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Government Sponsorship of Alternative Medicine Research

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 by: Dr Emily A Kane
Tags: alternative medicine, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has added three new Centers of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to its centers program. These centers will explore the biological effects of a number of plant-derived compounds and preparations found in CAM products, such as dietary supplements, on pancreatic diseases, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and Alzheimer's disease. NCCAM, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the lead Federal agency for research on complementary and alternative medicine.

It is encouraging that some of our public servants are interested in CAM research because that implies that safer, not necessarily patentable, more natural solutions to achieving optimal health for individuals is a priority in some sectors of the US government.

However, the powers that be still don’t seem to “get” that whole, unadulterated, organic foods form the basis of health. They’re still after the magic bullet, whether it comes from grape skins or from a test tube. Change happens slowly though, and this is a good start.

Specifically, funded CAM research for this year includes:

1) UCLA Center of Excellence in Pancreatic Diseases
Principal Investigator: Vay Liang Go, M.D.
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles, CA

This center will evaluate whether or not plant pigments (curcumin, from the spice Turmeric, lycopene, from tomatoes, and epicatechins from green tea) can prevent or treat pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is an especially nasty, painful, usually lethal cancer for which modern medicine still has little recourse.

2) Center for CAM Research on Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases
Principal Investigator: Prakash Nagarkatti, Ph.D.
Institution: University of South Carolina Research Foundation, Columbia, SC

This center will focus on the effects of plant and herbal products on preventing or arresting inflammation in diseases caused by immune system breakdown. Using an animal model, researchers will investigate the mechanisms by which resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of red grapes, might aid in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The center will also examine anti-inflammatory mechanisms of the herb American ginseng in colitis and the actions of a compound from hemp in treating autoimmune hepatitis.

3) Protective Roles of Grape-Derived Polyphenols in Alzheimer's Disease
Principal Investigator: Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D.
Institution: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY

This center will conduct preclinical studies to identify natural compounds extracted from grapes, known as polyphenols that might have a protective role in Alzheimer's disease. Using an animal model, the research team will then investigate the biological mechanisms by which these grape-derived compounds may affect changes in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and associated with cognitive decline.

To learn more about NCCAM's Research Centers program, visit: http://nccam.nih.gov/training/centers/.

Dr. Emily A. Kane at www.DrEmilyKane.com

About the author

Dr Emily Kane is a practising naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist. For more info see www.DrEmilyKane.com

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