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Release: Immediate

UI offers public lecture on alternative/complementary medicine

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More and more people are opting to use alternative and complementary medicine, such as herbal therapy, acupuncture, healing touch, chiropractic, massage therapy, homeopathy and hypnosis. Now local residents have an opportunity to learn more about a new approach as it applies to women's health at a University of Iowa lecture.

The public is invited to attend a UI College of Medicine lecture starting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14 in the Medical Alumni Auditorium, Room E-331 General Hospital, at the UI Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Dr. Susan Johnson, UI professor of obstetrics and gynecology, director of the UIHC menopause and PMS clinics, and associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Medicine, will give a talk on "Phytoestrogens," naturally occurring, estrogen-like compounds found in plants.

Johnson's talk is part of a new course for medical, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy and pharmacy students called Alternative and Complementary Medicine. While this will be the only class lecture open to the public this semester, course directors hope to expand the invitation to four sessions next year. Dr. Nicole Nisly, UI assistant professor of internal medicine, and

Teresa Klepser, Pharm.D., UI assistant professor of pharmacy, are directing the course.

The goal of the elective class is to introduce traditional health care students to alternative and complementary medicine -- including its history, scientific background and practical application. Nisly and Klepser plan to structure the class around lectures, demonstrations and experimental sessions by alternative and complementary medicine practitioners, field trips to alternative and complementary medicine sites, self-directed learning with research paper presentations and case discussion. There are 12 students enrolled in the class.

The use of alternative and complementary medicine is gaining legitimacy as a way to treat conditions and foster good health. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 40 percent of Americans use alternative medicine -- an increase of almost 50 percent from 1990. Expenditures for alternative medicine also increased by 45 percent in 1997 to an estimated $27 billion.

It is not just patients who are choosing to look more at other treatments. Traditional medical practices are beginning to incorporate alternative therapies. UIHC's Family Care Center, which opened in July 1998, offers a weekly Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clinic that Nisly directs. The clinic's participating physicians integrate traditional and alternative therapies into patients' medical treatment plans when appropriate.