Friday, September 16, 2011

CSSA seminar explores acupuncture

ACUPUNCTURE AWARENESS: From left, Napadow, Lu,
Yeung, Ying-Hua Wang, PhD, current interim co-president
of CSSA and a scientist in the MGH Center for
Regenerative Medicine, and Shum

IN THE UNITED STATES, approximately 30 percent to 60 percent of patients utilize complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). And although the use of alternative medicine is increasing, many U.S. health care professionals do not feel they are fully prepared to manage patients who utilize CAM as part of their treatment.

To help educate caregivers about acupuncture, one of the most common CAM treatments, the MGH Chinese Scientist and Staff Association (CSSA) held a seminar, “Acupuncture in Health and Disease,” Sept. 8 in the Simches Research Center. Nearly 100 physicians, nurses, health care professionals, scientists and acupuncturists from across the Greater Boston area attended the event. The seminar, accredited by Harvard Medical School (HMS) Continuing Medical Education, was the second in the CSSA series, “Introduction to the Use of Evidence-Based Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Traditional Chinese medicine includes acupuncture and herbal medicine as well as diagnostics.

The event’s first speaker, Weidong Lu, LAc, MD, MPH, PhD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, introduced the emerging field of oncology acupuncture, which recently has been applied in clinical trials. Vitaly Napadow, PhD, LAc, of MGH Imaging and the BWH Pain Management Center, then presented his novel findings using functional magnetic resonance imaging to delineate the mechanisms underlying acupuncture effects on brain activity related to clinical improvements. A question and answer session followed the presentations. The seminar – organized with support from MGH Human Resources and the MGH Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine – was presided over by Albert Yeung, MD, of the MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program, an expert in the use of acupuncture to treat depression.

“We are so grateful that this program has drawn more and more people’s attention,” says Winnie Shum, PhD, of the MGH Center for Systems Biology, the past president and currently a committee member of the CSSA. “We hope that eventually traditional Chinese medicine can become a standard option for patients here in Boston. Indeed, traditional medicine is already being practiced together with Western medicine in many major Asian cities, like Hong Kong and Singapore.”

The CSSA will host its next seminar, “Traditional Chinese Medicine and Inflammation-Related Diseases,” Dec. 1. Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH, medical director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, will be the moderator and invited speakers are David Yue-Wei Lee, PhD, director of the Bioorganic and Natural Products Research Laboratory of the Mailman Research Center at McLean Hospital; and Yung-Chi Cheng, PhD, the Henry Bronson Professor of Pharmacology at Yale University. For more information, email 

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