of her biggest beefs, is milk. Goldschmidt, who holds a Masters in nutrition and biochemistry from New York University, said milk, an animal protein, makes blood and tissues more acidic. To neutralize this acid, the body actually pulls calcium from our bones to help restore our system's pH balance. Instead of being absorbed in our body, milk robs our bones of calcium.

Think antacid tablets, she said: The main ingredient in Tums or Rolaids is calcium, which we take to neutralize stomach acid.

It's a theory corroborated by a landmark study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which followed 72,337 women over 18 years. The 2003 Harvard University study led by Diane Feskanich, concluded that milk intake was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture. Nor did total calcium intake affect hip fracture risk.

Instead, the real agent for change was the unsung hero of vitamins: Vitamin D.

"Calcium has been overemphasized," said Dr. Aliya Khan, a professor of clinical medicine at McMaster University and a member of Osteoporosis Canada's scientific advisory council. "And the story around vitamin D hasn't been emphasized enough."

Vitamin D increases calcium absorption by as much as 30 to 80 per cent. It's essential for building healthy bones and muscles.

"If I could only choose one, my choice would be vitamin D," added Reinhold Vieth, director of the bone and mineral laboratory at Mt. Sinai hospital and a University of Toronto professor. "One way of preventing osteoporosis and sustaining your calcium intake, is to take more vitamin D."

But the majority of Canadians are vitamin D deficient. We live in a country with long sunless, winter months and getting vitamin D from food - eggs, salmon, sardines, herring and fish oils - can be more difficult than meeting our calcium requirements.

Does arnica heal pain?

Arnica Montana, a plant native to mountainous areas of Europe and North America, has been used for centuries to treat a variety of pain. Athletes rub it on muscles to soothe soreness and strains, and arthritis sufferers rub it on joints to reduce pain and swelling. It's believed that the plant contains derivatives of thymol, which seems to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Either way, scientists have found good evidence that it works. One randomized study published in 2007 looked at 204 people with osteoarthritis in their hands and found that an arnica gel preparation worked just as well as daily ibuprofen, and with minimal side effects. Another study of 79 people with arthritis of the knee found that when patients used arnica gel twice daily for three to six weeks, they experienced significant reductions in pain and stiffness and had improved function. Only one person experienced an allergic reaction.

The Risks: Arnica gels or creams can cause allergic reactions in some people, but it is generally safe when used topically. However, it should never be rubbed on broken or damaged skin, and it should only be ingested when in a heavily diluted, homeopathic form.

Alternative medicine news:

Averill Park, NY (PRWEB) September 16, 2009 -- Physicians will receive 12 AMA Category 1 credits by attending the American Meditation Institute's (AMI), mind-body medicine CME course on meditation and yoga. The Albany Medical College Office of Continuing Medical Education accredits the mind-body medicine CME course entitled American Meditation: The Heart and Science of Yoga.

The course will be taught by Leonard Perlmutter, founder and director of AMI, and award-winning author of "The Heart and Science of Yoga: A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom from Fear". Noted physicians Mehmet Oz, Dean Ornish and Larry Dossey have endorsed Mr. Perlmutter's book, which serves as the curriculum for this mind-body medicine CME course. Since 1995, Mr. Perlmutter has lectured extensively on the health benefits of yoga and meditation, including the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Albany Medical Center, Stratton VA Medical Center, University of Colorado Medical School, University of Wisconsin School of Nursing, Washington University Medical School and the Commonwealth Club of California. He also served on a distinguished New York Times panel of Yoga experts with Dr. Dean Ornish.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) estimates that $48 billion is spent annually on complementary and alternative treatments. The National Institutes of Health report that approximately 38% of adults in the United States aged 18 and over, and nearly 12% of U.S. children 17 years and under use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. Significant among these therapies are meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises --all of which are offered in "The Heart and Science of Yoga" curriculum. "By accrediting this course, the Albany Medical College has become a leading force in mind-body medicine," Perlmutter said. "This accreditation will provide many benefits for the health and wellbeing of physicians and their patients."

American Meditation: The Heart and Science of Yoga mind-body medicine CME course is a comprehensive survey of the historical, philosophical and scientific nature of meditation and yoga as taught in both the East and West. The practical skills taught are designed to positively impact every aspect of a physician's professional and personal life.

For more information, call 800.234.5115 or visit

About the American Meditation Institute
The American Meditation Institute for Yoga Science & Philosophy is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization devoted to the teaching and practice of meditation and its allied disciplines. In its holistic approach to wellness, the Institute combines the healing arts of the East with the practicality of modern Western science. AMI offers a wide variety of classes, retreats, and teacher training programs.

AMI Meditation teaches people of all levels of experience to control, conserve and transform their greatest natural resource --- the power of the mind --- into thoughts, words and actions, which can lead them for their highest and greatest good.

In contemporary terms, AMI Meditation provides the technology for creating new mental software that empowers each individual to make conscious, discriminating and reliable choices---choices which translate into peace of mind, physical balance and emotional healing. Visit today.

Media Contact:
Mary Helen Holloway
60 Garner Road, Averill Park, NY 12018
Tel: 800-234-5115
Fax: 518-674-8714

More CAM news:

Caregivers of Alzheimer's patients - wives, siblings or other family members -- often experience a level of stress so high that it can seriously impact their own health and even decrease their life expectancy. That's why researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are studying complementary medicine and various other therapies for these highly stressed individuals. The research is being conducted within OHSU's Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders ( ORCCAMIND ).

"Previous studies have demonstrated how the caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's or other severe disease are actually suffering themselves," explained Barry Oken, M.D., director of ORCCAMIND and professor of neurology and behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine. "These family members and loved ones may suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and several other illnesses linked to stress."

To determine the best therapies for treating caregivers, Oken and his colleagues are looking for up to 108 caregivers/participants who are willing to take part in a research project. Study participants will be placed into one of three groups:

1 ) A group of subjects who will take part in seven weeks of meditation and mind-body medicine, a practice which involves focusing on the current moment in order to diminish ongoing stresses and goal setting.

2 ) A group that will take a seven-week training course that will teach them how to be a caregiver, including tools that make their jobs less stressful or intensive.

3 ) A group that will receive home assistance from trained caregivers for a few hours a week for seven weeks so that they can take a break from their demanding caregiving schedule.

Successful stress reduction will be measured in a number of ways, including reports of self-perceived stress by the caregivers, heart rate variability, breathing irregularities and the levels of stress hormones in their bodies.

"Basically, we want to learn the best approach for treating caregiver stress," added Oken. "Currently there is little to no data to direct physicians and individuals. The purpose of this study is to provide more direction so that physicians can give their patient/caregivers the best advice."

Kathi Lovejoy, 72, is a current study participant and a caregiver who took part in a smaller, previous study where mind-body medicine was evaluated for stress reduction. She cares for her husband who suffers from a form of dementia that impacts the temporal and frontal lobes of his brain.

"I found the sessions to be very helpful," explained Lovejoy. "In fact, to this day, I still use some of mind-body relaxation techniques that I learned as a participant in this study."

To be considered for the new study, participants must be caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, experiencing stress, between the ages of 50 and 85 and be available to attend classes which begin Oct. 8, 2009, and take place once a week on Thursday afternoons.

For more information about the study, those interested in participating can call 503 494-5650.

CAM in veterinary medicine:

Combining Eastern and Western medical therapies, sometimes called integrative or complementary medicine, gives patients the best of all worlds. Requests for the services are increasing. Approximately 38 percent of adults in the United States use one form of complementary or alternative medicine, according to the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine. And many seek treatments for their pets as well. A study from Colorado State University's Animal Cancer Center shows that 65 percent of 254 pet owners requested chiropractic care and acupuncture to reduce pain in their pets suffering from cancer. To accommodate demand, many veterinarians offer complementary services and network through industry groups such as the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Dr. Robin Downing is a pain management specialist, owner of Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Colorado and a Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) trustee. She uses a variety of treatments like acupuncture, manual therapy and medical massage. "We blend the very best of what traditional, allopathic medicine has to offer," she explains. "Think of it as a way to assist the body in healing itself." Although many of these techniques have yet to be fully proven in animals, research continues to advance. MAF wants to help ensure these techniques are scientifically sound, which is why we've expanded funding into nontraditional areas. Two MAF-funded studies will provide reliable, scientific data about complementary treatments, including acupuncture, herbal remedies and chiropractic care. Dr. Darryl L. Millis at the University of Tennessee is evaluating the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, low-level laser therapy and acupuncture for treating osteoarthritis in dogs. He estimates 20 percent of adult dogs suffer from the disease, and since some do not respond to or cannot tolerate drug therapies, complementary care could provide an attractive option.

Michael H. Cohen is a attorney providing business legal advice to entrepreneurs and companies, and health care law advice to businesses and clinicians in the holistic health, wellness, and green industries.