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Acupuncture Today
October, 2004, Vol. 05, Issue 10
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News in Brief

By Editorial Staff

Michigan Acupuncture Program Offers New Hope for Drunk Drivers

In 2003, approximately 100 people were sentenced in Michigan's Ingham County Circuit Court as third-time drunken driving offenders.

In response, county officials asked for - and have received - more than $21,000 in state grant money for a new acupuncture and nutrition treatment program. In June, the county started a six-month pilot program, which is designed to help offenders lose their cravings for alcohol while reducing crowding in the county's jails.

"Substance abuse changes your biology," explained Mary Sabaj, manager for Ingham County-City of Lansing Community Corrections. "Nutritional supplements and acupuncture specifically target the deficiencies created by alcoholism."

Under the terms of the program, substance abuse offenders serve their jail time and undergo a court-ordered treatment program for up to 90 days at a residential center. They may choose to take acupuncture and nutritional counseling along with a behavioral program, which helps the offenders identify the source of their drug abuse.

Acupuncture sessions are administered three times a week, and are delivered by Xiaohong Tan, a doctor of Oriental medicine from Lansing. The sessions are designed specifically to ease tremors caused by withdrawal, and reduce future cravings for alcohol. In the nutritional component, offenders spend two hours a week with a clinical nutritionist to create a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet.

The Ingham County acupuncture and nutrition program is believed to be the first of its kind to be held in Michigan. Similar programs have been implemented in Florida, New York, Oregon and elsewhere.

SCUHS Offers New Scholarships for Oriental Medicine Students

Two new scholarships have been created for the Southern California University of Health Sciences' acupuncture and Oriental medicine program. The scholarships add to the university's growing support of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and will be used to further the education of current and incoming students.

The KPC Herb Scholarship is funded by KPC Products, an herbal supply company based in Irvine, Calif. The scholarship is for full-time students enrolled in the university's acupuncture and Oriental medicine program, and will provide $1,000 a year for up to three years.

The Tsai Family Scholarship was presented to SCUHS by Dr. Ken Tsai, a member of the university's board of regents and a local licensed acupuncturist. The scholarship will provide up to $2,000 a year for selected students, for a period of five years.

"A scholarship can be created with a limited initial investment, but its impact on students and the future success of alternative health care can be immeasurable," said SCHUS Director of Alumni and Development Dr. Sheila Hanes.

For more information on the scholarships, contact the school's office of admissions at (877) 434-7757, or send an e-mail to .

Malaria Drug Based on Herbal Remedy

A synthetic drug based on a chemical found in traditional Chinese medicine, may provide new hope in the global fight against malaria.

Artemisinin, a fever remedy that comes from the bark of the sweet wormwood tree, has been shown to help kill malaria parasites. Research published in the Aug. 19 th issue of the British science journal, Nature, claimed that scientists had developed a new drug, OZ277, that offers the benefits of artemisinin, but is cheaper to produce and more potent.

Artemisinin contains a peroxide chemical group that, once activated inside a parasite, turns into a free radical, killing the bug. Scientists used this knowledge to create the new drug, which has already undergone tests for safety in animals and humans.

According to an article from ABC Science Online, the new drug was developed with funds from Medicines for Malaria, an international nonprofit public-private partnership that develops affordable antimalarial drugs.

Male Hot Flashes Treated With Acupuncture

Scientists at Oregon Health and Science University have begun a clinical trial using acupuncture to treat hot flashes in men undergoing prostate cancer treatment. The trial is believed to be the first of its kind conducted in the United States, and follows on the heels of a pilot study for acupuncture and hot flashes conducted in Sweden.

Treatment of advanced prostate cancer typically involves hormone therapy, which can reduce testosterone levels in men, thus reducing symptoms and preventing some cancers from growing. The American Urological Association estimates that hormone therapy is effective in causing cancer tumors to shrink in 85 percent to 90 percent of advanced prostate cancer patients that receive treatment. One of the unfortunate side-effects of hormone therapy, however, is hot flashes, which is experienced by approximately 80 percent of men receiving treatment, and can lead to other adverse effects, including irritability, fatigue and insomnia.

According to an article from, the study being conducted at OHSU will enroll a total of 25 patients with prostate cancer who experience significant hot flashes. The men will receive 14 treatments of acupuncture over 10 weeks - twice weekly for four weeks, then once weekly for six additional weeks. Each treatment will last about 30 minutes. Patients are also required to keep track of the hot flashes they experience during the study in a daily diary.

According to the article, early results from the study are encouraging.

"So far, the first three out of three men had significant reductions in hot flashes after four weeks of acupuncture," remarked Dr. Tomasz Beer, a scientist at OHSU and one of the trial's investigators. He cautioned that the results are "very preliminary."


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