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IOM Summit Provides Models for Health Reform

The goal of the strategies brought forth at the summit: improved care for less cost.

 

Washington, DC (February 27, 2009)—Before one of the largest and most diverse audiences ever assembled at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public held this week brought forth emerging strategies for addressing some of the major problems inherent in our current healthcare system. The goal: improved care for less cost.

As Congress and the Obama Administration tackle issues related to escalating healthcare costs and the rising incidence of chronic disease, distinguished scientists, leading clinicians, top policy experts and industry leaders articulated principles and practices from integrative medicine that could form the basis for effective healthcare reform.

Integrative medicine is an approach to healthcare that places the patient at the center of care, focuses on prevention and wellness, and attends to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the person. “What we have now is a ‘sick care’ system that is reactive to problems,” said Ralph Snyderman, MD, Chancellor Emeritus, Duke University School of Medicine and Summit Chair. “The integrative approach flips the system on its head and puts the patient at the center, addressing not just symptoms, but the real causes of illness. It is care that is preventive, predictive and personalized.”

The 600-plus participants at the Summit discussed how advancing technology is finally allowing health professionals to understand the mechanisms by which many integrative medicine interventions, such as mind-body medicine and nutrition, actually work. “Genomics and advanced imaging technologies such as MRI are validating the mechanisms for integrative healthcare approaches that were difficult to prove before,” said Mimi Guarneri, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. Consequently, the new evidence is compelling.


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Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine Appoints New Editors

Christine L. Girard, N.D.; Jason Hao, D.O.M.; and Michele Mittelman, R.N., M.P.H., named journal’s new editors

BOULDER, Colo. (January 7, 2009)—Effective with the Jan/Feb 2009 issue, three new editors—Christine L. Girard, N.D.; Jason Hao, D.O.M.; and Michele Mittelman, R.N., M.P.H.—have been appointed to assist David Riley, M.D., in his role as editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (ATHM), a peer-reviewed medical journal published by InnoVision Health Media.

“The new editors will play a vital role in reviewing content for the journal and are committed to using their knowledge and experience to enhance the high professional standards set by Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and helping to further its global mission,” Dr. Riley said.

Christine L. Girard, N.D., received her bachelor of arts degree from Goddard College and her naturopathic degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon. She is the executive vice president of academic and clinical affairs for the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona and serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Girard gives numerous lectures throughout the country on natural medicine, integrative oncology, and programs in postgraduate medical education.

Jason Hao, D.O.M., received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine in China and received his master of business administration from the University of Phoenix. He is the president of the International Academy of Scalp Acupuncture, the chairman of the Acupuncture Committee at the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and vice president of the Southwest Acupuncture College Board in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Hao has been teaching, practicing, and researching acupuncture and treatment with Chinese herbs for 26 years at academic centers in the United States and China.

Michele Mittelman, R.N., M.P.H., has a background in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing, Rutgers University, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International. She has worked as a registered nurse in intensive care, obtained a graduate degree in public health from Columbia University, and worked as a healthcare consultant with Ernst & Young. Ms. Mittelman is an advocate for the nursing profession, focusing on integrative care. She has worked nationally to advance integrative medicine through strategic philanthropic initiatives and is also involved with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

“I am excited to have such talented, passionate professionals working with me on Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and I believe the diversity of their backgrounds will bring the quality and reach of the journal to a new level,” Dr. Riley said.

Now in its 15th year, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine is the definitive peer-reviewed journal in the field of integrative, cross-cultural, and alternative medicine. In both 2006 and 2007, ATHM had the highest impact factor ranking of any independently published peer-reviewed CAM journal in the United States—meaning that its research articles were cited more frequently than any other journal’s in the field. ATHM regularly features original research, original articles, case reports, cross-disciplinary explorations, interviews, and more.

For more information about Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, visit alternative-therapies.com.


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Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine Names New Editor in Chief

David Riley, M.D., assumes editor in chief role for the Jan/Feb 2009 issue

BOULDER, Colo. (November 11, 2008)—Effective with the Jan/Feb 2009 issue, David Riley, M.D., has been appointed as the new editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (ATHM), a peer-reviewed medical journal published by InnoVision Health Media.

Dr. Riley replaces Mark Hyman, M.D., who has served as editor in chief since 2004. Dr. Hyman, an esteemed author, lecturer, and practitioner of integrative and functional medicine, will serve as a contributing editor to the journal with a focus on functional medicine. Dr. Hyman recently launched the Functional Medicine Foundation, based in New York, N.Y., to promote and fund research on functional medicine.

Dr. Riley’s appointment as editor in chief of Alternative Therapies marks a return of sorts to his publishing roots. He was an editor of ATHM from 1995 to 1999. He also served as editor in chief of the journal from 1999 to 2004. Dr. Riley is the founder of the Santa Fe–based Integrative Medicine Institute and serves as a consultant on a variety of international integrative medicine projects, including those involving medical publishing, clinical trials, natural medicinal products, and healthcare policy. Most recently, he was editor in chief of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.  

“I am honored to return as the editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine,” says Dr. Riley. “I look forward to working with InnoVision Health Media in our journey to explore what’s referred to as integrative or alternative medicine. We all recognize that high-quality scientific articles on therapies that are reasonably safe and effective may at times be controversial; medicine and controversy have often been inseparable. And in that controversy, the recognition of new ideas and new ways of viewing older ideas emerge, enriching the lives of patients and practitioners alike.”

“Dr. Riley’s appointment will ensure that Alternative Therapies maintains and enhances its cutting-edge scientific and clinical content,” notes Rob Lutz, InnoVision president. “His vast experience in medical publishing will also help InnoVision facilitate an increase in readership and advertising partnerships and grow the journal’s esteem in the world of medicine.

“We’d also like to thank Dr. Hyman for his many contributions to the journal and the cause of integrative medicine over the last four years,” Lutz adds. “We’re excited about his founding of the Functional Medicine Foundation and look forward to his continued, regular involvement with Alternative Therapies.”

Now in its 14th year, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine is the definitive peer-reviewed journal in the field of integrative, cross-cultural, and alternative medicine. In both 2006 and 2007, ATHM had the highest impact factor ranking of any independently published peer-reviewed CAM journal in the United States—meaning that its research articles were cited more frequently than any other journal’s in the field. ATHM regularly features original research, original articles, case reports, clinical applicators, cross-disciplinary explorations, interviews, and more.

For more information about Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, visit alternative-therapies.com. For more information about Dr. Riley, visit integrativemed.org.


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Study Suggests Green Tea May Support the Medical Treatment of Stomach and Colon Cancer

BOULDER, Colo. (May 5, 2008)—Green tea consumption may promote cancer-preventive effects in people at risk for cancer in addition to supporting the medical treatment of some kinds of cancer, according to a study in the May/June 2008 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, on newsstands now.

In a study to establish whether green tea has anti-cancerous potential in human-stomach and colon cancers, 6 cancerous and 6 non-cancerous adjacent human gastric tissues and 7 cancerous and 7 non-cancerous adjacent colon tissues were obtained from patients who underwent surgery for stomach and colon cancer in the Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Department of General Surgery, Turkey. The tissues were treated with aqueous green tea extract at 3 different final concentrations (0.05%, 0.5%, and 1.25%) for 1 hour. Activity assays were performed on the same samples without green tea extract. Protein levels of the tissues were studied and adjusted to equal concentrations.

Xanthine oxidase (XO) and reduced adenosine deaminase (ADA) enzyme activities were measured before and after the incubation period. Percentage changes for the 3 different concentrations of green tea extract vs no green tea extract were calculated.

In both cancerous and non-cancerous tissues, XO activities were found to increase in correlation with increased extract concentrations in both cancer types. Additionally, ADA activity was found to decrease in the cancerous part of stomach tissue and to increase in the non-cancerous part.

“[While] further in vivo studies should be conducted about the effects of green tea in colon and gastric cancers, our study suggests that green tea consumption may promote cancer-preventive effects in people at risk for cancer, in addition to supporting the medical treatment of some kinds of cancers,” the authors said.

For more information and to schedule interviews with the study authors, contact Suzanne Snyder, 303.565.2028, suzanne@innovisionhm.com.


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Study Finds Naturopathic Care for Chronic Low-Back Pain to be Efficacious, Cost-Effective

Workplace study shows naturopathic care resulted in an improvement in health-related quality of life, lower costs, and reduced absenteeism

BOULDER, Colo. (March 12, 2008)—Naturopathic care is more cost-effective than a standardized physiotherapy-education regimen in the treatment of chronic low-back pain, according to a study in the March/April 2008 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by InnoVision Health Media.

Workers aged 18 to 65 years with clinical diagnoses of low-back pain of at least 6 weeks’ duration were recruited from a warehouse site of a large corporation. Seventy-five participants were randomly assigned to receive 3 months of 30-minute, semi-weekly, onsite naturopathic-care visits (acupuncture, exercise and dietary advice, relaxation training, and a back-care educational booklet) or 3 months of 30-minute, bi-weekly, onsite control-group visits (standardized physiotherapy advice and the back-care educational booklet). All participants were told to continue their pain medications as needed. Participants’ use of other adjunctive care (chiropractic care, massage, physiotherapy) was monitored.

Naturopathic-care participants had reduced absenteeism and tended to reduce adjunctive care—resulting in savings in out-of-pocket costs of $1096 per participant. Conversely, control-group participants had slightly increased absenteeism and tended to increase adjunctive care. The naturopathic-care group experienced a statistically significant (P=.006) increase in quality-of-life years over the study period; the control group did not. Furthermore, naturopathic care resulted in a net reduction of 6.7 absenteeism days. Under the healthcare coverage limits set by the employer and assuming the employer paid the full cost of naturopathic care, the intervention cost $154 per absentee day avoided, compared to employer costs of lost productivity of $172 per day, and had a return on investment of 7.9%.

Naturopathic care for chronic low-back pain resulted in lower societal costs and better health-related quality of life than the control treatment over the 3-month treatment period and 3-month follow-up and was cost-effective to the employer and participants.

For more information and to schedule interviews with the study authors, contact Suzanne Snyder, 303.565.2028, suzanne@innovisionhm.com.


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Ayurvedic Herbal Supplements Found to Be an Effective Antidote to 9/11 Toxicity

Helpfulness of conventional medical treatment rated significantly lower by affected World Trade Center rescuers, workers and volunteers

BOULDER, COLO. (January 16) —All 50 participants in a study on the effectiveness of Ayurvedic herbal supplements for 9/11 toxicity reported high incidence of alleviation of previously intractable symptoms, according to a report in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by InnoVision Health Media.

James Dahl, Ph.D., a senior research associate at the Phoenix House Foundation, and Katherine Dahl, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, both in New York, conducted an in-treatment, web-based survey with 50 World Trade Center rescue- and- recovery workers, volunteers, and area residents and workers who had used Ayurvedic herbs for post-9/11 symptoms, including respiratory distress, fatigue, and depression.

Survey respondents rated a wide range of symptoms on a Likert scale of 0-5, with 0 and 1 being minimal and 5 being extremely serious. Memory and concentration problems, cough, fatigue, exhaustion, “not feeling well,” and depression were among those reported as “extremely serious.”

“Not feeling well,” was the leading symptom reported for which respondents found the Ayurvedic treatment extremely helpful, ranking it 4.3. Difficulty breathing was rated second, at 4.19. Subjects reported relief from c ough, wheezing, concentration problems, and sleeping difficulties at very helpful levels (3.57-4.03).

Almost 65% of the patients received conventional medical treatment for their symptoms, nearly 44% of which was conventional medication. Twenty-six percent received psychotherapy or counseling, and 13% took psychiatric medication.

The level of helpfulness of conventional medical treatments was rated significantly lower for each symptom: “not feeling well,” 2.40; difficulty breathing, 2.95; cough, wheezing, concentration problems, and difficulty sleeping, 2.47-2.95.

The mean reported level of helpfulness with preexisting symptoms from the herbal treatment was 3.8 vs 2.6 for conventional medical treatments participants had tried. Additionally, herbal treatment was helpful for those symptoms rated most serious by those surveyed.

For more information, contact Dr. James Dahl at (516) 317-5858.


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