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1.  Self-Reported Health Characteristics and Medication Consumption by CAM Users and Nonusers: A Swiss Cross-Sectional Survey 
Objectives: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is very popular in Switzerland. The objective of this work was to find out whether the use of CAM therapies is associated with distinct health characteristics and altered consumption of conventional medications.
Design and participants: Self-reported data from the 2007 Swiss Health Survey were analyzed. Two groups of participants were defined and compared with each other: CAM users (those who had used CAM during the last 12 months, n=3333) and nonusers (those who stated they had not used CAM during the last 12 months, n=9821).
Outcome measures: Multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine the predictors of CAM use and to address relevance and magnitude of the differences in medication consumption between CAM users and nonusers.
Results: Comparatively lower body–mass index (BMI) values and migraine, arthritis, allergies, and depression were associated with increased probability of CAM use. Multivariate logistic regression models that adjusted for the effects of relevant demographic factors, BMI, and perceived health status showed that CAM users consumed fewer medications for cardiovascular diseases—high blood pressure and high cholesterol (and, by trend, heart problems and diabetes)—than nonusers. On the other hand, their consumption of analgesics and medications for depression and for constipation (and, by trend, sedatives and soporifics), was higher than that of nonusers.
Conclusions: Migraine, arthritis, depression, and constipation might lead patients to use CAM therapies and, in addition, to consume more of some conventional medications. Given the long intake period and considerable adverse effects of medications, the lower consumption of these agents for chronic cardiovascular problems by CAM users might be beneficial and deserves further investigations.
PMCID: PMC3904511  PMID: 23863087
2.  Mistletoe lectin is not the only cytotoxic component in fermented preparations of Viscum album from white fir (Abies pectinata) 
Preparations of mistletoe (Viscum album) are the form of cancer treatment that is most frequently used in the complementary medicine. Previous work has shown that these preparations are able to exert cytotoxic effects on carcinoma cells, the extent of which might be influenced by the host tree species and by the content of mistletoe lectin.
Using colorimetric assays, we have now compared the cytotoxic effects of Viscum album preparations (VAPs) obtained from mistletoe growing on oak (Quercus robur and Q. petraea, VAP-Qu), apple tree (Malus domestica,, VAP-M), pine (Pinus sylvestris, VAP-P) or white fir (Abies pectinata, VAP-A), on the in vitro growth of breast and bladder carcinoma cell lines. While MFM-223, KPL-1, MCF-7 and HCC-1937 were the breast carcinoma cell lines chosen, the panel of tested bladder carcinoma cells comprised the T-24, TCC-SUP, UM-UC-3 and J-82 cell lines.
Each of the VAPs inhibited cell growth, but the extent of this inhibition differed with the preparation and with the cell line. The concentrations of VAP-Qu, VAP-M and VAP-A which led to a 50 % reduction of cell growth (IC50) varied between 0.6 and 0.03 mg/ml. Higher concentrations of VAP-P were required to obtain a comparable effect. Purified mistletoe lectin I (MLI) led to an inhibition of breast carcinoma cell growth at concentrations lower than those of VAPs, but the sensitivity towards purified MLI did not parallel that towards VAPs. Bladder carcinoma cells were in most cases more sensitive to VAPs treatment than breast carcinoma cells. The total mistletoe lectin content was very high in VAP-Qu (54 ng/mg extract), intermediate in VAP-M (25 ng/mg extract), and very low in VAP-P (1.3 ng/mg extract) and in VAP-A (1 ng/mg extract). As to be expected from the low content of mistletoe lectin, VAP-P led to relatively weak cytotoxic effects. Most remarkably, however, the lectin-poor VAP-A revealed a cytotoxic effect comparable to, or even stronger than, that of the lectin-rich VAP-Qu, on all tested bladder and breast carcinoma cell lines.
The results suggest the existence of cytotoxic components other than mistletoe lectin in VAP-A and reveal an unexpected potential of this preparation for the treatment of breast and bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC1878504  PMID: 17493268

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