Docs should know about kids and alternative medicine

Doctors and parents should talk about kids

In the United States, a recent survey found that one in nine children had used alternative therapies to treat a health condition. Vohra says parents’ own beliefs about and reliance on CAM therapies is a major factor behind its use in children, as is parents’ desire to provide their children with every possible health option. “For most parents, their number one priority is the health of their children so they’re interested in exploring all options to promote their children’s health,” says Vohra. “Many parents consider all products that are available and seek out not only conventional health care but also complementary health care.” TIME.com: Study: Some benefits of probiotics for kids With CAM being used by so many children, however, she and her colleagues say it’s time for pediatricians to do a better job of discussing the safety and efficacy of the therapies with parents. “Given the rates of use, we would like to encourage all health care providers to ask about complementary therapies and we encourage all parents to tell,” says Vohra. “In many cases, it’s not discussed because parents think doctors won’t support them, but it’s far better to have an open discussion.” Such discussions can avoid potentially harmful interactions between conventional medicines and herbal remedies, for example, or other incompatibilities that can worsen, rather than improve, symptoms.
Read full article here: Docs should know about kids and alternative medicine

Paul Offit Takes On Alternative Medicine

Americans also have reason to feel suspicious of a pharmaceutical industry that “often pushes on us drugs that are of marginal efficacy and convinces us that we need to use them,” he says, but adds that so-called natural supplements rely on some of the same manufacturers. To those who rebuke the pharmaceutical industry in defense of natural supplements, Offit asks: “Who do they think makes these products? Elves and old hippies?” [Read: Seeking the Fountain of Youth? Look No Further .] According to Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, “Much of the widespread appeal of complementary or alternative health approaches is driven by mainstream medicine not effectively addressing patients’ needs particularly for symptom management cure for epididymitis and promotion of health and wellness . Mainstream medicine will benefit by paying attention, learning and integrating selectively.” Commenting on Offit’s book, Briggs writes in an e-mail that he “makes many important points in his book, most strongly, the need for research into complementary approaches that are widely used by the American public to help inform their decision-making. In fact, most of the research we’ve funded on widely-used dietary supplements failed to demonstrate the expected benefit.” Still, many of the alternative therapies “hold promise,” she says.
Read full article here: Paul Offit Takes On Alternative Medicine

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