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1.  Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by african american (AA) and caucasian american (CA) older adults in a rural setting: a descriptive, comparative study 
Background
The use of CAM is at an all time high. There is very little research that compares the use of CAM in elders by ethnicity in rural settings. The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a difference between African American and Caucasian American rural elders on use of CAM and self-reported satisfaction with CAM.
Methods
The design was a descriptive, comparative study of 183 elders who reported the number of CAM used and satisfaction with CAM. A convenience sample was recruited through community service organizations in the state of Mississippi. The availability of elders through the support groups, sampling bias, subject effect, and self-report were limitations of the study.
Results
The commonest examples of CAM used by rural elders were prayer, vitamins, exercise, meditation, herbs, chiropractic medicine, glucosamine, and music therapy. Significant findings on SES and marital status were calculated. Differences on ethnicity and demographic variables were significant for age, education, and the use of glucosamine.
Conclusions
Health care providers must be aware that elders are using CAM and are satisfied with their use. Identifying different uses of CAM by ethnicity is important for health care practitioners, impacting how health care is provided.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-8
PMCID: PMC280686  PMID: 14622445
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); older adult; rural
2.  Ameliorating effect of microdoses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice 
Background
Arsenic in groundwater and its accumulation in plants and animals have assumed a menacing proportion in a large part of West Bengal, India and adjoining areas of Bangladesh. Because of the tremendous magnitude of the problem, there seems to be no way to tackle the problem overnight. Efforts to provide arsenic free water to the millions of people living in these dreaded zones are being made, but are awfully inadequate. In our quest for finding out an easy, safe and affordable means to combat this problem, a homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album-30, appears to yield promising results in mice. The relative efficacies of two micro doses of this drug, namely, Arsenicum Album-30 and Arsenicum Album-200, in combating arsenic toxicity have been determined in the present study on the basis of some accepted biochemical protocols.
Methods
Mice were divided into different sets of control (both positive and negative) and treated series (As-intoxicated, As-intoxicated plus drug-fed). Alanine amino transferase (ALT) and aspartate amino transferase (AST) activities and reduced glutathione (GSH) level in liver and blood were analyzed in the different series of mice at six different fixation intervals.
Results
Both Arsenicum Album-30 and Arsenicum Album-200 ameliorated arsenic-induced toxicity to a considerable extent as compared to various controls.
Conclusions
The results lend further support to our earlier views that microdoses of potentized Arsenicum Album are capable of combating arsenic intoxication in mice, and thus are strong candidates for possible use in human subjects in arsenic contaminated areas under medical supervision.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-7
PMCID: PMC521186  PMID: 14570596
3.  Aphrodisiac activity of 50% ethanolic extracts of Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg) and Syzygium aromaticum (L) Merr. & Perry. (clove) in male mice: a comparative study 
Background
Spices are considered as sexual invigorators in the Unani System of Medicine. In order to explore the sexual function improving effect of Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg) and Syzygium aromaticum (L) Merr. & Perry. (clove) an experimental study was conducted in normal male mice.
Methods
The extracts (50% ethanolic) of nutmeg and clove were administered (500 mg/kg; p.o.) to different groups of male Swiss mice. Mounting behaviour, mating performance, and general short term toxicity of the test drugs were determined and compared with the standard drug Penegra (Sildenafil citrate).
Results
The extracts of the nutmeg and clove were found to stimulate the mounting behaviour of male mice, and also to significantly increase their mating performance. The drugs were devoid of any conspicuous general short term toxicity.
Conclusion
The extracts (50% ethanolic) of nutmeg and clove enhanced the sexual behaviour of male mice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-6
PMCID: PMC270058  PMID: 14567759
4.  Possible mechanisms of hypotension produced 70% alcoholic extract of Terminalia arjuna (L.) in anaesthetized dogs 
Background
The bark of Terminalia arjuna L. (Combretaceae) is used in Ayurveda since ancient times for the treatment of cardiac disorders. Previous laboratory investigations have demonstrated the use of the bark in cardiovascular complications. The present study was aimed to find the effect of 70% alcoholic extract of Terminalia arjuna on anaesthetized dog blood pressure and probable site of action.
Methods
Six dogs were anaesthetized with intraperitoneal injection of thiopental sodium and the blood pressure of each dog (n = 6) was measured from the left common carotid artery connected to a mercury manometer on kymograph. The femoral vein was cannulated for administration of drug solutions. The extract of T. arjuna (dissolved in propylene glycol) in the dose range of 5 to 15 mg/kg were administered intravenously in a pilot study and the dose (6 mg/kg) which produced appreciable hypotension was selected for further studies.
Results
Intravenous administration of T. arjuna produced dose-dependent hypotension in anaesthetized dogs. The hypotension produced by 6 mg/kg dose of the extract was blocked by propranolol but not by atropine or mepyramine maleate. This indicates that muscarinic or histaminergic mechanisms are not likely to be involved in the hypotension produced by the extract. The blockade by propranolol of the hypotension produced by T. arjuna indicates that the extract might contain active compound(s) possessing adrenergic ß2-receptor agonist action and/or that act directly on the heart muscle.
Conclusion
The results indicated the likely involvement of peripheral mechanism for hypotension produced by the 70% alcoholic extract of Terminalia arjuna and lends support for the claims of its traditional usage in cardiovascular disorders.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-5
PMCID: PMC270057  PMID: 14561229
5.  The juice of fresh leaves of Catharanthus roseus Linn. reduces blood glucose in normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits 
Background
The leaf juice or water decoction of Catharanthus roseus L. (Apocyanaceae) is used as a folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes all over the world. In the present investigation, the leaf juice of C. roseus has been evaluated for its hypoglycemic activity in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits.
Methods
The blood glucose lowering activity of the leaf juice was studied in normal and alloxan-induced (100 mg/kg, i.v.) diabetic rabbits, after oral administration at doses of 0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 ml/kg body weight. Blood samples were collected from the marginal ear vein before and also at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20 & 24 h after drug administration and blood glucose was analyzed by Nelson-Somogyi's method using a visible spectrophotometer. The data was compared statistically by using Student's t-test.
Results
The leaf juice of C. roseus produced dose-dependent reduction in blood glucose of both normal and diabetic rabbits and comparable with that of the standard drug, glibenclamide. The results indicate a prolonged action in reduction of blood glucose by C. roseus and the mode of action of the active compound(s) of C. roseus is probably mediated through enhance secretion of insulin from the β-cells of Langerhans or through extrapancreatic mechanism.
Conclusions
The present study clearly indicated a significant antidiabetic activity with the leaf juice of Catharanthus roseus and supports the traditional usage of the fresh leaves by Ayurvedic physicians for the control of diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-4
PMCID: PMC194756  PMID: 12950994
6.  Searching biomedical databases on complementary medicine: the use of controlled vocabulary among authors, indexers and investigators 
Background
The optimal retrieval of a literature search in biomedicine depends on the appropriate use of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), descriptors and keywords among authors and indexers. We hypothesized that authors, investigators and indexers in four biomedical databases are not consistent in their use of terminology in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Methods
Based on a research question addressing the validity of spinal palpation for the diagnosis of neuromuscular dysfunction, we developed four search concepts with their respective controlled vocabulary and key terms. We calculated the frequency of MeSH, descriptors, and keywords used by authors in titles and abstracts in comparison to standard practices in semantic and analytic indexing in MEDLINE, MANTIS, CINAHL, and Web of Science.
Results
Multiple searches resulted in the final selection of 38 relevant studies that were indexed at least in one of the four selected databases. Of the four search concepts, validity showed the greatest inconsistency in terminology among authors, indexers and investigators. The use of spinal terms showed the greatest consistency. Of the 22 neuromuscular dysfunction terms provided by the investigators, 11 were not contained in the controlled vocabulary and six were never used by authors or indexers. Most authors did not seem familiar with the controlled vocabulary for validity in the area of neuromuscular dysfunction. Recently, standard glossaries have been developed to assist in the research development of manual medicine.
Conclusions
Searching biomedical databases for CAM is challenging due to inconsistent use of controlled vocabulary and indexing procedures in different databases. A standard terminology should be used by investigators in conducting their search strategies and authors when writing titles, abstracts and submitting keywords for publications.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-3
PMCID: PMC166167  PMID: 12846931
7.  Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation to treat symptomatic disc degeneration: Biochemical rationale and case report 
Background
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate preparations are widely used as food supplements against osteoarthritis, but critics are skeptical about their efficacy, because of the lack of convincing clinical trials and a reasonable scientific rationale for the use of these nutraceuticals. Most trials were on osteoarthritis of the knee, while virtually no documentation exists on spinal disc degeneration. The purpose of this article is to highlight the potential of these food additives against cartilage degeneration in general, and against symptomatic spinal disc degeneration in particular, as is illustrated by a case report. The water content of the intervertebral disc is a reliable measure of its degeneration/ regeneration status, and can be objectively determined by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) signals.
Case presentation
Oral intake of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for two years associated with disk recovery (brightening of MRI signal) in a case of symptomatic spinal disc degeneration. We provide a biochemical explanation for the possible efficacy of these nutraceuticals. They are bioavailable to cartilage chondrocytes, may stimulate the biosynthesis and inhibit the breakdown of their extracellular matrix proteoglycans.
Conclusion
The case suggests that long-term glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate intake may counteract symptomatic spinal disc degeneration, particularly at an early stage. However, definite proof requires well-conducted clinical trials with these food supplements, in which disc de-/regeneration can be objectively determined by MRI. A number of biochemical reasons (that mechanistically need to be further resolved) explain why these agents may have cartilage structure- and symptom-modifying effects, suggesting their therapeutic efficacy against osteoarthritis in general.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-2
PMCID: PMC165439  PMID: 12797867
8.  Content validity of manual spinal palpatory exams - A systematic review 
Background
Many health care professionals use spinal palpatory exams as a primary and well-accepted part of the evaluation of spinal pathology. However, few studies have explored the validity of spinal palpatory exams. To evaluate the status of the current scientific evidence, we conducted a systematic review to assess the content validity of spinal palpatory tests used to identify spinal neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction.
Methods
Review of eleven databases and a hand search of peer-reviewed literature, published between 1965–2002, was undertaken. Two blinded reviewers abstracted pertinent data from the retrieved papers, using a specially developed quality-scoring instrument. Five papers met the inclusion/exclusion criteria.
Results
Three of the five papers included in the review explored the content validity of motion tests. Two of these papers focused on identifying the level of fixation (decreased mobility) and one focused on range of motion. All three studies used a mechanical model as a reference standard. Two of the five papers included in the review explored the validity of pain assessment using the visual analogue scale or the subjects' own report as reference standards. Overall the sensitivity of studies looking at range of motion tests and pain varied greatly. Poor sensitivity was reported for range of motion studies regardless of the examiner's experience. A slightly better sensitivity (82%) was reported in one study that examined cervical pain.
Conclusions
The lack of acceptable reference standards may have contributed to the weak sensitivity findings. Given the importance of spinal palpatory tests as part of the spinal evaluation and treatment plan, effort is required by all involved disciplines to create well-designed and implemented studies in this area.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-1
PMCID: PMC156889  PMID: 12734016

Results 1-8 (8)