ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
CANCER
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
EYE CARE, VISION
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Add your Article

38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments

Complementary and alternative medicine -- sometimes called CAM -- is an umbrella term for a collection of wide-ranging medical and health care systems, practices and products that aren't generally considered conventional medicine. It includes herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture.

The question about CAM use is really the same as that for conventional medicine -- is it safe and effective? For CAM, the answer has been mixed. Some remedies have been found to be safe and effective, some are safe and not effective, and others are unsafe.

"If you are going to use CAM, you should always let your conventional [health care] provider know about it," said survey co-author Richard L. Nahin, acting director of the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's division of extramural research.

For the survey, more than 23,300 adults were interviewed about their use of CAM, and, for the first time, more than 9,400 were asked about their children's use of CAM.

The survey found that use of CAM among adults remained about the same from 2002 to 2007, with 36 percent using alternative therapies in 2002 and 38 percent in 2007.

However, use of techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga increased significantly.

The most common supplements used by adults are fish oil/omega 3/DHA, glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil or pills, and ginseng. The most popular alternative techniques are deep breathing exercises, meditation, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage and yoga, the survey found.

Adults use CAM most often to treat pain, including back pain, neck pain or problems, joint pain, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

Nahin offered some advice for those looking at CAM for their health needs.

Do your homework first, he said. "It's a little bit 'buyer beware' in buying products and getting information," he added. "Be sure you get reliable information."

Most techniques, such as acupuncture, massage and yoga, are safe, he said. "But herbal supplements may interfere with conventional medications. So let your conventional doctor know, so they can be monitoring you for any unexpected events," he added.

Other findings from the survey showed that more women than men use CAM (42.8 percent versus 33.5 percent), as do older and more educated and wealthier adults, and those living in the west.

Among children, nearly one in nine uses CAM. And, children are five times more likely to use these therapies if a parent or relative uses them.

The most commonly used products by children are echinacea, fish oil/omega 3/DHA, combination herb pill, flaxseed oil or pills, and prebiotics or probiotics (foods containing supplements). A small number of children use chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, deep breathing exercises and yoga.

Therapies were most often used by children to treat back or neck pain, head or chest colds, anxiety or stress, musculoskeletal problems, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to the survey.

And CAM use to treat head or chest colds dropped from 9.5 percent in 2002 to 2 percent in 2007, according to the survey.

Mark Blumenthal is founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, an independent, nonprofit research group that says it's dedicated to helping people live healthier lives through the responsible use of herbs and medicinal plants. He said he views the use of CAM is a positive trend.

"People are using these products to enhance wellness," Blumenthal said. "The dietary supplement increase reflects consumer trends toward improving and increasing their sense of wellness and their own self-empowerment with respect to their health."

The increasing use of CAM among children is also positive, Blumenthal added. "Look at children's diets. We are seeing more childhood obesity, we are seeing people who want to give statins to children because of higher cholesterol -- I think that's deplorable," he said.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, said people turn to CAM to enhance vitality, and to relieve pain, discomfort or fatigue.

"The continued popularity of CAM highlights the importance of physicians being knowledgeable, because it is here that patients most need expert guidance," he said. "Doctors and patients alike should approach the many offerings of CAM with open-minded skepticism, to take advantage of what is likely to help, and be on guard against what may cause harm."

-Steven Reinberg

More information

To learn more about CAM, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.



SOURCES: Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., MPH, acting director, division of extramural research, U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and director, Integrative Medicine Center, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn.; Dec. 10, 2008, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007

Last Updated: Dec. 10, 2008

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Licensed by www.eholistic.com