Alternative medicine research gets boost
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.