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Conference to examine nutritional supplements, medicinal herbs for managing health problems

CHAPEL HILL -- Doctors, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants and pharmacists who need to understand the origins and effects of herbal and nutritional supplements will make up the audience March 24-26 as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosts a national conference on those subjects.

The second annual "Clinical Relevance of Medicinal Herbs and Nutritional Supplements in the Management of Major Medical Problems" meeting will be held at the William & Ida Friday Continuing Education Center and include speakers in demand throughout the United States.

"This evidence-based conference will look at how various diseases and conditions prevalent in our society are treated with herbs and supplements," said Dr. Susan Gaylord, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the UNC-CH School of Medicine, who helped organize the event. "It will feature well-known M.D.s as well as naturopathic physicians who will talk about how experienced practitioners use these herbs in ways that are safe and hopefully effective. Following presentations on herbal and dietary treatments, responses from expert practitioners in conventional medicine will create an opportunity for dialogue."

Organizers are not advocating herbal and other therapies as alternatives to mainstream medicine, Gaylord said, but want to inform health providers about them. About 80 percent of the world's population still use herbal medicine as its chief source of medical treatment. Increasing numbers of U.S. residents take them as well.

"The latest data show that about 40 percent of Americans are now using one or more alternative therapies, and in 1993 North Carolina doctors were permitted to offer them -- as long as they were not shown to be harmful -- without risk of censure or losing their licenses," she said.

The event will complement a UNC-CH conference held three weeks earlier on scientific studies about the safety and effectiveness of medicinal herbs, Gaylord
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Contact: David Williamson
david_williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
20-Mar-2000


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