CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Fish oil helps female mice

Fish oil helps female mice fight cancer, according to new research.

New research:

Female mice that ingested fish oil supplements with breast cancer drug tamoxifen appeared to have slowed the proliferation of their tumors, compared to rodents given corn oil with the drug, according to researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

In the controlled study, the team of scientists found that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil helped to slow gene expression related to tumor growth.

"If a tumor was being treated with tamoxifen, the addition of an omega-3 fatty acid diet seemed to make the tumor, at least at the molecular level, more benign and less aggressive and responsive to tamoxifen," said lead researcher Jose Russo, M.D.

Additionally, the healthy fats appeared to curb immune responses that result in allergies and inflammation. These negative effects have been known to alter the body's natural defense against cancer.

Next, the researchers hope to investigate how omega-3 fatty acids in a diet can affect risk of breast cancer in women.

Authors of the study noted that an estimated 200,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year. 

Integrative medicine's anti-inflammatory diet is profiled:

Couri, a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, will graduate in December from a two-year fellowship with Weil at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona. She has been in private practice in Peoria for more than 10 years.

"Integrative medicine looks at solutions that are not pharmaceutically driven," Couri said.

Principles of macronutrition are applied for disease prevention. The anti-inflammatory diet is foundational to integrative medicine, Couri said.

She has revamped her offices from what was once a traditional obstetrics and gynecology practice to the Couri Center for Gynecology and Integrative Women's Health.

She takes a dietary history with all patients and discusses how to move toward the anti-inflammatory diet. In addition to a physician, the center has a nutritionist, fitness consultant, massage therapist, energy healer and certified Reiki specialist. On Saturdays, a meditation specialist who trained with Dr. Deepak Chopra leads a meditation session.

Monthly cooking classes cover topics from clean eating, soups and raw food to gluten-free food, vegetarian and vegan diets and holiday meal preparation.

All specialists work in concert.

"Medicine in this country is profit driven not outcome driven. We bow down to 'Big Pharma,'" Couri said during an interview.

That does not mean she has given up on Western medicine and medications. She explains she has "expanded her toolbox" to help patients heal. She still provides traditional treatments and surgical services, including hysterectomies, but she also looks to food as medicine.

"Integrative medicine needs to become the model in order for medicine to be sustainable. The burden of chronic disease is bankrupting our system," she said, explaining that diet and exercise are low-tech, inexpensive ways to avoid disease.

The risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer's disease is mitigated with the anti-inflammatory diet, Couri believes.

In her lecture, "Food is Medicine," Couri cited a study indicating that for every 20 percent increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables, there is a 20 percent reduction in cancer risk. But for every 20 percent increase in cruciferous vegetables, there is a 40 percent reduction in cancer risk.

"Good nutrition can basically change or alter the function of our genes," she said. "Good food can turn genes on or off. Good food can change how disease progresses."

Couri said physicians are essentially teachers for their patients. She recently saw a patient with severe rheumatoid arthritis. The woman was in constant pain.

"I asked her if any doctor had ever talked with her about diet. She said no. She did not know about the anti-inflammatory diet, did not know how food choices can affect her pain, did not know the difference between good fats and bad fats," Couri said.

"The typical American diet is very pro-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Japanese diet."

Nano-nano:

Johns Hopkins Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center (CNTC) launched
(Nanowerk News) The war on cancer is fought on many fronts, even tiny, nanoscale ones. To train new scientists and engineers to combat the spread of cancer, Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) has established a pre-doctoral (PhD) training program in Nanotechnology for Cancer Medicine. Together with the institute's previously established Nanotechnology for Cancer Medicine postdoctoral fellowship, these two training programs will comprise the Johns Hopkins Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center (CNTC).
Similar to the postdoctoral program, the PhD training in nanotechnology for cancer medicine will educate graduate students to use nanotechnology solutions to diagnose, treat, manage, and hopefully one day, even cure cancer, said the CNTC's director Denis Wirtz, the Theophilus H. Smoot professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering.
The CNTC was funded by a $1.8 million grant over five years from the National Cancer Institute. Launched in the fall of 2010, the pre-doctoral training program has already attracted highly qualified students with bachelor's degrees in diverse backgrounds such as biochemistry, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, as well as those who majored in engineering or physics. By attracting students with these sorts of educational backgrounds, Wirtz said, INBT will help develop what he calls "hybrid scientists, engineers, and clinicians."
"We are seeking to train people who can develop new nanoscale materials and nanoparticles that will address biological functions related to the growth and spread of cancer, or metastasis, at a mechanistic level," said Wirtz, who also directs INBT's Engineering in Oncology Center and is INBT's associate director.
Anirban Maitra, professor of pathology and oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and co-director of the CNTC, said research will focus on the identification and preclinical validation of the most cancer-specific nanotechnology based therapies, particularly using the wealth of knowledge on the cancer genome emerging from CNTC participant scientists such as Kenneth Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein, both School of Medicine faculty.
"The CNTC is uniquely poised to leverage this information for developing molecularly targeted nanotechnology-based tools for cancer therapy," Maitra added.
Much like INBT's other training programs, students seeking a doctorate specialization in nanotechnology for cancer medicine must jump through a few additional hoops than those students enrolled in traditional department-based pre-doctoral programs.
For example, in addition to the PhD requirements set forth by students' home departments, CNTC fellows also complete two core nanotechnology courses, two intensive laboratory "boot camps", one laboratory course designed to develop their skills in experimental and theoretical fundamentals in surface and materials science for biology and medicine, and one course in advanced cancer biology. Students must also complete two complementary laboratory rotations within their first year, participate in a professional development seminars, attend clinical conferences on cancer, among many other requirements. These extra steps set INBT trainees apart by giving them a more advanced skill set and making graduates more desirable in the job market, Wirtz said.
Generally, fellows take five to six years to complete the cancer nanotechnology for medicine PhD program. INBT will support CNTC trainees for two years, after which, the students will be funded by their primary departments from which their degrees will be conferred.
As many as six outstanding pre-doctoral fellows may enter the CNTC program per year. Candidates from under-represented groups in the science and engineering disciplines, including women and minorities, are encouraged to apply.
For more information about how to apply for the CNTC programs, please contact INBT's Academic Program Administrator, Ashanti Edwards, at Ashanti@jhu.edu.
Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence

Source: By Mary Spiro, Johns Hopkins University

CAM is put forward 'in defense of freedom:'

Dr David Edelberg of Chicago Holistic medicine, states: "The hospitals pastoral care section is simply giving lip service; even though it has tremendous power of healing, most western doctors do not take advantage of it.  But as a result of advances in medical technology things are changing.  The words ‘health’, ‘holistic’, ‘wholeness’ and ‘holy’ have the same meaning.

When healing process occurs in an Alternative centre, I believe that people are touching something spiritual. The mind, body and spirit are involved.  

I advocate books on how to meditate to both HIV and cancer patients from spiritual angle. When I do that (meditate), the patients’ faces change (unless I am misreading and I don’t think I am).  They say: "Oh my God, a doctor who is basically a scientist, is telling me what I knew all along: that if I try to activate spiritual background it can help." 

I must confess, I have trouble telling this to a group of my colleagues- doctors.  Recently, I gave a talk to some residents.  I said: "Do what the Orientals do when they visit a home –they leave their shoes outside.  That is what I would like you to do with your disbelief, because I am aware you don’t believe any of this."  I discuss acupuncture, which always make their eyes roll.  I tell them, ‘Believe me, acupuncture works wonders but just because we don’t know all the mechanisms of how it works does not mean it does not work."  One day, we will get it and we will say, "oh yes, that is how it works: we really don’t know how homeopathy works neither do we know how aspirin relieves pain. "

Global trends in Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM)

In Canada and USA today, there is clear evidence that CAM has moved into their main stream. A follow-up study a few years ago indicated Americans were beginning to embrace "non-standard" therapies (CAM) and paying more for them out of pockets (unbudgeted for) than for orthodox.  Alternative medicine has shown even greater penetration. 

And a separate Sanford University survey reports the biggest percentage yet – 70 per cent of Americans using some form of Alternative Medicines, particularly when standard allopathic medicines have failed. 

It was also noted that 56 per cent of those surveyed believed medical insurance plans should pay for them.  The Eisenberg follow-up report was published in the strictly orthodox Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), which also runs a series of articles on CAM with particular focus on medicinal plants.

The American Medical Association (AMA) held a briefing to underscore its findings with JAMA Editor, Dr. George Lunberg, saying: "Our readers – American physicians - want more information about this topic (Alternative Medicine) because so many of their patients are using it" and they need to be knowledgeable if they will effectively treat them. Part of the clamour was evident in the fact that more than 60 per cent of the nation’s medical schools now offer courses or in divisions in Alternative medicine.  I call on the Federal Government to set up machinery in motion that will allow medical schools to offer courses in Complementary Medicine and also to establish a Centre of Excellence for the training and retraining of practitioners of CAM.  At the moment, there are only about ten qualified practitioners registered with the MDCN, whereas there are hundreds that are practiSing illegally. To correct this, an aggressive modalities for training are mandatory and urgent. 

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Michael H. Cohen is an experienced business law and health care law attorney ho has taught health care law and policy at Harvard University and counseled many different kinds of practitioners and businesses, including:

  • physicians (MD's and DO's)
  • physician groups, hospitals, and clinical facilities
  • integrative medicine centers
  • professional health care educational institutions and associations
  • dentists
  • registered nurses and advanced practice nurses
  • clinical psychologists
  • chiropractors
  • acupuncturists
  • massage therapists
  • homeopathic physicians and homeopaths
  • naturopathic doctors and naturopaths
  • energy healers, hypnotists, medical intuitives
  • dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors
  • cosmetics manufacturers
  • entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • publishers
  • wellness clinics
  • herbalists
  • bio-energy companies
  • medical device inventors
  • telemedicine enterprises
  • many varieties of businesses

As an attorney  at the cutting edge of health care and business law, he represents enterprises whose leaders are conscious and committed to a better world.  He provides legal and regulatory expertise to a multitude of businesses and corporations, as well as to attorneys and law firms involved in various health care legal issues including:

  • fee-splitting, Stark and anti-kickback
  • medical board or other professional discipline
  • negligence, informed consent, and medical malpractice liability
  • HIPAA and patient privacy issues
  • Medicare (including opting out vs. participation vs. non-participation)
  • professional liability insurance and insurance (billing and coding) issues
  • telemedicine, tele-psychiatry and telehealth
  • other legal and regulatory compliance issues.

To speak with a lawyer about health care law issues pertaining to complementary and alternative medicine, or to consult a business lawyer about laws and legal issues for entrepreneurs and new enterprises that are seeking legal advice, contact attorney Michael H. Cohen today.

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COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE LAW BLOG

Michael H. Cohen, Esq.; 468 North Camden Dr. | Beverly Hills, California 90210 | 310-844-3173