Al­ter­na­tive medicine re­search gets boost

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

In ad­di­tion, the Na­tional Health and Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil an­nounced the win­ning projects that will share in a $5.3 mil­lion re­search pool specif­i­cally for stud­ies that will look at com­ple­men­tary medicines.

The money was orig­i­nally an­nounced by the for­mer Howard Gov­ern­ment at the end of 2006.

The big­gest sin­gle grant, worth $661,024, will go to re­searchers from Monash Univer­sity to study as­pects of com­ple­men­tary medicines among peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

The sec­ond big­gest, worth $643,680, will go to ex­perts from the Univer­sity of Ade­laide to con­duct a ran­domised, placebo-con­trolled trial to in­ves­ti­gate the ef­fi­cacy of a herbal treat­ment for dys­pep­sia.

As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Luis Vitetta, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor of the Univer­sity of Queens­land in­ves­ti­gat­ing cen­tre, wel­comed the grants as a fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive’’.

The com­mu­nity has been de­mand­ing that medicine and science pro­vide ev­i­dence as to the ef­fi­cacy of cer­tain prod­ucts and prac­tices that are not part of con­ven­tional medicine — such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, psy­cho-so­cial sup­port and ex­er­cise for can­cer pa­tients, the use of nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments, and so on,’’ he said.

The ev­i­dence has al­ways been con­flict­ing. So this is a fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive that al­lows re­searchers in the field to unite with con­ven­tional sci­en­tists to build a base of ev­i­dence in this area, so we find out what works and doesn’t work. We can then trans­late this into pre­ven­tive treat­ments or ther­a­pies.’’

Among some of the lesser grants that form part of the $5.3 mil­lion, the Univer­sity of West­ern Syd­ney wins $590,200 to study the ef­fect of Chi­nese medicine on con­sti­pa­tion and ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome, while Edith Cowan Univer­sity re­ceives $484,676 to eval­u­ate nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments as treat­ments for Alzheimer’s dis­ease in mice, and Swin­burne Univer­sity wins $444,900 to study glycine ther­apy in schizophre­nia.

Re­searchers from Mac­quarie Univer­sity will re­ceive nearly $150,000 to study the po­ten­tial of medic­i­nal plants used by Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple of north­ern NSW.

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