German Dystonia Patients Try CAM
In this study 180 members of the German Dystonia Society
completed a survey on their utilization and costs of complementary and
alternative medicine (CAM) for their condition. In total, 131 dystonia patients
(73%) were current or former users of CAM, 55 patients used CAM in addition to
botulinum toxin A injections and 86 patients had experience with three or more
CAM methods. The options used most widely were acupuncture (56%), relaxation
techniques (44%), homeopathy (27%) and massages (26%).
Among users of specific CAM methods, breathing therapy,
Feldenkrais, massages, and relaxation techniques were perceived as most
effective. On average, patients spent 1,513 euros on CAM without reimbursement.
There was no correlation between costs and perceived effectiveness of different
The authors note that, like other chronically ill individuals,
dystonia patients frequently utilize CAM methods, often in addition to
conventional treatment. There is a growing need to evaluate scientifically the
effect of CAM methods on symptom severity and quality of life in dystonia, to
prevent utilization of costly and ineffective CAM treatments.
Junker J, et al. Utilization and perceived effectiveness of
complementary and alternative medicine in patients with dystonia. Movement
Disorders: Official Journal of the Movement Disorder Society 19(2):158-61.
Inadequate Pain Control Drives
Peripheral Neuropathy Patients to CAM
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies have
become increasingly popular and are used regularly by patients with chronic
neurological disorders; however, the prevalence and characteristics of CAM use
by patients with peripheral neuropathy is unknown. The authors performed a
prospective, questionnaire-based study to determine the prevalence and patterns
of use of CAM therapies in 180 consecutive outpatients with peripheral
Seventy-seven patients (43%) with neuropathy reported using
CAM treatments. The most frequent were megavitamins (35%), magnets (30%),
acupuncture (30%), herbal remedies (22%) and chiropractic manipulation (21%); 37
(48%) tried more than one form of alternative treatment. Seventeen respondents
(27%) thought their neuropathy symptoms improved with these approaches.
The patients who used CAM were slightly younger and more often
college educated compared to CAM nonusers. They also more often reported burning
neuropathic pain. Patients with diabetic neuropathy used CAM more frequently
than others. The most common reason for using CAM was inadequate pain control
(32%). Almost half of patients did not consult a physician before starting CAM.
Brunelli B and Gorson KC. The use of complementary and
alternative medicines by patients with peripheral neuropathy. Journal of the
Neurological Sciences 218(1-2):59-66.
Case Study: Acupuncture Saves
Acupuncture was used to treat a 60-year old woman with
unexplained sweating associated with inoperable lung cancer that prevented her
from sharing a bed with her husband. Other measures failed to improve her
sweating, but she responded well to a course of acupuncture allowing her to
continue sharing the marital bed.
Hallam C and Whale C. Acupuncture for the treatment of
sweating associated with malignancy. Acupuncture in Medicine: Journal of the
British Medical Acupuncture Society 21(4):155-6.