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Known as a complete system that focuses on the patient as a whole person and the self-healing properties of the body, integrative medicine answers the call of patients who ask for a combination of complimentary and conventional medicine. In the upcoming International Congress for Integrative Health & Medicine in Stuttgart, Germany, over 70 renowned experts will present how they have put integrative medicine into practice in a variety of healthcare settings. The hope is to create a space where the brightest minds from around the world who have a deep sense of commitment to global health can come together to envision an integrative and modern medicine. The focus of the conference will be the World Health Organizations’s call to action on chronic non-communicable disease and antibiotic resistance. Integrative medicine is considered to hold answers to the critical challenge of helping patients with non-communicable disease (NCD) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health disease, which have been declared a priority in over 190 countries in the WHO’s 2013-2020 Global Action Plan.

The Congress will highlight how integrative medicine’s emphasis on prevention, high-level collaboration between professionals, and integration of complementary treatment is part of the solution to this challenge.

“...there is always some soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon...” - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons warns about “the Somatizing of America.” According to the article, the use of psychoactive medication could become the “new normal.” Pharmaceuticals have become woven into the fabric of our lives. Yes, medication saves lives and bodily pain, and psychological problems are real, but the problem is that purveyors of pharmaceuticals have convinced many basically healthy people that an unchanging affect is preferable to experiencing life’s ups and downs and everyday “bumps in the road.” Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control.

The Earth Day Network is taking action to prove that the Climate Agreement created at the Paris Climate Conference last December was not all talk by imploring President Obama to sign it on this upcoming Earth Day. All the other world leaders are also invited to sign the agreement at the UN in New York. Two of the world’s largest CO2 emitters are China and India. Their signatures would be pivotal. Also, because the United States emits more greenhouse gases than every country except China, it is important that the U.S. should lead the way.

The Climate Agreement calls for nations to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions and keep the average planetary temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point where humanity starts to suffer from the most destructive and dangerous effects of climate change.

In a new report by the World Health Organization, over 12 million people die every year from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) from exposure to unclean air, water and soil, chemical exposure, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, all environment-related deaths that the WHO believes could be prevented by means of strategic measures implemented by regional governments.

The report emphasizes cost-effective measures that countries can take to reverse the upward trend of environment-related disease and deaths. These include reducing the use of solid fuels for cooking and increasing access to low-carbon energy technologies. Using clean technologies and fuels for domestic cooking, heating and lighting would reduce acute respiratory infections, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and burns. Increasing access to safe water and adequate sanitation and promoting hand washing would further reduce diarrhoeal diseases.

Many cities around the world are already starting to implement many of the measures outlined in the report.

In a recent study, experts have identified an alteration in the composition of human gut bacteria (microbiota) that can serve as a good indicator for the early development of insulin resistance and lead to prevention of Type-2 diabetes.

Another study focused on biomarkers found in the cells of the colon that are indicators for colon cancer risk. This study used two groups, a group of African Americans who are a population with high risk for colon cancer, and another group from rural South Africa where the cancer is rarely found. The two groups swapped diets for two weeks. The Americans were given a traditional African diet and the Africans were given a western diet. Within two weeks, indicators in the Africans showed a dramatic increase in the colon cancer biomarkers. The Americans had indicators showing beneficial metabolic interactions in intestinal bacteria which reduced cancer risk.

Other articles of interest in this Spring 2016 TMIS eNewsletter:

* Hyperlocal cuisine - a growing culinary trend where restaurants serve food they have cultivated themselves, or sourced locally from nearby producers.

* A study by the American Academy of Neurobiology finds older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems by engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as computer use, reading, crafting, and social activities.

* Research on natural circadian rhythms of animals in the wild shows how the obese insulin resistant/glucose intolerant state predisposing to diabetes evolved in vertebrates as a seasonal survival mechanism when food availability varied with the seasons, and how exposure to the western diet appears to promote a “lock” in this circadian pattern.

* Findings from a recent survey found that adopting a few simple renewable lifestyle habits that help protect the Earth’s natural resources can make people go from feeling glum to good.

* AllTrials campaign promotes a national conversation about the value of clinical trial transparency, ethics, open access to clinical trial data, and expanded registration for clinical trials to improve clinical practice and policy.

* Farmers in British Columbia safely and responsibly return obsolete and unwanted pesticides and livestock medications through the CleanFARMS program.


I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin

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