More Integrative Medicine
More today about the use and possible value of integrative or complementary therapies. Have you noticed how things cluster? The most commonly given example is deciding to buy a new car and then suddenly seeing hundreds of that same model on the road. Yesterday, for me, was a day like that with the topic being CAM (complementary and alternative medicines). Every single woman with whom I met was either using several such therapies or interested in doing so. A new one for me was a Brazilian woman who asked what I knew about the value of aroma therapy (answer: nothing). Others were talking about acupuncture, Reiki, massage, and support groups. Everyone asked about diet, and I could only say that there is no data at all to suggest that any particular diet or food kills cancer cells, but that there is plenty of knowledge to suggest the importance of the usual healthy diet: meaning less red meat, more whole grains and fruits and vegetables. What about organic? The best answer I know to that question is that organic foods may be better for us, surely are not worse for us, but that each of us has to consider the additional expense vs the potential benefit. As an aside, a colleague told me yesterday that a neurologist had just told her to drink two cups of coffee daily, that there was increasing evidence that two cups (not one, not three) reduced the rate of dementia.
Anyway, all of that is background for this article from Medscape about the increasing use of integrative therapies. I give you the beginning and then a link:
Integrative Medicine Use Up, but Outcomes Still Uncertain
Daniel M. Keller, PhD
February 15, 2012 - In a survey of US medical centers using integrative medicine, 75% reported success using integrative practices to treat chronic pain, with more than half reporting positive results in the areas of gastrointestinal conditions, depression, anxiety, cancer, and chronic stress, according to a report released today by the Bravewell Collaborative.
The Bravewell Collaborative "support[s] the advancement of integrative medicine by creating and translating emerging knowledge into broad practice," according to its Web site. In the report, the collaborative defines integrative medicine as "an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person's health."
The survey, Integrative Medicine in America: How Integrative Medicine Is Being Practiced in Clinical Centers Across the United States, involved 29 integrative medicine centers (9 of them in the Bravewell Clinical Network) at many leading medical institutions, including the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio; Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; Stanford University in California; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. These institutions provided a range of services including adult, geriatric, adolescent, obstetric-gynecologic, pediatric, and end-of-life care. The most frequently prescribed interventions, often in combination, were food and nutrition, supplements, yoga, meditation, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture, massage, and pharmaceuticals.
Report coauthor Constance Pechura, PhD, senior advisor at the Bravewell Collaborative, said, during a telephone briefing on the release of the report that 29 centers were chosen from about 60 candidate integrative medicine centers (about 50 of them in an integrative medicine academic consortium). Coauthor Donald Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine and a consultant at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said the 29 centers were chosen based on their leadership, having been in operation for more than 3 years, having a significant patient volume, and having "contributed to the field." He told Medscape Medical News during the telephone briefing that, "[i]n fact, we were looking at some of the best centers, but I do think it's probably generalizable to certainly other centers in the academic consortium."