Farewell to the leading East-West integrator: Prof Man Fong Mei

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Professor Man Fong Mei, 67 – also known as Benny Mei to his friends – who died from sudden heart failure on January 8th 2014. Founder of world-renowned Chinese medicine clinic Acumedic, a practitioner, enthusiastic teacher and larger-than-life personality, Prof Mei was a pioneer of Chinese medicine in the UK. He was also instrumental in cementing East/West relationships. His work was imbued with unrestrained passion and positivity and he leaves behind an extensive legacy. From the largest Chinese medicine clinic (Acumedic) in London, to contributions to the world’s first disposable acupuncture needles, micro-processor electro acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) apparatuses, dozens of published papers, to his chairmanship of the Chinese Medicine Council and the Chinese Medical Institute and Register (CMIR), and an extensive poetic repertoire, Benny Mei will be sadly missed and long remembered. There will be a celebration of his life on Saturday 1st February 2014 at the Acumedic clinic where his son, Don, will speak more about this extraordinary and highly respected man – as well as the legacy he leaves behind. We look forward to attending and paying our respects.

FDA guidance differentiates liquid dietary supplements from beverages

Two documents entitled Distinguishing Liquid Dietary Supplements From Beverages and Considerations Regarding Substances Added to Foods, Including Beverages and Dietary Supplements have been released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an attempt to clear up supposed confusion regarding the classification of liquids. Whether the liquid is classified as a beverage or a dietary supplement will depend on whether the ingredients are GRAS (generally recognised as safe) or approved as food additives. However, confusion is likely to persist, given the existence of additives that aren’t listed and others that don’t fall into either category!

China FDA cracks down on imports of dietary supplements

Chinese regulators are cracking down on the importation of dietary supplements, and in the process are forcing some firms to stop importing US supplements. The US-China Health Products Association (USCHPA) is keen for the Chinese Food and Drugs Administration (CFDA) to adopt a notification process for supplements that is similar to the USA's Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. China's existing regulations and laws do not recognise dietary supplements. The draft proposal has not been officially released and remains under consideration. Cara Welch, PhD, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs with the Natural Products Association (NPA), said “The U.S. government is definitely having active conversations with CFDA whenever possible to make sure trade barriers are appropriate and not unduly difficult.”

Australia set to warn athletes off food supplements

Athletics Australia (AA) is advising Australian athletes to avoid using food supplements – unless they have a specific nutritional deficiency (and let’s remember, there’s a plethora of different views on what constitutes a deficiency for an individual, whether an elite athlete or a cancer patient). Athletics Australia argues that food supplements cannot be trusted and offer little benefit – a view criticised in Europe. Athletes under the age of 18 have been warned off supplements altogether. Outside Australia, athletes have to pass through a testing programme to ensure quality control, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) advises cautionary use of food supplements, but doesn’t flat-out advise against them.

Chinese herbal medicine slows the development of type 2 diabetes, study claims

A new study that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) shows that a mixture of 10 herbs called Tianqi shows real promise for slowing the development of type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetic patients face the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of stroke. The results of this study show that the synergistic effect of this mixture of herbs is comparable to that of current diabetic prescription drugs. One of the lead authors, Dr Xiaolin Tong, said “More research is needed to evaluate the role Chinese herbal medicine can play in preventing and controlling diabetes.” Let alone all the other things that have contributed to making TCM a thriving, continuously evolving healthcare tradition that's over 4,000 years old.

Legal experts reject food industry claims that GMO labelling laws are unconstitutional

In the persistent challenge to ensure US consumers win the right to know what’s in their food, a leaked document shows the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is threatening to sue the first state that passes a GMO labelling law. The food industry is desperate for state lawmakers to reject GMO labelling bills, and the document claims that GMO labelling laws are unconstitutional. Even though experts say these claims are legally baseless, the threats of long and costly court battles are bound to have an effect on the lawmakers’ decisions. The document also contains talking points that cover previously disproven claims that genetic engineering improves crop yields by increasing resistance to plant diseases and pests, and that it uses less water.

US medical board investigation leads to arrest of pH Miracle author, Robert Young, for the unlicensed practice of medicine

Following an undercover investigation, Robert Oldham Young, author of “The pH Miracle”, has been arrested on his avocado ranch in Valley Centre, California. The Medical Board’s Operation Safe Medicine Unit and San Diego law enforcement arrested Young on the grounds of unlicensed medical practice and multiple counts of grand theft. Young is pleading not guilty to charges of theft and practising medicine without a license.


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