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Natural medicine researchers to speak at international conference


Zoe Satherley
12 March 2009
A Southern Cross University study into a seaweed extract has found that it has a positive effect on the immune system and reduces inflammation markers in the body.

The research, by a group led by Professor Stephen Myers, director of the Southern Cross University NatMed research centre, will be presented at the International Evidence-based Complementary Medicine Conference in Armidale on March 13 - 15.

This international conference will highlight the recent developments in the evidence supporting the use of complementary medicine and its relevance to clinical practice and patient health outcomes.

Leading national and international clinicians and research scientists, and a variety of health care professionals will be in attendance. The conference will focus on herbal and nutritional therapies.

In Professor Myers’ study, a formulation containing a blend of extracts from three different species of seaweed (brown algae) plus nutrients was tested to determine both acute safety and immune modulating effects.

The study found the seaweed extract primed the immune system in a beneficial way. Professor Myers said that ‘these are exciting preliminary findings and warrant a more extensive study to validate this activity’.

“The seaweed extract is an exciting natural product produced by Marinova, an Australian biotech company based in Tasmania which specialises in developing medicinal products from marine algae,” Professor Myers said.

Professor Myers’ presentation will be one of six given by Southern Cross University natural medicine researchers at the conference.

Other staff presentations will include:

• The elusive identity of Virginia skullcap - an authentication case study: Hans Wohlmuth;

• The regulatory role of omega 3 fatty acids in stress and mental health: Joanne Bradbury;

• Research in naturopathy: the bridge between statistics and the individual: Tini Gruner;

• Trends in knowledge production within western herbal medicine: Sue Evans.

Honours student Chris Jenkins will present a poster on his honours thesis, Herbal Medicines Prepared by Traditional and Contemporary Methods - a Comparative Study.

The conference will be held at the University of New England from March 13 to 15, 2009.

Photo: Professor Stephen Myers, who will present his research findings on seaweed at the Evidence-based Complementary Medicine Conference.