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Home > Newsletters > March 2004 >

Recent Research

German Dystonia Patients Try CAM Treatments

  Inadequate Pain Control Drives Peripheral Neuropathy
  Patients to CAM

Case Study: Acupuncture Saves Marriage?

German Dystonia Patients Try CAM Treatments

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 methods.

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 neuropathy.

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 Marriage?

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.

This Month's Articles

March 2004
Volume 2, Number 2

Preserve Your Health all Year Long

Acutonics: Integrating Sound Healing into Your Acupuncture Practice

An Open Letter to the Oriental Medicine Community

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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