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AIDS Treatment News
Alternative Treatment Research Center Receives NIH Grant
John S. James
October 21, 1994
AIDS TREATMENT NEWS Issue #209, October 21, 1994

Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, has received a three-year, $840,000 grant from the Office of Alternative Medicine to establish an Alternative Medicine Center for research in HIV/AIDS. The new Center will: * Research the patterns of use of alternative treatments for AIDS and related conditions. What is the extent of use of different treatments -- both prescribed by healthcare providers, and self-administered? Are people informing their mainstream physicians about what else they are using? * Screen and evaluate therapies from the field of alternative medicine, including reporting of adverse events.

* Train alternative medicine practitioners in the scientific evaluation of their treatments.

* Educate the mainstream biomedical community in alternative medical treatment of HIV infection and AIDS.

Bastyr University was founded by naturopathic physicians in 1978, and is now offers degrees in naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and nutrition. It is accredited by the Northwest Association of the Schools and Colleges. It has studied potential AIDS treatments for many years, focusing on assembling scientific knowledge about naturopathic and other alternative treatments. The current grant is the first ever from the NIH to an educational institution that trains alternative medicine practitioners.

The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) was established as a separate entity within the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) only last year, when President Clinton signed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993. The OAM has defined alternative medicine as "any medical practice or intervention that: (a) lacks sufficient documentation in the United States for safety and effectiveness against specific diseases and conditions; (b) is not generally taught in U.S. medical schools; and (c) is not generally reimbursable by health insurance providers." The OAM recently funded another center to evaluate alternative treatments for addictions and related disorders.

For More Information The Office of Alternative Medicine publishes a newsletter every other month, and also has a general information paper and several fact sheets available. Current fact sheets cover: Frequently asked questions; Research programs of the OAM; Classification of alternative medical practices; Upcoming events sponsored by the OAM; Shark cartilage; Biofeedback; HIV/AIDS and alternative therapies; and Directory of alternative healthcare associations. For more information, write to Information Center, Office of Alternative Medicine/NIH, 6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS, Suite 450, Rockville, MD 20852, or call 301/402-2466, or fax 301/402- 4741.

For more information about the Alternative Medicine Center for Research in HIV/AIDS, or Bastyr University, write to Bastyr University, 144 NE 54th Street, Seattle, WA 98105, phone 206/523-9585, fax 206/527-4763.