Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up: August 2010

Summary: The AMA’s resolution in favor of discrimination against other providers as amended … Licensed midwives take one from OB-GYNs in New York … Legislation introduced to get DCs into US Public Health Service … Samueli Institute links with Joint Chiefs of Staff for magazine supplement on “Total Force Fitness” … True North shares paradigm with MGMA group … Cavallo Point hotel-spa and integrative center opens with Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH in key role … Massage therapists beat back nasty allegations from local police to protect new law in California … New integrative dietetics practice group in the American Dietetics Association … Author-clinician Ilene Serlin, PhD makes headway in introducing whole health practices at APA … University of Chicago becomes 45th member of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine … Bastyr now home to a leading midwifery school and Simkin Center doula training … Mail order Clayton College shuts doors, to delight of naturopathic doctors … 6th IN-CAM Research Symposium in November 2010 … Group Health Institute team identifies diverse positive outcomes from CAM-IM not typically captured in studies … Research finds health in “forest bathing” … PMG Data Services purchases Innovision … Holistic Primary Care marks 10th year of publication … Consumer Reports blasts “dirty dozen” of dietary supplements; Blumenthal responds … Natural Foods Merchandiser reports modest growth in industry in 2009 … Briggs and NCCAM in media whipsaw … Comments on Krakow’s “alternative medicine as a free market approach” … Lewis Bazakos, DC given another significant award, this from New York Chiropractic College …

Policy

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The AMA SOPP approach to inter-disciplinary relations

AMA’s resolution in favor of discrimination against other professions as passed in June

The Integrator posted Battle Engaged: MD Specialists Promote Repeal of Non-Discrimination Vs Integrative Practitioners, Others on May 28, 2010. The article regarded a resolution that the AMA House of Delegates was to consider in their June meetings. A link to the pro-discrimination resolution as amended was provided to the Integrator by John
Faladareau, vice president for government relations for the American
Chiropractic Association. Language was made slightly more diplomatic,
toward Congress if not toward non-MD practitioners. The House removed a
requirement that the AMA “condemn” the non-discrimination Section 2706 of the reform bill. In addition, in the amended version, meetings of the  AMA’s
multi-year Scope of Practice Partnership

campaign are not required to have updates on this anti-2706 campaign on
each agenda. Instead, SOPP leaders get to choose whether or not to
bring it up. The remainder of the proposed resolution was passed as
originally presented. Faladareau also shared a statement from the National Association of Chiropractic Attorneys in favor of 2706.

Comment: Pleasing to see that, through the amendments, the AMA House showed great sensitivity to the freedom of choice of SOPP
activists. They get to decide whether or not to put 2706 on their
agendas. Perhaps this concern for member freedom of choice will mature
one day into appreciation of freedoms for patients.

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Victory over OB-GYN’s in legislative effort

Licensed midwives in victory over the OB-Gyns in New York State

On July 30, 2010 New York Governor David Paterson signed bill A8117b-S5007a which, according to the New York Association of Licensed Midwives (NYALM) “amends
the education law to remove the requirement for midwives to have
a written practice agreement as a pre-requisite for practice in
NY.”  After “breezing” through both chambers, the bill “hit heavy opposition from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,” according to an account in the New York Times. The
state has 800-900 practicing midwives, more than any other state.
Roughly 10% have reportedly had problems getting written practice
agreements from OB-GYNs. NYALM declared the signing of the Midwifery Modernization Act a “victory for New York women, families, and midwives.”

Comment: The OB-GYNs are one group that is sometimes party to the AMA’s Scope of Practice Partnership
(see AMA SOPP-related article above) that seeks to keep more of
medicine under control of medical doctors. This issue in New York,
however, did not make the most recent list of areas of AMA SOPP concern.
Perhaps they weren’t aware until the last moment and so were stuck
trying to bully in late. (Thanks to Lou Sportelli, DC for bringing the
issue to my attention.)

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Green: Powerful sponsor for ACA bill

Chiros have legislation introduced for inclusion in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps 

In an August 5, 2010 release, the American Chiropractic Association
and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) commended US Congressmen Gene Green
(D-Texas) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) for introducing legislation that calls for the appointment of doctors of
chiropractic as officers in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned
Corps. HR 6032, according to the release, would include DCs in the Regular Corps and the Ready
Reserve Corps, and would also require the appointment of
“no fewer than six DCs” to the Commissioned Corps. The release notes that “although the Commissioned
Corps includes representatives from many diverse health care professions, no
doctors of chiropractic have ever been appointed to serve.” 
HR 6032 has been
referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on which both Green and Terry serve as senior members.



Military Medicine

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Cover of Samueli-Joint Chiefs supllement

Samueli Institute, Office of the Joint Chief of Staff collaborate on special issue of Military Medicine

Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the
U.S. Military
has called for “a 21st century definition of fitness that
balances performance and readiness with health and well-being.”
Materials supplied to the Integrator by the Samueli Institute describe how the Institute has collaborated with the Consortium
for Human and Military Performance
(CHAMP), the Institute for Alternative
Futures and the office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to
respond. The new paradigm is called “Total Force Fitness.”
The model envisions “an integrated approach to performance,
readiness, health and well-being across the domains of military life:
spiritual, psychological, behavioral, social, physical, nutritional,
medical, and environmental.” To highlight the work, Samueli Institute co-sponsored a
special Supplement to the August 2010 issue of Military Medicine

entitled “Total Force Fitness for the 21st Century: A New Paradigm.”
The supplement describes “the characteristics of the eight fitness
domains” and discusses the challenges presented in implementing a new, multi-dimensional fitness program in the military.
Samueli shares that:

” … The goal of this issue is not to describe
the many existing programs or those in development to enhance fitness
in the force, as that would be beyond the scope of this effort. It does
attempt to provide the foundation for how any fitness program can be
evaluated and compared, along with a summary of metrics that can be used
for monitoring program effectiveness, and for improving and comparing
those programs already in existence.”

Comment: It is one of the high ironies of
the integrative medicine movement that a tree with roots in the
counter-culture and its anti-war beliefs is branching vigorously into
service to not only injured and returning Vets but also to the business
of making soldiers. This supplement, which requires a subscription to
access, will be must reading for the many integrative interests that
are working in and around the armed forces.





Integrative Practice

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Model enlightens MGMA group

MGMA hears from integrative center True North on a new paradigm

Attendees of the New England Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) meeting in July 2010 heard an unusual presentation.
The executive director of Maine’s True North integrative health center, Tom
Dahlborg, spoke about the not-for-profit’s model in a
conference somewhat ominously dubbed “Surviving the Changes in Health Care.” Dahborg’s offered his center’s approach as an antidote: True North: Stepping Outside of the Powerful Healthcare
Paradigm.
Dahborg presented the center as “a model that

brings about
positive change by placing time, relationship and collaboration at the center
of the therapeutic encounter and the organization’s mission.”

Dahlborg explained to the MGMA crowd that True Health’s goal “is to
create an adaptive culture – a new paradigm – that identifies the
root cause of a problem in order to find creative, comprehensive
solutions to
both individual and global health concerns.” The center’s model rests on 4 pillars: collaborative leadership, an integrated approach, innovative access programs,
and outcomes scrutiny. Access programs include a needs-based payment plan with a sliding scale and a collaboration with “Hour Exchange Portland” to
allow users to barter for treatment. Another payment option is a fund
that supports patient who, for their part, agree to engage in an outcomes survey (Dyna-36) and engage in a follow-up interview.

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Lobby of Cavallo Point

High-end Cavallo Point rolls out integrative center led by Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH

Homeopath and author Dana Ullman, MPH recently visited Cavallo Point as
part of the spa-hotel-integrative center’s roll out to the public. In
an email message, Ullman spoke of “the absolutely gorgeous integrative
medicine
clinic and spa” run by long-time integrative medicine clinician and
entrepreneur Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH. Added Ullman: “It’s a totally high class operation.”
  The fee schedule shows an initial 90 minute consultation at a reasonable $225 with a relaxation session set at the same rate. The site’s listed rates

for a 90 minute massage are similar, at $210. Integrative services include
acupuncture, herbal medicine, relaxation and spa services. The site
does not list an array of providers, except an intuitive healer,
but promises that “services are provided by professionals in their
respective fields.” Jacobs is past clinical director for the UCSF-Osher Center and integrative medicine leader with Revolution Health. The list of the 5 types of services Jacobs offers is worth visiting.

The investor behind Cavallo Point is Michael Freed. Freed is also the owner of Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur which was acknowledged in 2003 as one of the finest lodgings in
the USA. 

Comment: The question on service rates
is this: Do spa-based integrative medical doctors get tipped as well as
purveyors of hot stone massages? If not, the gross cost, including tip,
for 90 minutes with either a massage therapist or the integrative medical doctor runs about
the same. Apparently Resource Based Relative Value Units (RBRVU) have
different meaning in a spa environment. Perhaps it’s Client Based
Relative Value Units, a measure that catapults hot stones into a high end service.

 

Professions

Massage therapists, prostitution and a weird battle with cops over the California law massage statute

An article in the August 2010 issue of Massage Today, The Fight for California,
includes an interesting de-brief on the legislative situation in
California. The fight included the female head of the California Police
Chiefs Association citing a
“random/regional sample of applicants for licensing … conducted by the
chief’s association (that) found
that 89 percent of these applicants were prostitutes or had questionable
backgrounds.” At stake was not only the image of the massage field but also the new
state-wide regulation of massage therapists that replaced county-by-county
registration under the previous system. The article details how a
combination of some gutsy volunteer work by Ahmos Netanel
, savvy political work by Mike Schroeder and a grassroots letter-writing campaign led by the state chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association
showed the error of the “sample” and of the legislative direction. The
attack on the law was effectively gutted. One assessment was that the chiefs simply didn’t like giving up the power they held under the
previous system. The American Civil Liberties Union also weighed in on behalf of the massage therapists.

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Ford: Chairing integrative dietetics section

Dieticians in Integrative and Functional Medicine is a new ADA practice group

Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine
(DIFM) is a “dietetic practice association” of the American Dietetic
Association. The group was formerly Nutrition in Complementary Care
(NCC).The group’s operating vision is to
“optimize health and healing through integrative medical
nutrition practices.” The mission:

“Empower members to be leaders in evidence-based practice including
personalized genomics, holistic healthcare, and functional nutrition therapies.”

Deborah Ford, MS, RD, CCN, is the current chair. Among
recent actions was the creation of an official alliance with the American
Botanical
Society.  The new website is integrativerd.org. Among the organization’s
sponsors: Lipton Institute of Tea, Pharmavite, NatureMade and Nutrilite
Health Institute. The organization’s next conference, a one-day event on November 6, in Boston.

Comment: Good for Ford and her
colleagues for stimulating this integrative interest in their profession. The ADA
has some bad karma to work off, relative to some of its recommendations
to the public through the years. This practice association looks like a step in
the right direction.


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Organization seeks new CEO

AAAOM seeks new chief executive officer

The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
sent its members a notice in early July that the organization has begun
a search for a new chief executive officer. Former staff member Doug
Newton was tapped to fill an interim role. The organization’s past
executive director, Rebekah Christiansen, held
the post since the AAAOM was created when a 10-year rift in the
profession, expressed through two national organizations, was
significantly mended via a merger. No mention was made as to reasons for
the transition. 

Comment: I am among those who hoped
that the creation of the AAAOM would begin to draw the nation’s 26,000
licensed acupuncturists into joining their one, united national
association. The potency is significant. If 40% joined (a slightly higher
percentage of members than the AMA attracts) and dues were a friendly
$250/year, the organization could be thriving on a $2.5-million annual
operating budget. For some reasons, the attraction has not happened and
membership remains somewhere in the 500-1500 range. Pretty hard to make
much difference for a profession with that level of membership. Are AOM
practitioners simply not joiners?

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Serlin: Urging integrative psychology

Integrative Psychology: Top APA leaders in session on Whole Person Healthcare led by Ilene Serlin

The session at the August 2010 conference of the American Psychological Association
is “Whole Person Healthcare: Tool Kits.” The session was
arranged by Ilene Serlin, PhD and James Bray, a past president of APA. The association’s president-elect will be on hand as a discussant. Toolkit
subjects included guided imagery, biofeedback and the use of creativity
in clinical practice.
The description developed by Serlin includes the following:

“Integrative therapies
have become increasingly popular in clinical and psychotherapeutic settings, complementing traditional
medical and psychotherapeutic practices.
A whole person approach brings psychologists into a
collaborative relationship with other health professionals, and can introduce
integrative methods from a
uniquely psychological perspective. While integrative psychology is a field
that is ripe for clinicians, most
clinicians are not trained in how to integrate these techniques into their
ongoing therapeutic practices.

Serlin is a San Francisco-based therapist who is author of the 3-volume Whole Person Healthcare. Dean Ornish, MD and David Spiegel, MD introduce Serlin’s books.

Academics

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Temple: Heads up U Chicago IM program

University of Chicago joins Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine

The University
of Chicago has become the 45th academic health center to join the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for
Integrative Medicine
. The director of the program is Leslie
Mendoza-Temple, MD
. Temple took her medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in the Philippines, and subsequently completed the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine from the University of Arizona.
Mina Lee Ryu, MD, FACP, currently in the fellowship program, is another
attending physican for integrative consultations at the university.
The program is located at the Northshore University Health System

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Myers: Founding mother of midwifery school chairs Bastyr department

Leading Midwifery School and Doula Training Merge with Bastyr University

The Seattle Midwifery School
(SMS), a long-time anchor of the direct-entry midwifery field, has been
approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities as
part of Bastyr University. In a release on the merger, Bastyr notes that Bastyr will also be home to the
The Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations. The Simkin Center, named after famed childbirth educator and author Penny Simkin, offers
certificate training courses for birth and postpartum doulas, lactation
educators and consultants, and childbirth educators, as well as
continuing education in maternity care topics.”
The midwifery program prepares graduates to become Certified Professional Midwives. An SMS co-founder,  Suzy Myers, LM, CPM, MPH, directs the new department. Bastyr was founded in
1978 as John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine and has added
numerous other health sciences degree programs and certifications since 1985.



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Clayton: Offered low, low price for doctor wall diploma

Mail-order Clayton College and the Coalition
for Natural Health shut their doors

On July 10, 2010,
a flurry of emails arrived from colleagues in the naturopathic medical community:
the Clayton College of Natural Health had shut its doors. The reason cited
was economic hard times. Separate but linked news was that Clayton’s lobbying partner, the
Coalition for Natural Health, had moved to “inactive status.” The former offered
a mail-order route to becoming a “doctor of naturopathy.” Clayton also provided other diplomas at various prices. The business had 3,000
students at the time of its demise.
According to a staff person for Clayton at a 2008 trade show, some 25,000-35,000
individuals had become “NDs” via the program.
This
compares to 4,000-5,000
naturopathic physicians in all of North America who are graduates of
residential,
naturopathic medical programs accredited by the US Department of
Education-recognized accrediting agency for the field, the Council on Naturopathic
Medical
Education
. As graduates of the 4-year programs created legitimacy for
naturopathic medicine, the cost of Clayton’s diploma went up. Andrew Lange, ND, a Bastyr-educated
naturopathic doctor, captured his profession’s view in a Huffington Post article: The Biggest Quack School in Natural Medicine Closes.

Meantime, the Coalition for
Natural Health served as a political arm for these Clayton’s graduates. The
Coalition fought ardently and with some savvy to defeat efforts to expand
licensing by the graduates of the 4-year ND programs. The reason for opposing
licensing was simple. Any state in which a standard for practice was
established, those choosing the mail-order route would no longer be able to hang
up their shingles and their “Doctor of Naturopathy” wall certificates. Realizing
that potential students would be interested in accreditation, Clayton
advertised that the business was accredited. According to QuackWatch, such accreditation was through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and
the American Naturopathic Medical Accreditation Board. The QuackWatch brief
adds that “these are not recognized by the US Secretary of Education, which
means that ‘accreditation’ by them is meaningless.”

Comment: It is somehow appropriate that
the only time I have ever cited QuackWatch as a source is this article on
Clayton.
As I read about the demise of these symbiotic businesses, I kept thinking about a scorpion I
purposefully squashed in a motel room one evening on the Nicaraguan coast. Like
some sci-fi invention, when I turned my back, the creature somehow reassembled
itself and moved off under the wall. It’s hard to believe these blights on natural health care may be gone. As a political colleague once stated regarding
an incumbent with a health condition who we were seeking to unseat:

Some guys are better off dead. Such a
sentiment may disturb one, relative to a fellow human being. It shouldn’t
relative to these entities.


Research

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Verhoef and Boon head up organization

Canadian researchers host 6th IN-CAM Symposium, November 19-21, 2010 in Vancouver, BC

The 6th IN-CAM Research Symposium, in collaboration with two of IN-CAM’s partners, HomeoNet and PedCAM,
will take place at The Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver, BC, Canada on
November 19-21, 2010. IN-CAM is one of the key research meetings in
Canada on CAM and integrative health care. The theme for 2010 is Complementary and Integrative Health Care: Methodological, Theoretical and Practical Issues.
Well-known Canadian integrative health researchers Heather Boon, PhD and Marja Verhoef, PhD serve IN-CAM as co-directors.

Comment: I have had an opportunity to be
involved with Canadian integrative health initiatives twice. Both
times have like home. The elevated focus of the Canadians on practical
outcomes I attribute to the socialized healthcare mission that is deep in
the Canadian system. This I take to be part of the reason that it was the Canadians not their
neighbors south of the border who developed the exceptionally useful Outcomes Database.
Researchers in the US would be served to be importers of this prioritization and social
mission. Upping US attendance at this 6th IN-CAM conference would be a good start.

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Cherkin: Part of Group Health team

Outcomes: “Unanticipated benefits of CAM therapies for back pain …”

The research team involves the sterling Dan Cherkin and Karen Sherman dyad of back researchers from the Group Health Research Institute. The goal of the research: ” …
to provide insight into the full range of
meaningful outcomes experienced by patients who participate in clinical
trials of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies.” The results of the study, published as
“Unanticipated benefits of CAM therapies for back pain: an exploration of patient experiences” are illuminating:

“Our analysis identified a
range of positive outcomes that participants in CAM trials considered
important but were not captured by standard quantitative outcome
measures. Positive outcome themes included increased options and hope,
increased ability to relax, positive changes in emotional states,
increased body awareness, changes in thinking that increased the ability
to cope with back pain, increased sense of well-being, improvement in
physical conditions unrelated to back pain, increased energy, increased
patient activation, and dramatic improvements in health or well-being.
The first five of these themes were mentioned for all of the CAM
treatments, while others tended to be more treatment specific. A small
fraction of these effects were considered life transforming.”

The conclusion: “Our findings suggest that standard measures used to assess
the outcomes of CAM treatments fail to capture the full range of
outcomes that are important to patients. In order to capture the full
impact of CAM therapies, future trials should include a broader range of
outcomes measures.”

Comment: The supposition of positive
side-effects has long been part of CAM/IM thinking since many of the
whole person approaches impact the person in a systemic way. Yet
researchers have rarely stepped up and identified these potential benefits. Congratulations
to this group, led by C Hsu. Hopefully researchers will begin to ask these questions. While their fellow researchers might diminish the import of these endpoints, employers will not. The question now: To what punishment should any CAM outcomes
researcher be subjected if he/she fails to capture these benefits? Not asking is a sort of reverse negative of garbage in, garbage out.

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Japanese forest: Good for your health

“Forest bathing” and the potential benefits of walking barefoot in the dewy grass …

Author and clinician Mitch Stargrove, ND, LAc sent a fascinating link to a study in Japan.
In the research, subjects walked in forested or urban environments,
then received the cross-over treatment of the walk in the opposite
zone. Salivary cortisol, blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate
variability were used as indices in examining the influence of the
walks. The findings: “The results show
that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower
pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve
activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city
environments.” The authors comment: “These results will contribute to
the development of a research field dedicated to forest medicine, which
may be used as a strategy for preventive medicine.”
The therapy is called Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.

Comment: I don’t typically cover
straight research outcomes, but this one merited a mention.
I recall learning 30 years ago that Father Sebastian Kneipp,
viewed as a founder of naturopathic medicine, recommended a therapy in
which patients walked barefoot in the dewy grass. As a sometimes PR
person back then, I typically refrained from leading with discussion of this therapeutic approach when trying
to awaken in wary parties the potential value of natural health care. This
study, had I had it then, might have swayed me to stand up for the
German healer’s approach. If the subjects in the Japanese
study had not only been walking in forests but also been barefoot on dewy grass in those forests, I’m betting that the
positive outcomes would have jacked even higher. Side-note: The study underscores again the additional challenge to health for the urban poor. Forest
bathing will be a greater challenge in the concrete jungle. Meantime,
this study would seem to have a supportive link with the “nature deficit disorder”
about which Richard Louv writes in The Last Child in the Woods.

Publications

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Lampe: Long time leader a casualty of the purchase

PMG Data Services purchases Innovision, publisher of ATHM, Advances, IMCJ

Minnesota-based PMG Data Services has purchased one of the most significant publishing entities in integrative health care, Innovision Health Media. Innovision publishes Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, Advances, and Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal (for which I write a column). The firm’s website describes PMG as “a service bureau organization dedicated to helping
specialty and trade publications cost-effectively manage their ongoing
audience development activities.” They add: “Today’s successful publisher must rely
on ancillary revenue from trades shows, web, list rental and product
sales to supplement traditional revenue from advertising and
subscriptions.” One change: Frank Lampe,
the former Innovision vice president and a highly-regarded and
well-known presence in the integrative health space is no longer with
the firm. Lampe was a co-founder and conceiver of the LOHAS concept.

Comment: It will be interesting to see
if the firm moves Innovision toward development of conferences or
tradeshows, a business direction Innovision has considered but not
directly entered. 



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Goldman and Sinclair publication celebrates 10th year

Holistic Primary Care marks 10th year of publication

Holistic Primary Care,
a national, ad-based publication that is mailed to over 100,000
physicians nationwide, is celebrating its 10th year anniversary. According to Erik Goldman,
editor, the publication will mark the accomplishment with a look back
over the past 10 years. In recent years, the firm has added a
conference service to its portfolio. Goldman and his partner, publisher Meg Sinclair, choose to focus their growing conference on strategies for business success. The well-received June 2010 meeting was entitled Heal Thy Practice: Transforming Primary Care



Comment: To my understanding, this
long-time labor of love for Goldman and Sinclair, supplemented in its
early years by Goldman’s skills and reputation as a medical reporter for
mainstream publications, has only recently stabilized as a going
operation. That many thousands of the recipients of the publication were
not self-described “holistic doctors” suggests that, over time, Goldman
and Sinclair have probably quietly educated scores of medical doctors
to the potential for more satisfaction in their practice, and success for
their patients, from opening up their clinical visions. Congratulation
on 10 years!  

Natural Products

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Beating up on supplements, again

Consumer Reports features “Dangerous Supplements;” ABC’s Blumenthal responds

Consumer Reports has published a special feature entitled Dangerous Supplements: What you don’t know about these 12 ingredients could hurt you. The report included a list of what they called “The Dirty Dozen” (aconite, bitter orange, chaparral, coltsfoot, comfrey, country mallow
(sida), greater celandine, kava, lobelia, yohimbe, colloidal silver and germanium). The article has
another  list with 11 agents “to consider” (cranberry, psyllium, pygeum, St. John’s wort, calcium, fish oil, glucosamine sulfate, lactase,
lactobacillus, SAM-e, and vitamin D)
. Mark Blumenthal with the American Botanical Council (ABC) responded with a Member Advisory on August 3, 2010 that stated, in part:

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Blumenthal: Balanced assessment of the report

“Though this article is flawed and incorporates inadequate information on
the safety of many of the herbs, it is in numerous ways an improvement over the
cover story Consumer Reports
ran in May 2004. The previous cover story contained so much erroneous
information on herbs that it was readily apparent that the editors had not run
the article by anyone with any real experience or expertise in herbal or
dietary supplement research. This time, Consumer Reports relied heavily on the Natural
Medicines Comprehensive Database
as a primary source for much of its
information on the safety, and to some extent, some of the potential benefits
of some herbs and other dietary supplements.”


In an interview with Natural Foods Merchandiser, Blumenthal commented: “There’s no nuance, detail or context. They’ve just put everything in a list.”


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Growth not bad for a hurting economy

Upbeat release from the 2010 Market Overview from the Natural Foods Merchandiser

“Despite the doom and gloom, naturals retailers are profitable.” So reads the subhead on the June 2010 Market Overview on 2009 business from the natural products industry publication Natural Foods Merchandiser. Surveyed independent products retailers reported that, on average:

  • Net profit margins fell to 5 percent in 2009, from 8 percent in 2008.
  • Net sales grew 8.9 percent in 2009, but when
    corrected for store closings and weighted based on the number of stores
    per category, sales grew only 3.4 percent.
  • Total natural products store sales were $33.9 billion in 2009, compared to $32.7 billion in 2008.


Food sales were up 3.9% over 2008 and supplements up 4%. The report is an interesting scan. One must sign up prior to access.

Media

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Briggs: Whipsawed from all directions

The media whip-sawing of Briggs and NCCAM: Bloggers, Prevention, MSNBC and a response

Comment: Colleagues sometimes urge restraint in my critical perspectives on the direction and priorities of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
and NCCAM’s director, Josephine Briggs, MD. Such urging is usually
accompanied by noting how NCCAM is under attack from others. Two
items this past month underscore just what a hot-seat Briggs inhabits.
First, a polarizing medical doctor blogger who loves to hate everything “CAM” and who
has a particular antagonism toward naturopathic medicine took the NCCAM on
with an Open Letter to Dr. Briggs. The reason: Briggs planned to attend the 25th annual conference of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Never mind that the NDs are one of the licensed disciplines that NCCAM is charged by Congress to explore.

Next, Prevention magazine included comments from Briggs in an
article in which Briggs appeared to be endorsing certain CAM approaches. Given the scrutiny under which she operates, the presentation of her views must have
felt particularly damaging. A shovel full of salt hit the wound when the Prevention
piece was picked up and broadcast by MSNBC. The title: 9 cures you can trust. Briggs chose to use her NCCAM mailing list to counter with an August 4, 2010 Director’s Message. She noted her disappointment with Prevention and MSNBC: “Simply put, the article does not accurately portray the state of the science nor the perspective of NIH.” I am pleased that this is not a month in which I have expressed what might be considered an unkind word.

Addendum: I can’t resist a comment on the anti-NCCAM blogger’s
perspective on limiting the stakeholders with whom Briggs should be meeting. How threatening the
NDs must feel to them to put Briggs’ decision in the same grave category of action as if Obama were to sit down with leaders of the Al-Qaeda.  




Cohn recommends Krakow’s “Alternative Medicine: A Free Market Approach to Health Care

Georgetown University professor of law Sherman Cohn, JD, a long-time
leader in the maturation of the AOM field, recommends a guest editorial
from the June-July 2010 issue of Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s
Journal
. The perspective is from integrative practitioner Barry Krakow, MD and is entitled Alternative Medicine: A Free Market Example of Health Care. Cohn, a sometimes Integrator contributor, shared this view of Krakow’s piece: “The article is quite provocative — it raises
the question of whether those of us who believe in the efficacy of what is often
termed CAM really want to join the established medical system with all of its problems.”

Comment: While Cohn’s question is an interesting one, the choices being made are clear. First, very few integrative
organizations and doctors who can have coverage are choosing to forgo participation in
insurance coverage. Second, virtually all licensed CAM fields want the
option to be bought in, not only to insurance but also federal programs
such as loan-repayment that are linked to insurance.
Finally,
while one hears talk of how the IM/CAM fields should be
defining and shaping new relationships, little of this is actually done. So the
question, while interesting, rarely gains much traction.


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Bazakos: Honored by New York Chiropractic College

Lewis Bazakos, DC adds NYCC award to long list of distinguished honors

Lewis J. Bazakos, DC, a 1978 graduate of New York Chiropractic College
(NYCC) was chosen as the multidisciplinary college’s 2010 Distinguished
Alumnus.  NYCC president Frank J. Nicchi, MS, DC
acknowledged Bazakos for his work in developing and chairing of the
Chiropractic Summit, a “think-tank” made
up of leadership from some 40 chiropractic organizations.
Bazakos was NYCC board chair from 2004-2007 when the school inaugurated the NYCC’s Finger Lakes
School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
and School
of Applied Clinical Nutrition. 
He has
been a member of the board of the American Chiropractic
Association (ACA), past president
of the New York State Chiropractic Association (NYSCA) and has been
named chiropractor of the year by both his state and his national professional associations.

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