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1.  A Naturopathic Approach to the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease 
Objective:
To determine the cost-effectiveness of a worksite-based naturopathic (individualized lifestyle counseling and nutritional medicine) approach to primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods:
Economic evaluation alongside a pragmatic, multi-worksite, randomized controlled trial comparing enhanced usual care (EUC; usual care plus biometric screening) to the addition of a naturopathic approach to CVD prevention (NC+EUC).
Results:
After 1 year, NC+EUC resulted in a net decrease of 3.3 (confidence interval: 1.7 to 4.8) percentage points in 10-year CVD event risk (number needed to treat = 30). These risk reductions came with average net study-year savings of $1138 in societal costs and $1187 in employer costs. There was no change in quality-adjusted life years across the study year.
Conclusions:
A naturopathic approach to CVD primary prevention significantly reduced CVD risk over usual care plus biometric screening and reduced costs to society and employers in this multi-worksite—based study. Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00718796.
doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000000066
PMCID: PMC3921268  PMID: 24451612
2.  Naturopathic medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized clinical trial 
Background:
Although cardiovascular disease may be partially preventable through dietary and lifestyle-based interventions, few individuals at risk receive intensive dietary and lifestyle counselling. We performed a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of naturopathic care in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Methods:
We performed a multisite randomized controlled trial of enhanced usual care (usual care plus biometric measurement; control) compared with enhanced usual care plus naturopathic care (hereafter called naturopathic care). Postal workers aged 25–65 years in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton, Canada, with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease were invited to participate. Participants in both groups received care by their family physicians. Those in the naturopathic group also received individualized care (health promotion counselling, nutritional medicine or dietary supplementation) at 7 preset times in work-site clinics by licensed naturopathic doctors. The body weight, waist circumference, lipid profile, fasting glucose levels and blood pressure of participants in both groups were measured 3 times during a 1-year period. Our primary outcomes were the 10-year risk of having a cardiovascular event (based on the Framingham risk algorithm) and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (based on the Adult Treatment Panel III diagnostic criteria).
Results:
Of 246 participants randomly assigned to a study group, 207 completed the study. The characteristics of participants in both groups were similar at baseline. Compared with participants in the control group, at 52 weeks those in the naturopathic group had a reduced adjusted 10-year cardiovascular risk (control: 10.81%; naturopathic group: 7.74%; risk reduction −3.07% [95% confidence interval (CI) −4.35% to −1.78%], p < 0.001) and a lower adjusted frequency of metabolic syndrome (control group: 48.48%; naturopathic care: 31.58%; risk reduction −16.90% [95% CI −29.55% to −4.25%], p = 0.002).
Interpretation:
Our findings support the hypothesis that the addition of naturopathic care to enhanced usual care may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among those at high risk. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT0071879.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.120567
PMCID: PMC3680587  PMID: 23630244
3.  Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of vitilgo vulgaris: an open label pilot clinical trial 
Background
Vitiligo is a common hypopigmentation disorder with significant psychological impact if occurring before adulthood. A pilot clinical trial to determine the feasibility of an RCT was conducted and is reported here.
Methods
12 participants 12 to 35 years old were recruited to a prospective open-label pilot trial and treated with 60 mg of standardized G. biloba two times per day for 12 weeks. The criteria for feasibility included successful recruitment, 75% or greater retention, effectiveness and lack of serious adverse reactions. Effectiveness was assessed using the Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) and the Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF), which are validated outcome measures evaluating the area and intensity of depigmentation of vitiligo lesions. Other outcomes included photographs and adverse reactions. Safety was assessed by serum coagulation factors (platelets, PTT, INR) at baseline and week 12.
Results
After 2 months of recruitment, the eligible upper age limit was raised from 18 to 35 years of age in order to facilitate recruitment of the required sample size. Eleven participants completed the trial with 85% or greater adherence to the protocol. The total VASI score improved by 0.5 (P = 0.021) from 5.0 to 4.5, range of scale 0 (no depigmentation) to 100 (completely depigmented). The progression of vitiligo stopped in all participants; the total VASI indicated an average repigmentation of vitiligo lesions of 15%. VETF total vitiligo lesion area decreased 0.4% (P = 0.102) from 5.9 to 5.6 from baseline to week 12. VETF staging score improved by 0.7 (P = 0.101) from 6.6 to 5.8, and the VETF spreading score improved by 3.9 (P < 0.001)) from 2.7 to -1.2. There were no statistically significant changes in platelet count, PTT, or INR.
Conclusions
The criteria for feasibility were met after increasing the maximum age limit of the successful recruitment criterion; participant retention, safety and effectiveness criteria were also met. Ingestion of 60 mg of Ginkgo biloba BID was associated with a significant improvement in total VASI vitiligo measures and VETF spread, and a trend towards improvement on VETF measures of vitiligo lesion area and staging. Larger, randomized double-blind clinical studies are warranted and appear feasible.
Trial Registration
Clinical trials.gov registration number NCT00907062
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-21
PMCID: PMC3065445  PMID: 21406109
4.  Naturopathic Care for Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial ISRCTN78958974 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6628.
Background
Anxiety is a serious personal health condition and represents a substantial burden to overall quality of life. Additionally anxiety disorders represent a significant cost to the health care system as well as employers through benefits coverage and days missed due to incapacity. This study sought to explore the effectiveness of naturopathic care on anxiety symptoms using a randomized trial.
Methods
Employees with moderate to severe anxiety of longer than 6 weeks duration were randomized based on age and gender to receive naturopathic care (NC) (n = 41) or standardized psychotherapy intervention (PT) (n = 40) over a period of 12 weeks. Blinding of investigators and participants during randomization and allocation was maintained. Participants in the NC group received dietary counseling, deep breathing relaxation techniques, a standard multi-vitamin, and the herbal medicine, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) (300 mg b.i.d. standardized to 1.5% withanolides, prepared from root). The PT intervention received psychotherapy, and matched deep breathing relaxation techniques, and placebo. The primary outcome measure was the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and secondary outcome measures included the Short Form 36 (SF-36), Fatigue Symptom Inventory (FSI), and Measure Yourself Medical Outcomes Profile (MY-MOP) to measure anxiety, mental health, and quality of life respectively. Participants were blinded to the placebo-controlled intervention.
Results
Seventy-five participants (93%) were followed for 8 or more weeks on the trial. Final BAI scores decreased by 56.5% (p<0.0001) in the NC group and 30.5% (p<0.0001) in the PT group. BAI group scores were significantly decreased in the NC group compared to PT group (p = 0.003). Significant differences between groups were also observed in mental health, concentration, fatigue, social functioning, vitality, and overall quality of life with the NC group exhibiting greater clinical benefit. No serious adverse reactions were observed in either group.
Relevance
Many patients seek alternatives and/or complementary care to conventional anxiety treatments. To date, no study has evaluated the potential of a naturopathic treatment protocol to effectively treat anxiety. Knowledge of the efficacy, safety or risk of natural health products, and naturopathic treatments is important for physicians and the public in order to make informed decisions.
Interpretation
Both NC and PT led to significant improvements in patients' anxiety. Group comparison demonstrated a significant decrease in anxiety levels in the NC group over the PT group. Significant improvements in secondary quality of life measures were also observed in the NC group as compared to PT. The whole system of naturopathic care for anxiety needs to be investigated further including a closer examination of the individual components within the context of their additive effect.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN78958974
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006628
PMCID: PMC2729375  PMID: 19718255
5.  A systematic review of natural health product treatment for vitiligo 
BMC Dermatology  2008;8:2.
Background
Vitiligo is a hypopigmentation disorder affecting 1 to 4% of the world population. Fifty percent of cases appear before the age of 20 years old, and the disfigurement results in psychiatric morbidity in 16 to 35% of those affected.
Methods
Our objective was to complete a comprehensive, systematic review of the published scientific literature to identify natural health products (NHP) such as vitamins, herbs and other supplements that may have efficacy in the treatment of vitiligo. We searched eight databases including MEDLINE and EMBASE for vitiligo, leucoderma, and various NHP terms. Prospective controlled clinical human trials were identified and assessed for quality.
Results
Fifteen clinical trials were identified, and organized into four categories based on the NHP used for treatment. 1) L-phenylalanine monotherapy was assessed in one trial, and as an adjuvant to phototherapy in three trials. All reported beneficial effects. 2) Three clinical trials utilized different traditional Chinese medicine products. Although each traditional Chinese medicine trial reported benefit in the active groups, the quality of the trials was poor. 3) Six trials investigated the use of plants in the treatment of vitiligo, four using plants as photosensitizing agents. The studies provide weak evidence that photosensitizing plants can be effective in conjunction with phototherapy, and moderate evidence that Ginkgo biloba monotherapy can be useful for vitiligo. 4) Two clinical trials investigated the use of vitamins in the therapy of vitiligo. One tested oral cobalamin with folic acid, and found no significant improvement over control. Another trial combined vitamin E with phototherapy and reported significantly better repigmentation over phototherapy only. It was not possible to pool the data from any studies for meta-analytic purposes due to the wide difference in outcome measures and poor quality ofreporting.
Conclusion
Reports investigating the efficacy of NHPs for vitiligo exist, but are of poor methodological quality and contain significant reporting flaws. L-phenylalanine used with phototherapy, and oral Ginkgo biloba as monotherapy show promise and warrant further investigation.
doi:10.1186/1471-5945-8-2
PMCID: PMC2432048  PMID: 18498646
6.  Naturopathic Care for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Trial 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(9):e919.
Objective
Chronic low back pain represents a substantial cost to employers through benefits coverage and days missed due to incapacity. We sought to explore the effectiveness of Naturopathic care on chronic low back pain.
Methods
This study was a randomized clinical trial. We randomized 75 postal employees with low back pain of longer than six weeks duration to receive Naturopathic care (n = 39) or standardized physiotherapy (n = 36) over a period of 12 weeks. The study was conducted in clinics on-site in postal outlets. Participants in the Naturopathic care group received dietary counseling, deep breathing relaxation techniques and acupuncture. The control intervention received education and instruction on physiotherapy exercises using an approved education booklet. We measured low back pain using the Oswestry disability questionnaire as the primary outcome measure, and quality of life using the SF-36 in addition to low back range of motion, weight loss, and Body Mass Index as secondary outcomes.
Results
Sixty-nine participants (92%) completed eight weeks or greater of the trial. Participants in the Naturopathic care group reported significantly lower back pain (−6.89, 95% CI. −9.23 to −3.54, p = <0.0001) as measured by the Oswestry questionnaire. Quality of life was also significantly improved in the group receiving Naturopathic care in all domains except for vitality. Differences for the aggregate physical component of the SF-36 was 8.47 (95% CI, 5.05 to 11.87, p = <0.0001) and for the aggregate mental component was 7.0 (95% CI, 2.25 to 11.75, p = 0.0045). All secondary outcomes were also significantly improved in the group receiving Naturopathic care: spinal flexion (p<0.0001), weight-loss (p = 0.0052) and Body Mass Index (−0.52, 95% CI, −0.96 to −0.08, p = 0.01).
Conclusions
Naturopathic care provided significantly greater improvement than physiotherapy advice for patients with chronic low back pain.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN41920953
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000919
PMCID: PMC1976391  PMID: 17878954
7.  Induction of antitumor immunity through xenoplacental immunization 
Historically cancer vaccines have yielded suboptimal clinical results. We have developed a novel strategy for eliciting antitumor immunity based upon homology between neoplastic tissue and the developing placenta. Placenta formation shares several key processes with neoplasia, namely: angiogenesis, activation of matrix metalloproteases, and active suppression of immune function. Immune responses against xenoantigens are well known to break self-tolerance. Utilizing xenogeneic placental protein extracts as a vaccine, we have successfully induced anti-tumor immunity against B16 melanoma in C57/BL6 mice, whereas control xenogeneic extracts and B16 tumor extracts where ineffective, or actually promoted tumor growth, respectively. Furthermore, dendritic cells were able to prime tumor immunity when pulsed with the placental xenoantigens. While vaccination-induced tumor regression was abolished in mice depleted of CD4 T cells, both CD4 and CD8 cells were needed to adoptively transfer immunity to naïve mice. Supporting the role of CD8 cells in controlling tumor growth are findings that only freshly isolated CD8 cells from immunized mice were capable of inducing tumor cell caspases-3 activation ex vivo. These data suggest feasibility of using xenogeneic placental preparations as a multivalent vaccine potently targeting not just tumor antigens, but processes that are essential for tumor maintenance of malignant potential.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-4-22
PMCID: PMC1482718  PMID: 16725035

Results 1-7 (7)