Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Complementary & alternative medicine use

13.01.2005


Steady five-year prevalence points to need for more rigorous evaluation



In a comparison of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by adults in 1997 and 2002, researchers from Harvard Medical School found more than one in three U.S. adults (36.5 and 35.0 percent, respectively) used at least one form of CAM.

The continued widespread use of individual and multiple CAM therapies underscores the need to rigorously evaluate the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of these approaches, according to the study’s lead author Hilary Tindle, Harvard Medical School (HMS) research fellow, and co-author David Eisenberg, director of the Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies and the Osher Institute at HMS.


The study results appear in the January/February issue of the medical journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

The study compared results of the National Health Interview Survey in 2002 and a survey conducted by researchers at HMS (Eisenberg et al.) in 1997. The two surveys were similar but not identical. Prior to this study, there had been no head-to-head comparison using a common definition of CAM.

"Our research over the past 14 years has shown a consistent level of usage by adult Americans," said Dr. Eisenberg. "While there have been a few notable changes in which CAM therapies people are using, the overall number of adults employing some type of CAM has remained remarkably consistent since we began our surveys in 1990. This says to us that these therapies are part of the fabric of modern day health care, and that we need to do more research on their safety and effectiveness - just as we would with any other therapeutic options," concludes Eisenberg.

Over the five-year period between the two most recent surveys, the total number of Americans using any CAM therapy remained fairly stable at 72 million. However, there were changes in the choice of CAM therapies used.

The largest change was a 50 percent jump in the use of herbal supplements, growing over the five years from 12.1 percent of adults reporting usage in 1997 to 18.6 percent -- or 38 million adults -- in 2002. The practice of yoga increased 40 percent over the same period, growing from 3.7 percent in 1997 to 5.1 percent-- over 10 million adults-- in 2002.

Use of CAM therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, energy healing, and hypnosis remained essentially unchanged between 1997 and 2002, while the use of homeopathy, high-dose vitamins, chiropractic, and massage therapy declined slightly. Since many CAM therapies are paid out-of-pocket by consumers, the authors suggest that some of these declines may be due, at least in part, to a downturn in the U.S. economy from 1997 to 2002.

The ways in which several CAM therapies are used also appear to have changed. For example, only 5 percent of people who used herbs saw a practitioner of herbal medicine in 2002, compared to 15 percent in 1997. "Such changes are important considering that other research has shown that 60 to 70 percent of patients who use CAM therapies do not disclose it to their physician," says lead author Dr. Tindle. "This is especially critical as more becomes known about the adverse effects associated with individual dietary supplements as well as their interactions with prescription drugs".

Despite variability seen in previously published reports about overall CAM use, the authors conclude the use of CAM by one third of U.S. adults from 1997 to 2002 appears to have been steady, reconfirming results from the first national survey in 1990.

Judith Montminy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hms.harvard.edu
http://www.alternative-therapies.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Reptile vocalization is surprisingly flexible

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

EU research project DEMETER strives for innovation in enzyme production technology

30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>