Dr. Cassandra Quave is prominent member of the teaching and research team at the Center for the Study of Human Health, provides information about all things ethonobotany on her personal website, co-creator of the bio-venture start up PhytoTEK, and most recently the recipient of a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine the potential for “Extract 134″, a compound from a European tree, to aid in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant staph.
Dr. Quave, a graduate from Emory College’s programs in biology and anthropology, represents a remarkable story of a young, female scientist who isn’t willing to let life’s obstacles prevent achievement. To learn more about her research and how she was inspired to pursue a career in ethnobotany, please see her recent profile in Emory’s eScience Commons: http://esciencecommons.blogspot.com/2012/08/her-patient-approach-to-health-tapping.html.
A new review article in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Drs. Cassandra Quave, Manuel Pardo de Santayana, and Andrea Pieroni explores the relevance of field studies concerning traditional health practices as they relate to new and emerging trends in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Europe. Click here to access the full open-access article.
Abstract from article: European folk medicine has a long and vibrant history, enriched with the various documented uses of local and imported plants and plant products that are often unique to specific cultures or environments. In this paper, we consider the medicoethnobotanical field studies conducted in Europe over the past two decades. We contend that these studies represent an important foundation for understanding local small-scale uses of CAM natural products and allow us to assess the potential for expansion of these into the global market. Moreover, we discuss how field studies of this nature can provide useful information to the allopathic medical community as they seek to reconcile existing and emerging CAM therapies with conventional biomedicine. This is of great importance not only for phytopharmacovigilance and managing risk of herb-drug interactions in mainstream patients that use CAM, but also for educating the medical community about ethnomedical systems and practices so that they can better serve growing migrant populations. Across Europe, the general status of this traditional medical knowledge is at risk due to acculturation trends and the urgency to document and conserve this knowledge is evident in the majority of the studies reviewed.
Dr. Cassandra Quave, CSHH Postdoctoral Fellow, has just completed a field study in NE Albania in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Pieroni, from the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy). The scope of the study was to investigate traditional health practices, including the use of wild plants for food and medicine, in several small Albanian and Gorani communities located in the Dinaric Alps near Mount Gjallica. Photos capturing the local agricultural, food, and health traditions can be accessed here on Dr. Quave’s website.
Mindfulness meditation practices have been shown effective for improving outcomes for cancer patients undergoing other aggressive medication-based treatments, and has recently been promoted as a method for controlling diet.
The concept is being researched at universities across the US, with Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Harvard nutritionist, promoting mindfulness eating as a way to provide relief from hectic schedules and a way to reconnect with food.
A description of mindfulness eating and current research is available through the New York Times.
A recent clinical trial led by Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, from the Emory University School of Nursing, found that mindfulness mediation improved the well being of many cancer patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
Cancer patients who participated in the study were visited by health care professionals (primarily nurses) trained in mindfulness meditation twice per week, in addition to receiving a CD on guided meditation to use both at the hospital and after returning home.
More information about the study and mindfulness meditation is available here.
This spring the Center for the Study of Human Health will be offering some exciting new courses to Emory Undergrads:
- HLTH 385-000: Botanical Medicine and Health
- HLTH 385-001: Food, Health and Society
- HLTH 385-002: Contemporary Nutrition
- HLTH 410: Predictive Health Challenges – Integrative Health
Visit the Emory Course Atlas for the full list of the Spring 2012 Human Health course offerings.