Healthcare-Associated Infections in Pennsylvania 2014 Report

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And unlike many modern drugs, the quality of the material that serves as the source of traditional medicines varies greatly, even within countries. This happens due to differences in the genetic material used or due to other factors such as environmental conditions, harvesting, transport and storage.

The dosage also varies

Modern medicine requires standardized dosages that vary only slightly depending on the weight of the patient or the severity of the disease. Instead, healers tend to offer their patients a single dose or a combination of medicines that is prepared in the course of the consultation itself based on the patient’s symptoms.

Thus, a negative evaluation can be the consequence of innumerable factors, from errors in the selection of the plant species, through contamination with toxic substances during storage, to an overdose. These situations do not necessarily indicate that medicine is an inappropriate candidate for modern drug development.

Culture shock

Similarly, if a traditional remedy fails the test of clinical efficacy by modern standards, it does not mean that it cannot work as a therapy. Homeopathy, for example, appears to work, despite hundreds of clinical trials suggesting that it has no biological effects.

  • Many scientists believe that a placebo effect is generated because homeopaths take much more time to listen to the patient than conventional doctors. [8]
  • However, although the placebo effect can certainly be beneficial, it would seem unethical to many to prescribe treatments lacking clinical efficacy to induce this benefit.

Another difficult issue is the combination of traditional medicines and modern drugs. The belief system that surrounds traditional medicine can sometimes interfere with modern treatments. In 2009, Kumanan Wilson of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues reviewed obstacles to malaria treatment in Africa in the journal BMC International Health and Human Rights. [9]

An estimated one million people die from malaria in Africa alone, more than 90 percent of them children under the age of five. Wilson’s team concluded that one of the main obstacles to effective malaria treatment was the reliance on traditional remedies and associated cultural beliefs, such as the idea that a child with seizures is possessed or bewitched and will die if treated. take to the hospital.

In many of the studies reviewed by the team, interviewees stated that traditional therapies such as herbal medicines were the first-line treatment, over modern drugs.

New techniques for old treatments

In the search for modern drugs, new scientific techniques are also applied to traditional medicine. These innovative approaches are developing at a dizzying pace. (See Table 3).
Technique

  • New techniques for old treatmentsProcess
  • reverse pharmacology

Researchers start from the final product, for example a compound with therapeutic properties, and undo the path to see what it contains and how it works, which can give clues about the activity of certain medicines and the places in the body where they act.
High Efficiency Monitoring

This advanced screening uses automated data processing and high-precision detectors to perform millions of biochemical, genetic or pharmacological tests in minutes. The process allows rapid identification of active compounds that affect particular biological targets.
Ethnopharmacology

  • Systematic study of the use of medicinal plants by specific ethnic groups.
  • systems biology

Comprehensive approach that seeks to understand how different chemical and metabolic processes interact in the body. Since traditional medicines usually have numerous active ingredients, it could be used to measure the response of the biological system to the mixture of compounds.