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UQ leads the way on complementary medicine research

The University of Queensland is leading the way on research into complementary medicines to make them part of mainstream medical use.

The National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) has awarded $660,000 to Associate Professor Luis Vitetta to establish a NICM Collaborative Centre for Transitional Preclinical and Clinical Research in Nutraceuticals and Herbal Medicine, which aims to support complementary and alternative medicine with evidence-based research.

Australia is one of the largest per capita users of complementary medicines in the western world, Dr Vitetta said.

And as such large consumers, it is important to fully investigate the efficacy and safety of those practices and products that are not part of conventional medicine.

Such rigorous research may ultimately replace terms such as complementary medicines which covers things such as vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines and lead to their inclusion into mainstream medicine.

Dr Vitetta, from the School of Medicine, said the Centre would draw together leading expertise in both complementary and conventional medicine to achieve its goals.

What we are seeing in the community is an enhanced interest in health and specifically people wanting health advice, as the primary source of their health options, he said.

The primary role of doctors is to manage disease and its associated symptoms, but by encompassing a wider range of medicines and treatment modalities they can provide the community with a wider choice for their health needs, especially when it is based on evidence based approach that includes disease prevention advice.

We have got a profile in this area already and this new initiative will give UQ a very important presence as a central point for complementary medicine research, he said.

In other NHMRC funding, Dr Jon Adams, from UQ's School of Population Health, was awarded $450,771 in a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Grant to look at CAM use among mid-age women across the urban-rural divide.

Two other UQ researchers from the School of Medicine have received more than $1 million under the NHMRC's General Practice Clinical Research Program.

Associate Professor Jenny Doust received $457,200 for a project to look at improving risk assessment to prevent cardiovascular disease, and Associate Professor Geoff Mitchell received $561,670 to look at different ways of supporting the needs of carers of patients with advanced cancer.


Contact: Marlene McKendry
Research Australia

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