SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Alternative medicine

271

The practice of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, is based on the concept of three major constitutional types (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) defined as “Prakriti”. To the best of our knowledge, no study has convincingly correlated genomic variations with the classification of Prakriti. In the present study, we performed genome-wide SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) analysis (Affymetrix, 6.0) of 262 well-classified male individuals (after screening 3416 subjects) belonging to three Prakritis. We found 52 SNPs (p ≤ 1 × 10(-5)) were significantly different between Prakritis, without any confounding effect of stratification, after 10(6) permutations. Principal component analysis (PCA) of these SNPs classified 262 individuals into their respective groups (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) irrespective of their ancestry, which represent its power in categorization. We further validated our finding with 297 Indian population samples with known ancestry. Subsequently, we found that PGM1 correlates with phenotype of Pitta as described in the ancient text of Caraka Samhita, suggesting that the phenotypic classification of India’s traditional medicine has a genetic basis; and its Prakriti-based practice in vogue for many centuries resonates with personalized medicine.

Concepts: Genetics, Bioinformatics, Ayurveda, SNP array, Alternative medicine, Traditional medicine, Sanskrit words and phrases, Charaka Samhita

224

To evaluate the effect of an antenatal integrative medicine education programme in addition to usual care for nulliparous women on intrapartum epidural use.

Concepts: Medicine, Childbirth, Evidence-based medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Ayurveda, Obstetrics, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine

218

Health economists have largely ignored complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an area of research, although both clinical experiences and several empirical studies suggest cost-effectiveness of CAM.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional medicine, Edzard Ernst

210

Global HIV-1 treatment would benefit greatly from safe herbal medicines with scientifically validated novel anti-HIV-1 activities. The root extract from the medicinal plant Pelargonium sidoides (PS) is licensed in Germany as the herbal medicine EPs®7630, with numerous clinical trials supporting its safety in humans. Here we provide evidence from multiple cell culture experiments that PS extract displays potent anti-HIV-1 activity. We show that PS extract protects peripheral blood mononuclear cells and macrophages from infection with various X4 and R5 tropic HIV-1 strains, including clinical isolates. Functional studies revealed that the extract from PS has a novel mode-of-action. It interferes directly with viral infectivity and blocks the attachment of HIV-1 particles to target cells, protecting them from virus entry. Analysis of the chemical footprint of anti-HIV activity indicates that HIV-1 inhibition is mediated by multiple polyphenolic compounds with low cytotoxicity and can be separated from other extract components with higher cytotoxicity. Based on our data and its excellent safety profile, we propose that PS extract represents a lead candidate for the development of a scientifically validated herbal medicine for anti-HIV-1 therapy with a mode-of-action different from and complementary to current single-molecule drugs.

Concepts: Immune system, Pharmacology, Medicine, Ayurveda, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, PBMC, Pelargonium sidoides

201

Background We evaluated whether complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use influenced outcomes [survival and health-related quality of life (HRQOL)] of cancer patients whose condition had just been judged terminal. Patients and methods From July 2005 to October 2006, we conducted a prospective cohort study of 481 terminally ill cancer patients at 11 university hospitals and the National Cancer Center in Korea. We assessed how the use of CAM affected HRQOL and survival. Results In a follow-up of 481 patients and 163.8 person-years, we identified 466 deceased cases. On multivariate analyses, CAM users did not have better survival compared with nonusers [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR), 0.91; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74-1.10]. Among mind-body interventions, prayer showed significantly worse survival (aHR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.00-2.43). Clinically, CAM users reported significantly worse cognitive functioning (-11.6 versus -1.3; P < 0.05) and fatigue (9.9 versus -1.0; P < 0.05) than nonusers. Compared with nonusers in subgroup analysis, users of alternative medical treatments, prayer, vitamin supplements, mushrooms, or rice and cereal reported clinically significant worse changes in some HRQOL subscales. Conclusion While CAM did not provide any definite survival benefit, CAM users reported clinically significant worse HRQOLs.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Ayurveda, Relative risk, Alternative medicine, Health freedom movement, Prayer, Orthomolecular medicine

172

Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint which occurs due to difficulty in falling asleep or maintaining it. Most of currently available drugs for insomnia develop dependency and/or adverse effects. Hence natural therapies could be an alternative choice of treatment for insomnia. The root or whole plant extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been used to induce sleep in Indian system of traditional home medicine, Ayurveda. However, its active somnogenic components remain unidentified. We investigated the effect of various components of Ashwagandha leaf on sleep regulation by oral administration in mice. We found that the alcoholic extract that contained high amount of active withanolides was ineffective to induce sleep in mice. However, the water extract which contain triethylene glycol as a major component induced significant amount of non-rapid eye movement sleep with slight change in rapid eye movement sleep. Commercially available triethylene glycol also increased non-rapid eye movement sleep in mice in a dose-dependent (10-30 mg/mouse) manner. These results clearly demonstrated that triethylene glycol is an active sleep-inducing component of Ashwagandha leaves and could potentially be useful for insomnia therapy.

Concepts: Sleep, Alternative medicine, Circadian rhythm, Rapid eye movement sleep, Insomnia, Withania somnifera, Withania, Ashwagandha

172

BACKGROUND: Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of an objective physical source. Up to now, there is no generally accepted view how these phantom sounds come about, and also no efficient treatment. Patients are turning to complementary or alternative medical therapies, such as acupuncture. Based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, acupoints located on both the adjacent and distal area of the disease can be needled to treat disease. Furthermore, the way of combining acupoints is for strengthening the curative effect. We aim to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture at local points in combination with distal points in subjective tinnitus patients. METHOD: This trial is a randomized, single-blind, controlled study. A total of 112 participants will be randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups receiving acupuncture treatment for 4 weeks. The primary outcome measure is subjective tinnitus loudness and annoyance perception, which is graded using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). The assessment is at baseline (before treatment initiation), 4 weeks after the first acupuncture session, and 8 weeks after the first acupuncture session. DISCUSSION: Completion of this trial will help to identify whether acupuncture at local acupoints in combination with distal acupoints may be more effective than needling points separately.Trial registrationInternational Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register: ISRCTN29230777.

Concepts: Medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Efficacy, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Acupuncture point

171

To identify the frequency and qualitative characteristics of stem cell-related marketing claims made on websites of clinics featuring common types of complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. The involvement of complementary and alternative medicine practitioners in the marketing of stem cell therapies and stem cell-related interventions is understudied. This research explores the extent to which they are involved and collaborate with medical professionals. This knowledge will help with identifying and evaluating potential policy responses to this growing market.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Marketing, Health care system, Marketing research

168

The Ayurvedic medicinal system claims Mucuna pruriens (MP) to possess pro-male fertility, aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties. Some scientific evidence also supports its pro-male fertility properties; however, the mechanism of its action is not yet clear. The present study aimed at demonstrating spermatogenic restorative efficacy of MP and its major constituent L-DOPA (LD), and finding the possible mechanism of action thereof in a rat model.

Concepts: Present, Mitochondrion, Organelle, Reactive oxygen species, Alternative medicine, Cytochrome c, Mucuna pruriens

167

BACKGROUND: Personalised (or individualised) medicine in the days of genetic research refers to molecular biologic specifications in individuals and not to a response to individual patient needs in the sense of person-centred medicine. Studies suggest that patients often wish for authentically person-centred care and personal physician-patient interactions, and that they therefore choose Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) as a possibility to complement standard care and ensure a patient-centred approach. Therefore, to build on the findings documented in these qualitative studies, we investigated the various concepts of individualised medicine inherent in patients' reasons for using CAM. METHODS: We used the technique of meta-ethnography, following a three-stage approach: (1) A comprehensive systematic literature search of 67 electronic databases and appraisal of eligible qualitative studies related to patients' reasons for seeking CAM was carried out. Eligibility for inclusion was determined using defined criteria. (2) A meta-ethnographic study was conducted according to Noblit and Hare’s method for translating key themes in patients' reasons for using CAM. (3) A line-of-argument approach was used to synthesize and interpret key concepts associated with patients' reasoning regarding individualized medicine. RESULTS: (1) Of a total of 9,578 citations screened, 38 studies were appraised with a quality assessment checklist and a total of 30 publications were included in the study. (2) Reasons for CAM use evolved following a reciprocal translation. (3) The line-of-argument interpretations of patients' concepts of individualised medicine that emerged based on the findings of our multidisciplinary research team were “personal growth”, “holism”, “alliance”, “integrative care”, “self-activation” and “wellbeing”. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this meta-ethnographic study demonstrate that patients' notions of individualised medicine differ from the current idea of personalised genetic medicine. Our study shows that the “personal” patients' needs are not identified with a specific high-risk group or with a unique genetic profile in the sense of genome-based “personalised” or “individualised” medicine. Thus, the concept of individualised medicine should include the humanistic approach of individualisation as expressed in concepts such as “personal growth”, “holistic” or “integrative care”, doctor-patient “alliance”, “self-activation” and “wellbeing” needs. This should also be considered in research projects and the allocation of healthcare resources.

Concepts: DNA, Medicine, Genetics, Evolution, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Translation