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Acupuncture Today
February, 2002, Vol. 03, Issue 02
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News in Brief

By Editorial Staff

Northwestern, Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture Complete Merger

The Minnesota Institute for Acupuncture and Herbal Studies (MIAHS) and Northwestern Health Sciences University have announced the completion of their merger.

The merger became official when the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools reaccredited Northwestern for the maximum of 10 years, with the Institute's master of acupuncture and master of Oriental medicine degrees added to Northwestern's affiliation status. With the merger complete, the Institute will now be known as the Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MCAOM) and will be remain on the Northwestern campus, a space it has occupied since 1999.

"The merger with Northwestern provides MCAOM better facilities, improved benefits for faculty and staff, and a superb support system," enthused Ike Rodman, the college's vice president. "Our students are now supported by a roster of all the administrative departments one expects to find at a university, all staffed by competent and friendly professionals."

MCAOM was founded by Edith Davis in 1990. The school currently has an enrollment of approximately 100 students and two teaching clinics, one of which is on Northwestern's campus. MCAOM students also have the opportunity to participate in the Aliveness Project, a clinical program that treats HIV-positive and AIDS patients in Minneapolis.

Thailand Issues Second Round of Licenses for TCM Professionals

Most Americans spent the day after Christmas returning to work after a much-needed vacation, eating that last bit of their holiday meal, or formulating New Year's resolutions. Not so in Thailand. On December 26th, at a ceremony in the capital of Bangkok, the government issued licenses for 103 traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, raising the number of licensed TCM practitioners to 114.

"Traditional Chinese medicine has been known to the Thai people for hundreds of years, and now it is considered as an important way of treatment by the locals," said the country's public health minister, Sudarat Keyuraphan, in a ceremony honoring the new licensees. "Most of the practitioners gained their knowledge about medicine from their peers, who have passed on their practices from generation to generation."

Keyuraphan added that a new government policy has been put into effect, which is designed to: train young Chinese medicine professionals; educate the public and promote knowledge of Chinese medicine; and standardize treatment to comply with international standards. Toward that end, she announced that the government is considering the establishment of a state administration of traditional Chinese medicine to meet the growing demand for TCM.

Since the first set of TCM professional licenses was granted in January 2001, approximately 400 health care practitioners have applied for licensure. To ensure that only the most highly skilled professionals can practice, the country has imposed some of the strictest licensure requirements in existence, with applicants required to pass several rounds of qualifying examinations before receiving their license.

Providers who earn a license to practice are allowed to perform traditional Chinese medicine, including the use of acupuncture and herbal remedies, and can work in state hospitals or private clinics owned by medical doctors. However, they are not allowed to open their own clinics. In addition, they are required to renew their licenses every two years, and must attend mandatory academic seminars; write academic papers; and abide by a strict code of conduct. Failure to comply with any of these requirements could lead to a practitioner's license being revoked and the right to seek a new license annulled.

Researchers to Study Benefits of Chlorella

A micro-algae, chlorella contains more than 20 vitamins and minerals and large amounts of nucleic acids. Long considered an essential dietary supplement in Japan, the use of chlorella is increasing substantially in the United States, as is the amount of research on its healing properties. Previous studies have suggested that chlorella could play an important role in detoxification and growth, and may augment the wound-healing process. New research conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University appears to support earlier claims of chlorella's benefits.

In the study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Randall Merchant gave chlorella supplements to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, including fibromyalgia, hypertension and ulcerative colitis, with an emphasis on learning how the supplement relieved symptoms and normalized body functions. According to Dr. Merchant, many of the patients experienced "significant relief of symptoms" and noted that their quality of life was "greatly improved" after taking chlorella.

These results have prompted Merchant's team to conduct further studies on patients with more serious conditions, including lung and colon cancer. Future trials currently under development will determine whether adding specific amounts of chlorella to the diet of cancer patients will speed the recovery of bone marrow and restore normal immune function while they receive chemotherapy.

"Our intention is to better understand chlorella's mechanism of action in these diseases, as well as how it helps to maintain the general health of the body," maintained Dr. Merchant.

National College Hires New Staff, Upgrades Clinic

The National College of Oriental Medicine in Orlando, Florida has hired two new staff members to help serve its growing student population. Laura Quatrella has joined the staff as the college's new librarian. Ms. Quatrella holds a master's degree in library science from Southern Connecticut State University and has more than 15 years of experience working in public and academic libraries. At NCOM, her main duties will be to update the library's catalog system and develop the school's Oriental medicine and Western medical science collections.

The college has also hired Vincent Miskell to be its student services officer. In his new role, Mr. Miskell will work closely with the school's student government and alumni association. He has previously served at other institutions as an instructor and academic coordinator, and is a published author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

In related news, NCOM has added two new treatment rooms to its clinic (for a total of seven) to accommodate the influx of patients seeking acupuncture and other forms of care. In October, 605 treatments were performed at the clinic - a school record.

Spotlight on the Second China International Health Care Festival

Kunming, China was the site of the Second China International Health Care Festival, held in the southwestern province of Yunnan from October 18-22. Approximately 400 representatives from the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries attended the event, which was hosted by Yunnan's provincial government.

The festival was designed to give Chinese organizations and individuals a chance to showcase their skills in traditional Chinese medicine. In addition to exhibits on health foods and medicines, TCM experts delivered lectures and offered an exchange of ideas on future developments in the Chinese medicine industry.

Following the meeting, a delegate from the World Health Organization told the Xinhua News Agency that traditional Chinese medicine "has made an outstanding contribution to man's survival" and added that the festival "will help to carry forward China's traditional medical culture and promote the development of the health protection industry."


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