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 World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>