An innovative approach to reducing medical care utilization and expenditures.
In a retrospective study, we assessed the impact on medical utilization and expenditures of a multicomponent prevention program, the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH). We compared archival data from Blue Cross/Blue Shield Iowa for MVAH (n = 693) with statewide norms for 1985 through 1995 (n = 600,000) and with a demographically matched control group (n = 4,148) for 1990, 1991, 1994, and 1995. We found that the 4-year total medical expenditures per person in the MVAH group were 59% and 57% lower than those in the norm and control groups, respectively; the 11-year mean was 63% lower than the norm. The MVAH group had lower utilization and expenditures across all age groups and for all disease categories. Hospital admission rates in the control group were 11.4 times higher than those in the MVAH group for cardiovascular disease, 3.3 times higher for cancer, and 6.7 times higher for mental health and substance abuse. The greatest savings were seen among MVAH patients older than age 45, who had 88% fewer total patients days compared with control patients. Our results confirm previous research supporting the effectiveness of MVAH for preventing disease. Our evaluation suggests that MVAH can be safely used as a cost-effective treatment regimen in the managed care setting. (+info)
Lead induced anaemia due to traditional Indian medicine: a case report.
Lead intoxication in adults without occupational exposure is a rare and unexpected event. The case of a western European is reported who had severe anaemia after ingestion of several ayurvedic drugs, obtained during a trip to India. Laboratory findings showed high blood lead concentrations, an increased urinary lead concentration, and an increased urinary excretion of delta-aminolaevulinic acid. Also, slightly increased urinary concentrations of arsenic and silver were found. Physicians should be aware that with growing international travel and rising self medication with drugs from uncontrolled sources the risk of drug induced poisoning could increase in the future. (+info)
Ancient-modern concordance in Ayurvedic plants: some examples.
Ayurveda is the ancient (before 2500 b.c.) Indian system of health care and longevity. It involves a holistic view of man, his health, and illness. Ayurvedic treatment of a disease consists of salubrious use of drugs, diets, and certain practices. Medicinal preparations are invariably complex mixtures, based mostly on plant products. Around 1,250 plants are currently used in various Ayurvedic preparations. Many Indian medicinal plants have come under scientific scrutiny since the middle of the nineteenth century, although in a sporadic fashion. The first significant contribution from Ayurvedic materia medica came with the isolation of the hypertensive alkaloid from the sarpagandha plant (Rouwolfia serpentina), valued in Ayurveda for the treatment of hypertension, insomnia, and insanity. This was the first important ancient-modern concordance in Ayurvedic plants. With the gradual coming of age of chemistry and biology, disciplines central to the study of biologic activities of natural products, many Ayurvedic plants have been reinvestigated. Our work on Commiphora wightti gum-resin, valued in Ayurveda for correcting lipid disorders, has been described in some detail; based on these investigations, a modern antihyperlipoproteinemic drug is on the market in India and some other countries. There has also been concordance for a few other Ayurvedic crude drugs such as Asparagus racemosus, Cedrus deodara, and Psoralea corylifolia. (+info)
Terminalia arjuna is a deciduous tree found throughout India growing to a height of 60-90 feet. The thick, white-to-pinkish-gray bark has been used in India's native Ayurvedic medicine for over three centuries, primarily as a cardiac tonic. Clinical evaluation of this botanical medicine indicates it can be of benefit in the treatment of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and possibly hypercholesterolemia. It has also been found to be antibacterial and antimutagenic. Terminalia's active constituents include tannins, triterpenoid saponins (arjunic acid, arjunolic acid, arjungenin, arjunglycosides), flavonoids (arjunone, arjunolone, luteolin), gallic acid, ellagic acid, oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), phytosterols, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper. (+info)
Conceptual and methodologic challenges of assessing the short-term efficacy of Guggulu in obesity: data emergent from a naturalistic clinical trial.
An open comparative trial was conducted in 58 adult obese patients (Body Mass Index > or = 25 kg/square metre). Group I (n = 27), non-drug, was advised diet (1200-1600 cals) and a brisk walk for 30 minutes. Group II, in addition, received Guggulu (Medohar) 1.5-3 gms/day for 30 days. Mean difference in weight loss between Guggulu and non-drug group was 0.32 kg (ns) on day 15 and 0.58 kg on day 30 (ns). The mean weight reduction in patients (> 90 kgs) was 1.92 kg (ns) and 2.25 kg (ns) higher in Guggulu group. All patients weighing > 90 kg lost weight in Guggulu group whilst 3 in non-drug group did not lose weight. Guggulu was tolerated well. The data from this pilot study suggest a synergistic diet-Guggulu interaction over 30 days in patients weighing > 90 kgs which needs to be confirmed in a large placebo controlled study. (+info)
Effect of oral administration of Terminalia chebula on gastric emptying: an experimental study.
Terminalia chebula is a commonly advocated agent in Ayurveda for improving gastrointestinal motility. Charles Foster rats (150-200 gms of either sex) were divided into four groups as follows--Group 1 (n = 15) normal animals; Group II (n = 6) rats administered metoclopramide (1.35 mg/kg); Group III (n = 8) rats given atropine (0.45 mg/kg). These agents were injected intramuscularly, 30 mins before the experiment. Rats from Group IV (n = 8) were administered Terminalia chebula (100 mg/kg/day for 15 days orally). Metoclopramide and atropine have established prokinetic and antikinetic activities respectively and are therefore included for comparison. All rats were then given a test meal of methyl cellulose (1.5%) mixed with phenol red (50 mg/100 ml) orally and gastric emptying was measured 20 mins later. Gastric emptying of normal rats (Group I) was found to be 51.6 +/- 7.79%. Metoclopramide significantly increased the gastric emptying (76.33 +/- 12.37%; p < 0.01) and atropine inhibited the motility (% gastric emptying being 7.26 +/- 19.76%; p < 0.01). Terminalia chebula was found to increase the percent gastric emptying (86.57 +/- 6.65%; p < 0.01). Thus from this study it appears that Terminalia chebula can serve as an useful alternative to prokinetic drugs available today. (+info)
Improvements in chronic diseases with a comprehensive natural medicine approach: a review and case series.
Approximately 40% of the US population report using complementary and alternative medicine, including Maharishi Vedic Medicine (MVM), a traditional, comprehensive system of natural medicine, for relief from chronic and other disorders. Although many reports suggest health benefits from individual MVM techniques, reports on integrated holistic approaches are rare. This case series, designed to investigate the effectiveness of an integrated, multimodality MVM program in an ideal clinical setting, describes the outcomes in four patients: one with sarcoidosis; one with Parkinson's disease; a third with renal hypertension; and a fourth with diabetes/essential hypertension/anxiety disorder. Standard symptom reports and objective markers of disease were evaluated before, during, and after the treatment period. Results suggested substantial improvements as indicated by reductions in major signs, symptoms, and use of conventional medications in the four patients during the 3-week in-residence treatment phase and continuing through the home follow-up program. (+info)
Cultural and biomedical meanings of the complaint of leukorrhea in South Asian women.
Among women in South Asia, the complaint of vaginal discharge (often called leukorrhea) is extraordinarily common. From a biomedical perspective, this symptom suggests that reproductive tract infection (RTI) is prevalent in the subcontinent; however, several recent studies provide evidence that the prevalence of RTI is relatively low. Women who do not have RTI frequently report the symptom of vaginal discharge. An anthropological perspective on the cultural meanings of leukorrhea can shed light on this puzzling phenomenon. According to Ayurvedic concepts of health and illness, genital secretions are considered a highly purified form of dhatu, or bodily substance, and loss of this precious substance is thought to result in progressive weakness or even death. Many South Asian women who complain of vaginal discharge also report a variety of somatic symptoms such as dizziness, backache and weakness. The link between unexplained gynaecological symptoms and mental health concerns has been explored by both psychiatrists and anthropologists in South Asia. Leukorrhea may represent a culturally shaped "bodily idiom of distress", in which concerns about loss of genital secretions reflect wider issues of social stress. Problems may arise when a symptom with deep cultural meaning is interpreted in a purely biomedical framework. In the syndromic approach to the treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), health workers are trained to treat women presumptively based on history and a risk assessment, but without clinical or laboratory confirmation of infection. A recent evaluation of this approach demonstrates that many women who complain of vaginal discharge do not have RTI, and are inappropriately treated with antibiotics. It seems likely that women are over-reporting vaginal discharge because of its deep cultural meanings, meanings that need to be understood within an anthropological rather than biomedical framework. (+info)