Bringing acupuncture to hospitals benefits patients.
Hospitals are increasing their use of integrative medicine, which is no surprise since the majority of healthcare workers use these therapies.
The results of a recent survey of over 700 American hospitals were reported by the American Hospital Association by the non-profit Samueli Institute. They asked hospitals about their Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) offerings; a few highlights are below. The results are heartening for those wanting customized, full-spectrum integrative health care when needing hospital care.
The following are the top five most interesting findings:
1. 42% of the hospitals offer one or more CAM treatments. This is up 5% from the last survey in 2007.
2. CAM treatment types available at hospitals: massage, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, smoking cessation, fitness training and more.
3. Top reasons hospitals offer CAM therapies: patient demand (#1) and clinical effectiveness (#2).
4. Top reason hospitals don't have more more CAM therapies: budgetary constraints.
5. And the number one most popular CAM therapy: massage therapy.
Massage therapy, along with many of the above listed CAM therapies has been a long-standing treatment option available at private offices nationwide. The introduction of such CAM therapies to hospitals will benefit both the hospital and the patient.
Hospitals benefit by being able to better optimize patient healing, recovery and pain management to name a few (which may result in shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and less medical intervention).
According to Nancy Foster, AHA's VP of quality and patient safety, patients benefit by these hospitals' "desire to treat the whole person—body, mind and spirit...Hospitals have long known that what they do to treat and heal involves more than just medications and procedures. It is about using all of the art and science of medicine to restore the patient as fully as possible.” Sounds like a game plan we all can agree on!
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Asthma inhalers may soon be less relied upon.
New research from Northwestern Medicine shows promising benefits for the tens of thousands who experience life-threatening allergic reactions each year. By introducing specifically modified immune system cells, it gives the body a new signal, which turns off the anaphylactic reaction.
Using mice who were designed to have deadly allergic reactions to peanuts, the researchers attached peanut proteins to white blood cells which are normally a part of allergic reactions. Introducing these modified white blood cells prompts the body to create a tolerance, instead of a severe allergic reaction, to peanuts.
This "fooling of the immune system" treatment has also been applied to asthma and autoimmune disease research, such as Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. All of these medical conditions have been shown to be reduced in severity by this immunological application (more info here).
So what does that mean for us who have experienced or who know they are susceptible to anaphylactic reactions because of severe allergies? Since this research has shown to provide such beneficial applications, it won't be long before human clinical trials are begun.
One day in the near future, this may be a treatment option given to patients suffering from severe allergies (and perhaps moderate or mild allergies). The treatment feel something like a vaccine or allergy shots (which in its current form contains hundreds of shots to provide its benefit). The white blood cells will be taken from a blood sample, allergic proteins will be attached, then reintroduced to the patient. Who knows? A few sticks then perhaps the occasional booster shot may provide permanent relief from severe allergies!
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Currently, about 10% of preschool children and 19% of children ages 6-11 are obese. New research from the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has found a link between specific infant growth benchmarks and a high risk for childhood obesity.
This isn't as straightforward as "fat babies become fat kids." Many thin and average sized adults started out as pudgy babies. And many school-aged children and adults begin struggling with weight gain well after their baby years.
What the researchers found was that the greatest risk for developing obesity was growing across three major percentiles (25%, 50% and 75%) between ages 1 to 6 months old. So those babies who are most likely to become obese by age 11 years are those who start out as relatively small infants ( under 25th percentile or more than 75% are larger than him/her) in the first month of life, but then grows rather fast and tips the tables towards being one of the larger babies (now over the 75th percentile or less than 25% of others are larger than him/her) by the sixth month of life.
So little bitty babies who become big pudgy babies quickly are those most likely to be obese by grade school. The authors have made the connection, but not explained why that trend continues int childhood. This is a multi-factorial issue, with some of the reasons for the relatively fast weight gain outlined by the authors being:
-Less mobility: these babies may be in strollers, car seats or other stationary positions for longer periods of time.
-Over-fed or fed "incorrectly" such as juice in bottles, solid foods introduced early (before 6 months).
Now, nobody's talking about signing these infants up for Jenny Craig for Babies (which I'm thankful isn't even a real thing). But, like the rest of us, some attention to food and activity goes a long way. If the rest of the family eats healthy, wholesome meals and makes time for exercise and activities, these will surely be healthy attributes of even the pudgiest baby.
Another suggestion offered by consultant pediatrician Dr. Joanna Lewis is for the family to all sit down and eat together, as "research has shown that obesity is less common in children raised in families that have frequent meals together at home."
So without thinking that this research defines or limits anyone's potential for health, instead see this as allowing us to understand how influential to our health early eating and activity habits are. Thank you for reading!