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Combining traditional forms of Chinese and Western medicine could offer new hope for developing new treatments for some cancers, say experts from universities in Cardiff and Peking.
Prof Wen Jiang from Cardiff University said they have discovered how a formula of traditional Chinese medicine works to stop cancer spreading.
The universities have been collaborating for two years.
Prof Jiang described the breakthrough as “ancient medicine, modern thinking”.
Experts from the Cardiff School of Medicine joined forces with Peking University in 2012 to test the health benefits of the Chinese herbal medicine called Yangzheng Xiaoji.
The formula, consisting of 14 herbs, has previously been shown to be beneficial to cancer patients but until this latest research, the way in which it works had remained unknown.
The joint research has investigated how the formula works and discovered that it blocks a pathway, stopping the spread of cancer cells in the body.
Prof Jiang, the director of the Cardiff University- Peking University Joint Cancer Institute at Cardiff, explained: “Traditional Chinese medicine where compounds are extracted from natural products or herbs have been practised for centuries in China, Korea, Japan and other countries in Asia.
“Although a few successes, most of the traditional remedies are short of scientific explanation which has inevitably led to scepticism – especially amongst traditionalists in the West.
“As a result, we set out to test the success of a Chinese medicine and then consider how combining it alongside traditional methods like chemotherapy could result in positive outcome for patients.”
The professor said the Chinese formula has been shown to be beneficial to patients with certain solid tumours, when used alone and in conventional therapies, such as chemotherapy.
He added: “It suggests that combining the formula with conventional as well as new therapies could hold the key to developing new treatments for cancer patients.
Clinical trials of the combined treatment for lung and other cancers have already begun and were providing positive results, Prof Jiang added.
A lottery-funded scheme in Wiltshire has helped more than 600 people cope with drug addiction using acupuncture, a charity has said.
The New Highway charity has used the alternative therapy, alongside coaching, to help addicts in its 10 centres over the last two years.
It said it helped prevent relapses and combat anxiety.
But the NHS said not enough evidence existed to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating drug addiction.
‘Cope with cravings’
New Highway, which was formerly known as Bath Area Drugs Advisory Service, won a £167,000 Big Lottery grant in 2010 to help people with drug and alcohol addictions through acupuncture therapy.
Kevin McAlpine, from the charity, said: “What we’ve seen is that it makes a significant difference with stress and being able to cope with cravings from withdrawal.”
Dr Max Bloomberg, a research fellow at Goldsmiths University of London, is sceptical of the benefits of the therapy.
He believes the care an addict receives when they receive acupuncture treatment is what they respond to.
“How do you tease apart other facts like care versus acupuncture?” Dr Bloomberg said.
“It often isn’t the acupuncture, it’s the lovely atmosphere, it’s the fact that someone really cares.”
A DELIGHTED couple are enjoying life with their own little miracle – and say it is all thanks to acupuncture.
Beth Lakelin, 38, from Belle Vue, Shrewbury, had been trying to conceive with partner Stephen Coales, 41, for two years.
Doctor said the couple were medically sound but Beth feared her age was curbing her attempts to conceive.
In frustration she visited Dr Daian Zou at St John’s Hill Clinic for Chinese Medicine in Shrewsbury and fell pregant after just three sessions.
Baby Olive was born in November.
Shropshire Star, Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Anita Hunter though she would never have children. And after failed fertility treatments, the 33-year-old from Shrewsbury almost gave up hope. “Then I started having acupuncture,” She says. “Six months later I was pregnant.”
Remarkably, Anita is not alone in having frustration turn to joy by the Chinese practice of having needles inserted into the skin. In the space of 18 months, a total of five women who thought they would never have kids fell pregnant after treatment from the same Chinese acupuncturist – Dr Daian Zou, based in St. John’s Hill in Shrewsbury.
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Shropshire Chronicle, November 27th, 2009
Acupuncture’s to thank for baby William, says new mum
A North Shropshire couple are celebrating the arrival of their own little miracle – and have put it down to Chinese acupuncture treatment.
Vanessa and Jack Hepplethwaite, from Whitchure, were told by doctor there was very little hope of them ever being able to have a child because of Vanessa’s age – she is 42. She claims she had been told she couldn’t have IVF treatment because she was over 35.
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Shropshire Star, Thursday, August 5, 2010
A Shropshire couple who had almost given up hope of having children have been told there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to start a family – thanks to treatment by a doctor of Chinese Medicine.
Darren, from Shrewsbury, who did not wish to give his last name, said: “My wife and I went to see a specialist at the hospital because we have been unsuccessful in trying for a baby and we found out the problem was with me.
BBC News, Tuesday, 30 March 2010
People terrified of visiting the dentist can overcome their fear with acupuncture, researchers have claimed.
The findings, in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, may offer some comfort to the one in five people thought to have dental phobia.
Five minutes of treatment with needles placed at two specific acupuncture points on the top of the head allowed all 20 patients to conquer their fear.
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BBC News, Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Acupuncture may be an effective way of easing severe period pain, a South Korean review of 27 studies suggests.
Researchers said there was “promising evidence” for acupuncture in treating cramps, but that more work was needed.
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