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New Center for Integrative Health to focus on alternative medicine research, education

October 2002

The Health Science Center has opened the doors its new Center for Integrative Health. The center is the first in the area to focus on alternative medicine research and education.

Nearly half of all Americans now say they use herbal remedies like St. Johnís Wort, Ginseng and Ginkgo biloba. But because herbal substances donít require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, little is known about the possible side effects or drug interactions of the remedies.

"Traditionally, alternative therapy has not been a part of medical students' curriculum," said Roberto Villarreal, M.D., M.P.H., director of the center. "However, in recent years, the use of alternative medicines and therapies by the general population has become quite widespread. Doctors and patients need to be aware of how effective, non-effective or harmful some of these alternative medications or therapies can be."

Representatives from all five schools of the Health Science Center and local practitioners sit on the centerís advisory board. The general public can access free information in English and Spanish about complementary and alternative therapies from the center's Web site at http://cih.uthscsa.edu/heading.html.

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Updated 7/30/14