Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Chinese medicine may aid Tourette's patients

BAD SIDE EFFECTS A practitioner said that Western medicine usually tries to `besiege, tranquilize and obstruct' the symptoms, but this can lead to even more complications

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Traditional Chinese medicine may be effective in relieving the symptoms of a neurological illness that first becomes apparent during a person's teenage years, a physician said yesterday at a conference on Chinese medicine.

Tourette's Syndrome, is a neuropsychiatric disease. Patients suffer from various uncontrollable physical activities or abnormal vocalizations such as nonstop blinking, shaking of the head and cursing.

Some patients with serious symptoms are prone to hurting themselves, and may bang their heads against walls. In extreme cases, they can commit suicide.

According to the president of the Taiwan Tourette's Family Association Wang Hui-hsiung (王輝雄), the illness occurs in about one out of every 200 people.

Wang, who is also a children's neurologist at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, added at the conference that the illness was more prevalent among boys than girls.

It is considered incurable with Western medicine as the syndrome can easily recur after disappearing for several months, the association said. Moreover, Western science is at a loss to explain the origins of the disease, it said.

However, Chinese medical practitioner Lin Pao-hua (林寶華) told attendees that traditional Chinese medicine can be effective in treating patients.

Lin said Western medicine usually tries to "besiege, tranquilize and obstruct" the symptoms, but this can lead to more complications such as depression.

Lin, who has treated 335 Tourette's patients in his clinic, said the illness is similar to jingfeng (驚風) disease described in Chinese medicine.

The syndrome manifests dry () and heat () symptoms, said Lin, using the language of Chinese medicine.

He added that Chinese medicine prescriptions used to smooth the blood circulation may be given to patients. Restoratives such as ginseng, on the other hand, may worsen patients' symptoms, he said while showing video clips of his patients.

"Traditional Chinese medicine is made of plants, minerals and animals and thus is more natural. The medicine can be better absorbed by patients with neurological illnesses," Lin said.

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