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Seminar Explores Alternative Medicine, Women's Health
By Abhijit Ghosh
Photos By Bill Branson
More than 200 attendees listened to a seminar detailing current research involving alternative medicine and women's health in Lipsett Amphitheater on June 3. Four speakers weighed in on the topic.
Dr. Janine Blackman, assistant professor and medical director at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, defined integrative medicine as the blending of conventional medicine with safe CAM therapies. "We have an emphasis on therapeutic relationship with a strong philosophy on self-care and self-empowerment for the patient." Teams include herbalists, acupuncturists and nutritionists to provide individualized care of patients. Blackman used fibromyalgia as an example of an integrated approach. This condition includes widespread pain lasting more than 3 months and affecting the entire body. Because the ailment affects multiple areas, the integrative medicine team has an opportunity to prescribe a holistic treatment including changes in diet, herbal therapies, comprehensive medical work-up and mind-body-spirit work. Blackman also described treatment options for osteoarthritis using such options as glucosamine (a common herbal treatment used in combination with chondroitin to help rebuild cartilage) and fish oil (which has anti-inflammatory and lubricating effects).
Dr. Norman Farnsworth, director of a program for collaborative research in the pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Pharmacy, provided a perspective on botanicals used for women's health. He noted, "80 percent of people in developing countries utilize plants to meet their health care needs." He described clinical research involving black cohosh, red clover and Prempro in an ongoing phase II study with 120 menopausal women. The measurable endpoint is a reduction of hot flashes.
Dr. Marjorie Woollacott, professor at the University of Oregon's department of human physiology and Institute of Neuroscience, discussed benefits of Tai Chi practice, which helps elderly people keep their balance. She presented evidence that 15 weeks of training resulted in a 48 percent reduction in the number of falls. Woollacott also highlighted the value of yoga and its ability to decrease stress levels. Research data shows that meditation can provide a sense of well-being and increased immune system response.
The Office of Research on Women's Health sponsored the seminar. The next talk in the Women's Health Seminar Series, "Women and Obesity," is scheduled for Nov. 4 in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10 at 1 p.m.
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