Integrative Care
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Personalized Medicine Here Say Speakers at ECIM 2012

10 October, 2012 by David Finer

Personalized medicine has become a catchword for matching treatment to genetic and other biomarkers. But there is much more to it than that. It is also about providing real treatment choices, like they do in Tuscany, Italy.

In the region of Tuscany, people can choose their own combination of conventional and complementary medicine. Hence, the Congress venue is no accident, said Dr M Silvestri from the Regional Health Department, when the 5th European Congress on Integrative Medicine (ECIM) opened on Friday September 21st in Florence, Italy.

From ongoing tensions…
Of course, non-conventional medicine has not made equal headway elsewhere, and other speakers made reference to the ongoing tension between paradigms and processes across countries and cultures, the chief victims of which are of course, the so called end-users or patients.

The three-day Congress, attracting some 700 participants—e.g. researchers, physicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists— from 30 countries presenting some 500 scientific papers, is a historic first for ECIM, which has never before been held outside Germany.

I C is represented with presentations, posters and other forms of scientific input.

The theme of the Congress is ”The future of comprehensive patient care. Promoting health and developing integrated and sustainable treatment for acute and chronic diseases.”

…towards personalized medicine

Moving beyond the tensions between CAM and conventional medicine, the Dean of Florence University Faculty of Medicine, presented a vision for tomorrow’s health care system. In line with the 7th European Framework Programme, medicine needs to focus on four P’s: Predictive, Preventive, Personalised and Participatory, says Professor Gensini.

The 4P Medicine concept originates from the area of marketing. Professor Gensini explained that the application of the 4Ps is really about a renewed attention to narrative medicine and personalised treatments, elements that are also key aspects of integrative care.

Professor Gensini further stressed the importance that our health care systems get used to constant changes. We need to move from a focus on disease to a focus on individuals, from cultures of monoprofessionalism to cultures of multiprofessionalism and, from taxonomic approaches to problem- and process- based approaches.

Topics at the Congress
Central topics on the Congress programme are the effectiveness of complementary medicines and practices, their integration with orthodox medicine and the future development of integrative medicine.

Sub-topics of clinical relevance include integrative oncology, acute and chronic pain, mental disorders, atopic and allergic diseases, gender medicine, and paediatrics. Other subjects of interest are the integration of complementary medicine in the healthcare systems in Europe and the European regulation for herbal and homeopathic drugs.

For the first time, the exciting transdisplinary field of psychoneuroimmunology has been included as well as integrative veterinary medicine and wellness techniques/ practices.

I C will publish continuous updates from the congress during the coming days.

Ideal of humanization
One of the aims of ECIM 2012 is the creation of a network of researchers and physicians. A major objective is to develop a basis for future clinical and research guidelines, which is – as the organizers write in the program – an ambitious project considering ongoing differences within complementary medicine and communication difficulties with mainstream medicine.

While these differences lessen day by day, they still exist. ”Nevertheless, we firmly believe that this aim should be constantly pursued to achieve the therapeutic ideal of medical humanization in everyday clinical practice,” the organizers conclude.

David Finer & Johanna Hök

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