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Bio-Piracy or Prospering Together? Fuzzy Set and Qualitative Analysis of Herbal Patenting by Firms

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Bio-Piracy or Prospering Together? Fuzzy Set and Qualitative Analysis of Herbal Patenting by Firms (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business Working Papers

Since the 1990s, several western firms have filed patents based on medicinal herbs from emerging markets, evoking protests from local stakeholders against ‘bio-piracy’. We explore conditions under which firms and local stakeholders share rents from such patents. Our theoretical model builds on two distinct strategy literatures: firms appropriating rents from new technologies and firms managing stakeholders. We predict that a win-win outcome emerges when the patent strength is moderate and when local stakeholders form a coalition with larger national stakeholders to initiate litigation against the focal firm. We test our predictions using a two-pronged empirical strategy. Our empirical context relates to herbal patents from emerging markets and given that we have a small sample (N=17), we employ a fuzzy set QCA methodology. In addition, we develop four in-depth qualitative case studies to support our predictions.

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Acupuncture Research – Areas of High and Low Programmatic Priorities

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Acupuncture Research – Areas of High and Low Programmatic Priorities
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

On this page:

  • Published Research
  • Areas of High Programmatic Priority
  • Areas of Low Programmatic Priority
  • NCCAM Contact Information
  • Selected References

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Chronic Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Approaches

April 4, 2014 Comments off

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Chronic Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Approaches
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about spinal manipulation, acupuncture, massage, and yoga, the complementary approaches most often used by people for chronic low back pain.

AMTA Releases White Paper on Music Therapy & Military

March 6, 2014 Comments off

AMTA Releases White Paper on Music Therapy & Military
Source: American Music Therapy Association

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) announces the publication of Music Therapy and Military Populations: A Status Report and Recommendations on Music Therapy Treatment, Programs, Research, and Practice Policy. This landmark report discusses the profession of music therapy with a focus on both active duty service members and veterans.

The music therapy profession’s rich, enduring contributions to readiness, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness among America’s military populations are explored. The white paper presents exemplary model programs and highlights the strong foundation of published research and evidence to inform practice. This information provides the groundwork to improve access to music therapy services among military populations and inform strategic plans for expanded and prioritized implementation of music therapy programs, research, and practice policy in the military.

Massage Therapy for Health Purposes: What You Need To Know

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Massage Therapy for Health Purposes: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

A lot of the scientific research on massage therapy is preliminary or conflicting, but much of the evidence points toward beneficial effects on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions. Much of the evidence suggests that these effects are short term and that people need to keep getting massages for the benefits to continue.

Credentialing: Understanding the Education, Training, Regulation, and Licensing of Complementary Health Practitioners

February 14, 2014 Comments off

Credentialing: Understanding the Education, Training, Regulation, and Licensing of Complementary Health Practitioners
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Health care providers’ credentials—the licenses, certificates, and diplomas on their office walls—tell us about their professional qualifications to advise and treat us. In the United States, local and state governments and professional organizations establish the credentials that complementary health practitioners need to treat patients. This fact sheet provides a general overview of the credentialing of practitioners and suggests sources for additional information.

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

What’s the Bottom Line?

Are complementary health approaches for chronic pain safe?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Although many of the complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free for everyone. Your age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and medicines or supplements that you take may affect the safety of complementary approaches.

Are any complementary health approaches for chronic pain effective?
The currently available evidence is not strong enough to allow definite conclusions to be reached about whether complementary approaches are effective for chronic pain. However, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that some of these approaches, such as massage, spinal manipulation, and yoga, may help to manage some painful conditions.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

December 18, 2013 Comments off

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

Background: Vitamin and mineral supplements are commonly used to prevent chronic diseases.

Purpose: To systematically review evidence for the benefit and harms of vitamin and mineral supplements in community-dwelling, nutrient-sufficient adults for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.

Data Sources: MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects were searched from January 2005 to 29 January 2013, with manual searches of reference lists and gray literature.

Study Selection: Two investigators independently selected and reviewed fair- and good-quality trials for benefit and fair- and good-quality trials and observational studies for harms.

Data Extraction: Dual quality assessments and data abstraction.

Data Synthesis: Two large trials (n = 27 658) reported lower cancer incidence in men taking a multivitamin for more than 10 years (pooled unadjusted relative risk, 0.93 [95% CI, 0.87 to 0.99]). The study that included women showed no effect in that group. High-quality studies (k = 24; n = 324 653) of single and paired nutrients (such as vitamins A, C, or D; folic acid; selenium; or calcium) were scant and heterogeneous and showed no clear evidence of benefit or harm. Neither vitamin E nor β-carotene prevented CVD or cancer, and β-carotene increased lung cancer risk in smokers.

Limitations: The analysis included only primary prevention studies in adults without known nutritional deficiencies. Studies were conducted in older individuals and included various supplements and doses under the set upper tolerable limits. Duration of most studies was less than 10 years.

Conclusion: Limited evidence supports any benefit from vitamin and mineral supplementation for the prevention of cancer or CVD. Two trials found a small, borderline-significant benefit from multivitamin supplements on cancer in men only and no effect on CVD.

DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products

November 5, 2013 Comments off

DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products
Source: BMC Medicine

Background
Herbal products available to consumers in the marketplace may be contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the labels. According to the World Health Organization, the adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety. Our research aimed to investigate herbal product integrity and authenticity with the goal of protecting consumers from health risks associated with product substitution and contamination.

Methods
We used DNA barcoding to conduct a blind test of the authenticity for (i) 44 herbal products representing 12 companies and 30 different species of herbs, and (ii) 50 leaf samples collected from 42 herbal species. Our laboratory also assembled the first standard reference material (SRM) herbal barcode library from 100 herbal species of known provenance that were used to identify the unknown herbal products and leaf samples.

Results
We recovered DNA barcodes from most herbal products (91%) and all leaf samples (100%), with 95% species resolution using a tiered approach (rbcL + ITS2). Most (59%) of the products tested contained DNA barcodes from plant species not listed on the labels. Although we were able to authenticate almost half (48%) of the products, one-third of these also contained contaminants and or fillers not listed on the label. Product substitution occurred in 30/44 of the products tested and only 2/12 companies had products without any substitution, contamination or fillers. Some of the contaminants we found pose serious health risks to consumers.

Conclusions
Most of the herbal products tested were of poor quality, including considerable product substitution, contamination and use of fillers. These activities dilute the effectiveness of otherwise useful remedies, lowering the perceived value of all related products because of a lack of consumer confidence in them. We suggest that the herbal industry should embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in manufacturing products. The use of an SRM DNA herbal barcode library for testing bulk materials could provide a method for ‘best practices? in the manufacturing of herbal products. This would provide consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.

Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial

October 15, 2013 Comments off

Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Source: PLoS Medicine

Background
Depression is a significant cause of morbidity. Many patients have communicated an interest in non-pharmacological therapies to their general practitioners. Systematic reviews of acupuncture and counselling for depression in primary care have identified limited evidence. The aim of this study was to evaluate acupuncture versus usual care and counselling versus usual care for patients who continue to experience depression in primary care.

Methods and Findings
In a randomised controlled trial, 755 patients with depression (Beck Depression Inventory BDI-II score ≥20) were recruited from 27 primary care practices in the North of England. Patients were randomised to one of three arms using a ratio of 2:2:1 to acupuncture (302), counselling (302), and usual care alone (151). The primary outcome was the difference in mean Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) scores at 3 months with secondary analyses over 12 months follow-up. Analysis was by intention-to-treat.

PHQ-9 data were available for 614 patients at 3 months and 572 patients at 12 months. Patients attended a mean of ten sessions for acupuncture and nine sessions for counselling. Compared to usual care, there was a statistically significant reduction in mean PHQ-9 depression scores at 3 months for acupuncture (−2.46, 95% CI −3.72 to −1.21) and counselling (−1.73, 95% CI −3.00 to −0.45), and over 12 months for acupuncture (−1.55, 95% CI −2.41 to −0.70) and counselling (−1.50, 95% CI −2.43 to −0.58). Differences between acupuncture and counselling were not significant. In terms of limitations, the trial was not designed to separate out specific from non-specific effects. No serious treatment-related adverse events were reported.

Conclusions
In this randomised controlled trial of acupuncture and counselling for patients presenting with depression, after having consulted their general practitioner in primary care, both interventions were associated with significantly reduced depression at 3 months when compared to usual care alone.

Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN63787732

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don’t Be Misled

September 19, 2013 Comments off

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don’t Be Misled
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administraton

No, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has not been clinically proven to cure or be effective in the treatment of cancer, autism, or diabetes. But do a quick search on the Internet, and you’ll see all kinds of claims for these and other diseases for which the device has not been cleared or approved by FDA.

HBOT involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared hyperbaric chambers for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers.

HBOT has not, however, been proven to be the kind of universal treatment it has been touted to be on some Internet sites. FDA is concerned that some claims made by treatment centers using HBOT may give consumers a wrong impression that could ultimately endanger their health.

Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction

September 19, 2013 Comments off

Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices. India’s government and other institutes throughout the world support clinical and laboratory research on Ayurvedic medicine, within the context of the Eastern belief system. But Ayurvedic medicine is not widely studied as part of conventional (Western) medicine. This fact sheet provides a general overview of Ayurvedic medicine and suggests sources for additional information.

Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches

September 18, 2013 Comments off

Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

The number of Web sites offering health-related resources—including information about complementary health approaches (often called complementary and alternative medicine)—grows every day. Social media sites have also become an important source of online health information for some people. Many online health resources are useful, but others may present information that is inaccurate or misleading, so it’s important to find sources you can trust and to know how to evaluate their content. This guide provides help for finding reliable Web sites and outlines things to consider in evaluating health information from Web sites and social media sources.

Legion releases report on TBI and PTSD

September 14, 2013 Comments off

Legion releases report on TBI and PTSD
Source: American Legion

The American Legion released a report on Sept. 11 that is the culmination of a study the wartime veterans organization did on current treatments and best practices for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The report, entitled “The War Within,” includes findings and recommendations based on comprehensive research, conducted from January 2011 to February 2013, by an American Legion ad hoc committee chaired by William Detweiler, past national commander of the Legion.

Detweiler said the report shows that while the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) use a number of traditional medical treatments for TBI and PTSD cases, “they have not done a lot of research on alternative methods. There’s no simple answer to what works as far as PTSD or TBI is concerned, but we found that the (DoD and VA) medical profession shied away from certain things which they considered to be alternative medicine.”

For example, Detweiler said that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is one alternative treatment that “works for some people. It’s not the answer for everybody, but (DoD and VA) have shied away from putting any serious money into doing studies.”

Clinical Digest — Spotlight on a Modality: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

September 9, 2013 Comments off

Clinical Digest — Spotlight on a Modality: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Omega-3 fatty acids have been in the news lately, after a new study raises concern about the association of omega-3s and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Omega-3s are a popular supplement used by many Americans. In fact, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health practices by Americans, fish oil/omega-3/DHA supplements are the natural product (excluding vitamins and minerals) most commonly taken by adults, and the second most commonly taken by children.

Moderate evidence has emerged about the health benefits of consuming seafood, but the health benefits of omega-3s in supplement form are less clear. For example, the findings of individual studies on omega-3 supplements and heart disease have been inconsistent, and in 2012, two combined analyses of the results of these studies did not find convincing evidence that omega-3s protect against heart disease.

There is some evidence that omega-3s are modestly helpful in relieving symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s may also be helpful for age-related macular degeneration (AMD; an eye disease that can cause loss of vision in older people). For most other conditions for which omega-3s are being studied, definitive conclusions cannot yet be reached. This issue of the digest provides information on what the science says about omega-3’s effectiveness and safety for several conditions for which there is the most evidence, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, infant development, and diseases of the eye and brain.

Passionflower

August 19, 2013 Comments off

Passionflower
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

This fact sheet provides basic information about passionflower—common names, what the science says, potential side effects and cautions, and resources for more information.

Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers learned of passionflower in Peru. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower for boils, wounds, earaches, and liver problems. Today, passionflower is promoted as a folk or traditional remedy for anxiety, stress, and sleep, as well as for heart ailments, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, burns, and hemorrhoids.

Passionflower is available dried (which can be used to make tea), or as liquid extract, capsules, or tablets.

The Role of Service Dog Training in the Treatment of Combat-Related PTSD

August 9, 2013 Comments off

The Role of Service Dog Training in the Treatment of Combat-Related PTSD
Source: Psychiatric Annals

In response to the critical need for adjunctive treatments for soldiers with refractory forms of mental injury — primarily posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — the US military is developing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques, including animal-assisted intervention (AAI).

CAM modalities include therapies such as yoga, meditation, and creative art therapies, shown to have an effect on the mind’s capacity to regulate the brain and body’s response to social and environmental challenges by reducing stress and enhancing the immune function through the release of the neuropeptide oxytocin by the brain.

Olff et al suggest PTSD symptom treatment would be improved by increasing endogenous levels of oxytocin through optimizing of social support. Studies show that dogs can provide such an optimization of social support and that positive interactions with dogs may offer a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive way to increase endogenous levels of oxytocin and other important anti-stress agents in humans.

Spotlight on a Modality: Oral Probiotics

July 31, 2013 Comments off

Spotlight on a Modality: Oral Probiotics
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Probiotics are live microorganisms (e.g., bacteria) that are either the same as or similar to microorganisms found naturally in the human body and may be beneficial to health. Probiotics are available to consumers in oral products such as dietary supplements and yogurts, as well as other products such as suppositories and creams. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any health claims for probiotics.

There is mounting evidence that probiotics can have beneficial effects on human health. Possible mechanisms under active investigation include altering the intestinal “microecology” (e.g., reducing harmful organisms in the intestine), producing antimicrobial compounds (substances that destroy or suppress the growth of microorganisms), and stimulating the body’s immune response.

Probiotics commonly used in the United States include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There are many specific types of bacteria within each of these two broad groups, and health benefits associated with one type may not hold true for others. This issue of the digest provides information on what the science says about probiotics, with an emphasis on oral products.

Backgrounder — Homeopathy: An Introduction

July 30, 2013 Comments off

Homeopathy: An Introduction
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Key Points

  • There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.
  • Although people sometimes assume that all homeopathic remedies are highly diluted and therefore unlikely to cause harm, some products labeled as homeopathic can contain substantial amounts of active ingredients and therefore could cause side effects and drug interactions.
  • Homeopathic remedies are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, FDA does not evaluate the remedies for safety or effectiveness.
  • Several key concepts of homeopathy are inconsistent with fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics. There are significant challenges in carrying out rigorous clinical research on homeopathic remedies.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of all you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Asthma and Complementary Health Approaches

July 8, 2013 Comments off

Asthma and Complementary Health Approaches
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects people of all ages. It causes episodes of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Although there is no cure, most people with asthma are able to manage the disease with medications and behavioral changes.

Researchers also are studying various complementary health approaches for asthma relief. This fact sheet provides basic information about asthma, summarizes scientific research on the effectiveness and safety of complementary health approaches for asthma, and suggests sources for additional information.

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