TCM ex­plored to fight chronic dis­ease glob­ally

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chinadailyusa.com

US and Chi­nese health ex­perts have joined hands to ex­plore tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine (TCM) as a health pro­mot­ing ap­proach to re­duce the world­wide bur­den of chronic dis­ease and add to new knowl­edge about well­be­ing at the com­mu­nity level.

In a long-term project launched by the Stan­ford Preven­tion Re­search Cen­ter and the Chronic Dis­ease Re­search In­sti­tute at Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity, the re­searchers are com­bin­ing TCM as­sess­ments with data col­lec­tion from 10,000 par­tic­i­pants in Hangzhou to test strate­gies to im­prove and main­tain well-be­ing.

The rea­son to pro­mote well­be­ing is be­cause the health care sys­tem fo­cuses on neg­a­tive events rather than pro­mot­ing pos­i­tive at­tributes, said Ma Xiaoguang, as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of the Chronic Dis­ease Re­search In­sti­tute at Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity.

“A fo­cus on the well-be­ing of the whole per­son is cen­tral to Chi­nese cul­ture and TCM,” Ma, a key re­searcher of the project, told China Daily at a sum­mit held by SPRC’s Well­ness Liv­ing Lab­o­ra­tory (WELL) on Thurs­day. “Quite a num­ber of Stan­ford re­searchers are study­ing TCM now.”

“Com­pared to Western medicine, which em­pha­sizes dis­ease di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment, TCM stresses prob­lems that may oc­cur be­fore the symp­toms and signs of dis­ease,” said Ran­dall Stafford, a pro­fes­sor of medicine at Stan­ford and di­rec­tor of its pro­gram on preven­tion out­comes and prac­tices.

“This em­pha­sis on what peo­ple can do to keep them­selves healthy fits very well with a preven­tion mind­set and stresses the im­por­tance of in­di­vid­ual ac­tion to pro­mote and main­tain well­ness,” said Stafford, who co-leads a project called “WELL-China”.

TCM can be used to high­light the im­por­tance of chronic dis­ease preven­tion and can be com­bined with more tra­di­tional pub­lic health ap­proaches, he said.

“For ex­am­ple, we tell peo­ple to re­duce their blood pres­sure to lessen the chance of hav­ing a stroke. A mod­i­fied ap­proach would em­pha­size mo­ti­vat­ing peo­ple to take ac­tion to pro­mote a sense of well­ness right now,” he ex­plained.

A fo­cus on the well-be­ing of the whole per­son is cen­tral to Chi­nese cul­ture.” Ma Xiaoguang, as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of the Chronic Dis­ease Re­search In­sti­tute at Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity

Ac­cord­ing to Ma, the co­hort of 10,000 par­tic­i­pants will be re­cruited in three strata — the first 3,000 have been re­cruited and an­other 3,000 multi-gen­er­a­tional fam­ily and friends of the first stra­tum will be en­rolled nine months later. In the third stra­tum, 4,000 on­line par­tic­i­pants will be re­cruited for on­line sur­vey mod­ules.

For the first 6,000 par­tic­i­pants, 50 of them will be in­ter­viewed on a daily ba­sis for TCM di­ag­no­sis and col­lec­tion of bio­met­rics, bioas­says, blood stor­age and other stored sam­ples.

Ma said this project fits well with China’s new health plan “Healthy China 2030”, which makes preven­tion the key to health chal­lenges caused by in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, ur­ban­iza­tion, an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion and changes in life style.

“China has about one-fifth of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and of­fers a great source of so­lu­tions to health and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues,” said Zhu Shankuan, founder and di­rec­tor of the Chronic Dis­ease Re­search In­sti­tute at Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity and co-leader of the project.

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