Integrative Medicine in Allergy and Immunology

Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, 1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE, 19803, USA, .
Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.46). 06/2012; 44(3). DOI: 10.1007/s12016-012-8314-2
Source: PubMed


Integrative medicine is a relatively new discipline which attempts to combine allopathic medicine with alternative or complementary medicine, to reap the benefits of both forms of medicine in optimizing the care of patients. Integrative medicine concentrates on treating the patient as a whole, both in body and mind. While the scientific method and "evidence-based" clinical research drives the management and treatment of diseases in conventional Western medicine, alternative or complementary medicine is based on unproven yet potentially beneficial techniques that have been developed throughout history, dating back to the ancient cultures in the Middle East, Africa, and China. In spite of the lack of evidence of most alternative medicine techniques, these methodologies have been practiced for centuries with great acceptance in many countries. It is in the Western world, where "modern" medicine is dictated by the scientific method, that the most controversy in the use of these alternative modes of therapy exists. Since the science behind alternative medicine is incomplete or non-existent, it is difficult for those trained in Western medicine to accept or adopt this approach. But perhaps it is the failure of Western medicine to adequately guarantee our well being and good health that have led to the ongoing debate between the medical profession and the general public as to the benefits of these alternative treatments. In one sense, integrative medicine may be a futile attempt to coin a new term in the hope of legitimizing alternative medicine. On the other hand, there is a wealth of historical experience in the use of the techniques. Studies to evaluate the scientific basis behind ancient medical techniques are ongoing, and it is to be expected that the results will neither be uniformly positive nor negative. Of particular interest is the effect of traditional medicine, herbal formulations, and manipulative techniques on the immune system, and its application in the treatment of autoimmune and allergic diseases. Studies are being designed or conducted to investigate immune effects of herbal formulations or their components. Herbal plants or medicines may lead to skewing of the Th1/Th2 balance in either direction, thus may offer potential application in the treatment of allergic or autoimmune diseases.

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    • "Can integrative medicine contribute to combat hypertension more effectively? Integrative medicine is a relative new discipline which attempts to combine complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with Western medicine [5]. As Western medicine has been developed based on the scientific method, integrative medicine, therefore, combines the latest modern scientific advances with the most profound perspectives of CAM to regain and preserve health [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives. To assess the beneficial and adverse effects of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (LWDHW), combined with antihypertensive drugs, for essential hypertension. Methods. Five major electronic databases were searched up to August 2012 to retrieve any potential randomized controlled trials designed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of LWDHW combined with antihypertensive drugs for essential hypertension reported in any language, with main outcome measures as blood pressure. The quality of the included studies was assessed with the Jadad scale and a customized standard quality assessment scale. Results. 6 randomized trials were included. The methodological quality of the trials was evaluated as generally low. The pooled results showed that LWDHW combined with antihypertensive drugs was more effective in blood pressure and the scale for TCM syndrome and symptom differentiation scores compared with antihypertensive drugs alone. Most of the trials did not report adverse events, and the safety is still uncertain. Conclusions. LWDHW combined with antihypertensive drugs appears to be effective in improving blood pressure and symptoms in patients with essential hypertension. However, the evidence remains weak due to the poor methodological quality of the included studies.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: The science of food allergy has been rapidly evolving before our eyes in the past half century. Like other allergic disorders, the prevalence of food allergies has dramatically increased, and coupled with the increased public awareness of anaphylaxis due to food allergy, this has driven an explosion in basic and clinical research in this extremely broad subject. Treatment of food allergies has evolved and practices such as food challenges have become an integral part of an allergy practice. The impact of the increase of food allergy has driven package labeling laws, legislation on emergency treatment availability in schools and other public places, and school policy. But to this day, our knowledge of the pathogenesis of food allergy is still incomplete. There are the most obvious IgE-mediated immediate hypersensitivity reactions, but then multiple previously unidentified conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, milk protein allergy, food-induced atopic dermatitis, oral allergy syndrome, and others have complicated the diagnosis and management of many of our patients who are unable to tolerate certain foods. Many of these conditions are not IgE-mediated, but may be T cell-driven diseases. The role of T regulatory cells and immune tolerance and the newly discovered immunological role of vitamin D have shed light on the variable clinical presentation of food allergy and the development of new methods of immunotherapy in an example of bench-to-bedside research. Component-resolved diagnostic techniques have already begun to allow us to more precisely define the epitopes that are targeted in food allergic patients. The development of biological modulators, research on genomics and proteomics, and epigenetic techniques all offer promising avenues for new modes of therapy of food allergy in the twenty-first century.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: Clinicians are facing unexpected issues in everyday practice, and these may become counterintuitive or challenging. Illustrative examples are provided by the hypersensitivity to universally used immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids or antibiotics such as beta-lactam. Secondly, additional issues are represented by the discovery of new pathogenetic mechanisms involved in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis or other chronic inflammatory diseases, genomic susceptibility to enigmatic diseases such as giant cell arteritis, or the shared role of specific mediators such as semaphorins. Third, the therapeutic armamentarium has dramatically changed over the past decade following the introduction of biotechnological drugs, and new mechanisms are being proposed to reduce adverse events or increase the drug effectiveness, particularly on cardiovascular comorbidities. Finally, rare diseases continue to represent difficult cases, as for Cogan's syndrome, with limited literature available for clinical recommendations. For these reason, the present issue of Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology is timely and dedicated to these and other unique topics in clinical immunology and allergy. The aim of this issue is thus to help clinicians involved in internal medicine as well as allergists and clinical immunologists while discussing new pathways that will prove important in the near future.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology
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