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Straus To Give Director's Lecture

Increasingly, the American public is looking beyond conventional Western medicine to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for treatment of a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Consumer demand has fueled an explosion of CAM articles, advertisements, products and practitioners offering remedies for virtually every medical complaint. One study found that over 42 percent of the American public uses CAM, and in 1997, an estimated $27 billion was spent on CAM products and procedures. Thus, in 1998, Congress mandated the creation of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

To help inform the NIH community about CAM, Dr. Stephen Straus, the first director of NCCAM, will deliver an NIH Director's Lecture on Monday, Mar. 11 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. His talk, "Exploring the Scientific Basis of Comple mentary and Alternative Medicine," will provide an overview of CAM — what it is, who uses it, and other aspects — as a basis for understanding the field in the United States. The lecture will be given as a special Monday event in the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.

NCCAM's mission is to identify promising CAM practices using rigorous scientific methods to evaluate their effectiveness. Straus's talk is designed not only to educate the NIH community, but also to announce the launch of a new lecture series, the "Distinguished Lectures in Complementary and Alternative Medicine." Each year, NCCAM will sponsor two lectures that feature top researchers in the field. The first lecture in the series will be given by Dr. Charles Rosenberg, professor of the history of science and Ernest E. Monrad professor in the social sciences at Harvard University, on July 25 at noon in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. The second speaker will be Dr. Arthur Kleinman, professor of social anthropology at Harvard University and Lillian Presley professor of medical anthropology and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He will speak in Lipsett on Nov. 7 at noon.

Straus is an internationally recognized expert in clinical research and clinical trials. In addition, he is chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has extensive basic and clinical research experience related to many conditions for which CAM remedies are used, including chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, chronic hepatitis B virus, and genital herpes infections and chronic post-herpetic pain. His scientific accomplishments include demonstrating that acyclovir suppresses recurrent genital and oral herpes, and characterizing a previously unrecognized, genetically determined disease, the autoimmune lympho-proliferative syndrome.

For more information on his lecture or for special accommodation, call Hilda Madine, 594-5595.

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