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Pitt Nursing School to Study Acupuncture
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing are investigating acupuncture for reducing menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer.
In the current study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, participants will be divided into three groups. One group will receive menopause specific acupuncture, one will receive non-menopause specific acupuncture, and one will receive usual care. Participants receiving acupuncture will have 12 acupuncture treatments, and participants in the usual care group will attend educational sessions where they will learn about non-hormonal menopausal symptom management strategies.
Before and after each session, saliva samples will be collected from each participant. The samples will be tested to measure cortisol levels. Decreases in cortisol levels indicate that acupuncture produced a relaxation effect.
The study will continue through 2004. Potential study participants can call (412) 624-4597 for information.
Trial Will Study St. John’s Wort for Depression
The National Institutes of Health has launched a four-year study to determine the safety and effectiveness of the herbal supplement St. John’s wort and citalopram, a standard antidepressant, compared to placebo.The trial is being conducted at three sites. A total of 300 participants with minor depression will be randomly assigned a standardized extract of St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), citalopram, or placebo in a 12-week double-blind trial. Researchers will assess changes in patients’ symptoms, functioning, and quality of life. Those who show no improvement will receive the active treatment they hadn’t been assigned before, while patients with improved symptoms will take their assigned treatment for another 14 weeks for a total of 26 weeks.
The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Office of Dietary Supplements are funding the more than $4 million collaborative study.
Men and women ages 18-85 who meet diagnostic criteria for minor depression are eligible to participate. They must have experienced depressive symptoms for at least six months but less than two years continuously without meeting criteria for a major depressive episode or dysthymia within the past year. Additional exclusionary b m m criteria include other mental disorders and some active physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, endocrine, neurological, or blood diseases.
Participants are interviewed at an initial screening visit, during the initial two-week period when they are withdrawn from all psychotropic medications, at baseline, and every two weeks thereafter during the study. At the screening visit, week 12 and week 20, patients will undergo a complete blood count with laboratory tests. Well-validated scales will be used to assess symptoms, dysfunction, and well-being.
For information, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
Physician’s License Revoked for Practicing CAM
The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently upheld a ruling of the Tennessee Board of Medicine to revoke the license of James E. Johnson, MD, who practiced "alternative medicine" in Nashville, TN.
A patient had seen Johnson regarding a chronic skin condition. The board says Johnson incorrectly diagnosed the patient as having a widespread yeast infection. He treated the patient with garlic, intravenous hydrogen peroxide infusions, and high-dose vitamin C injections. The treatment resulted in the patient having upper respiratory problems, pain, dizziness, blurred vision, a small stroke, infection, and an abscess that had to be surgically drained and removed.
The Tennessee Department of Health then filed charges against Johnson. After an administrative hearing, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found that he had engaged in unprofessional and unethical conduct, committed acts of gross malpractice, and demonstrated a pattern of incompetence and ignorance in the course of medical practice. The board revoked Johnson’s medical license and assessed civil penalties. Johnson sought judicial review of the decision in the chancery court. The chancellor affirmed the civil penalties but reversed the board’s revocation of his medical license. The Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners then appealed, and the Court of Appeals supported the board’s original decision, saying that the board did not act arbitrarily or capriciously, and that its revocation of the physician’s medical license was supported by substantial and material evidence.