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1.  Linguistic Processing and Classification of Semi Structured Bibliographic Data on Complementary Medicine 
Cancer Informatics  2009;7:159-169.
Complementary and alternative therapies and medicines (CAM) such as acupuncture or mistletoe treatment are much asked for by cancer patients. With a growing interest in such therapies, physicians need a simple tool with which to get an overview of the scientific publications on CAM, particularly those that are not listed in common bibliographic databases like MEDLINE. CAMbase is an XML-based bibliographical database on CAM which serves to address this need. A custom front end search engine performs semantic analysis of textual input enabling users to quickly find information relevant to the search queries. This article describes the technical background and the architecture behind CAMbase, a free online database on CAM (www.cambase.de). We give examples on its use, describe the underlying algorithms and present recent statistics for search terms related to complementary therapies in oncology.
PMCID: PMC2730176  PMID: 19718447
cancer; complementary medicine; database; semantic web; literature
2.  How to locate and appraise qualitative research in complementary and alternative medicine 
Background
The aim of this publication is to present a case study of how to locate and appraise qualitative studies for the conduct of a meta-ethnography in the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is commonly associated with individualized medicine. However, one established scientific approach to the individual, qualitative research, thus far has been explicitly used very rarely. This article demonstrates a case example of how qualitative research in the field of CAM studies was identified and critically appraised.
Methods
Several search terms and techniques were tested for the identification and appraisal of qualitative CAM research in the conduct of a meta-ethnography. Sixty-seven electronic databases were searched for the identification of qualitative CAM trials, including CAM databases, nursing, nutrition, psychological, social, medical databases, the Cochrane Library and DIMDI.
Results
9578 citations were screened, 223 articles met the pre-specified inclusion criteria, 63 full text publications were reviewed, 38 articles were appraised qualitatively and 30 articles were included. The search began with PubMed, yielding 87% of the included publications of all databases with few additional relevant findings in the specific databases. CINHAL and DIMDI also revealed a high number of precise hits. Although CAMbase and CAM-QUEST® focus on CAM research only, almost no hits of qualitative trials were found there. Searching with broad text terms was the most effective search strategy in all databases.
Conclusions
This publication presents a case study on how to locate and appraise qualitative studies in the field of CAM. The example shows that the literature search for qualitative studies in the field of CAM is most effective when the search is begun in PubMed followed by CINHAL or DIMDI using broad text terms. Exclusive CAM databases delivered no additional findings to locate qualitative CAM studies.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-125
PMCID: PMC3778880  PMID: 23731997
CAM; Qualitative studies; Meta-Ethnography; Quality appraisal
3.  Use and Acceptance of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among the General Population and Medical Personnel: A Systematic Review 
The Ochsner Journal  2012;12(1):45-56.
Background
The interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased during the past decade and the attitude of the general public is mainly positive, but the debate about the clinical effectiveness of these therapies remains controversial among many medical professionals.
Methods
We conducted a systematic search of the existing literature utilizing different databases, including PubMed/Medline, PSYNDEX, and PsycLit, to research the use and acceptance of CAM among the general population and medical personnel. A special focus on CAM-referring literature was set by limiting the PubMed search to “Complementary Medicine” and adding two other search engines: CAMbase (www.cambase.de) and CAMRESEARCH (www.camresearch.net). These engines were used to reveal publications that at the time of the review were not indexed in PubMed.
Results
A total of 16 papers met the scope criteria. Prevalence rates of CAM in each of the included studies were between 5% and 74.8%. We found a higher utilization of homeopathy and acupuncture in German-speaking countries. Excluding any form of spiritual prayer, the data demonstrate that chiropractic manipulation, herbal medicine, massage, and homeopathy were the therapies most commonly used by the general population. We identified sex, age, and education as predictors of CAM utilization: More users were women, middle aged, and more educated. The ailments most often associated with CAM utilization included back pain or pathology, depression, insomnia, severe headache or migraine, and stomach or intestinal illnesses. Medical students were the most critical toward CAM. Compared to students of other professions (ie, nursing students: 44.7%, pharmacy students: 18.2%), medical students reported the least consultation with a CAM practitioner (10%).
Conclusions
The present data demonstrate an increase of CAM usage from 1990 through 2006 in all countries investigated. We found geographical differences, as well as differences between the general population and medical personnel.
PMCID: PMC3307506  PMID: 22438782
Alternative medicine; complementary medicine
4.  Using Basic Science to Develop an Innovative Program in Complementary and Alternative Medicine 
The growing interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and the increasing incorporation of its modalities in the United States' healthcare system have exposed a number of problems in the field. These include a shortage of qualified CAM providers, scarcity of evidence-based research, lack of trained scientists in the field, and the ubiquitous marketing of frequently uncontrolled CAM products. Thus, the development of a comprehensive and scientifically sound educational infrastructure has become a crucial initial step in redirecting these adverse trends.
With support from the NIH-sponsored curricular CAM initiative, faculty from the department of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University developed a M.S. program in CAM in 2003. This unique, first of its kind, science-based graduate program offers a master's degree (MS) in physiology with an emphasis on CAM. The CAM-MS degree in physiology is designed to enable students to critically assess various CAM modalities, apply scientific rigor, and carry out evidence-based CAM research. The curriculum includes core science courses and CAM-related classes. Additionally, in order to emphasize the application of academic knowledge and further strengthen problem-solving skills, the students complete an eight-week summer practicum in a professional CAM-related environment.
Here, we report on our innovative and interdisciplinary CAM graduate program where creative teaching is implemented by basic scientists and enhanced by the application of their disciplines in tandem with the clinical expertise of CAM practitioners in the community. Thus, the faculty in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics is developing emerging cross disciplinary areas of study and interest in order to prepare new generations of future physicians, health professionals, educators, and researchers capable of objectively assessing the safety and efficacy of various CAM modalities, and introducing scientific rigor to much needed research into the various aspects of CAM therapies.
PMCID: PMC3019605  PMID: 21243105
Graduate education; Basic science; Complementary and Alternative Medicine
5.  Complementary and alternative medicine use by visitors to rural Japanese family medicine clinics: results from the international complementary and alternative medicine survey 
Background
There is growing interest in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) throughout the world, however previous research done in Japan has focused primarily on CAM use in major cities. The purpose of this study was to develop and distribute a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q) to assess the use of CAM among people who visit rural Japanese family medicine clinics.
Methods
Using a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q), a cross-sectional survey was conducted in three rural family medicine clinics. All patients and those accompanying patients who met inclusion criteria were eligible to participate. Data were entered into SPSS Statistics and analyzed for use by age, gender, and location.
Results
Of the 519 respondents who participated in the project, 415 participants reported CAM use in the past 12 months (80.0%). When prayer is excluded, the prevalence of CAM use drops to 77.3% in the past year, or 403 respondents. The most common forms of CAM used by respondents were pain relief pads (n = 170, 32.8%), herbal medicines/supplements (n = 167, 32.2%), and massage by self or family (n = 166, 32.0%). Female respondents, individuals with higher levels of education, and those with poorer overall health status were more likely to use CAM than respondents without these characteristics. Only 22.8% of CAM therapies used were reported to physicians by survey participants.
Conclusions
These data indicate that CAM use in rural Japan is common. The results are consistent with previous studies that show that Japanese individuals are more interested in forms of CAM such as pain relief pads and massage, than in mind-body forms of CAM like relaxation and meditation. Due to the high utilization of certain CAM practices, and given that most CAM users do not disclose their CAM use to their doctors, we conclude that physicians in rural Japan would benefit by asking about CAM use during patient interviews, and by familiarizing themselves with the potential benefits and risks of commonly used CAM modalities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-360) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-360
PMCID: PMC4192731  PMID: 25256591
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), Integrative medicine; Primary care, Family medicine; Japan, International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q)
6.  A systematic review of how homeopathy is represented in conventional and CAM peer reviewed journals 
Background
Growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the public sector is reflected in the scientific community by an increased number of research articles assessing its therapeutic effects. Some suggest that publication biases occur in mainstream medicine, and may also occur in CAM. Homeopathy is one of the most widespread and most controversial forms of CAM. The purpose of this study was to compare the representation of homeopathic clinical trials published in traditional science and CAM journals.
Methods
Literature searches were performed using Medline (PubMed), AMED and Embase computer databases. Search terms included "homeo-pathy, -path, and -pathic" and "clinical" and "trial". All articles published in English over the past 10 years were included. Our search yielded 251 articles overall, of which 46 systematically examined the efficacy of homeopathic treatment. We categorized the overall results of each paper as having either "positive" or "negative" outcomes depending upon the reported effects of homeopathy. We also examined and compared 15 meta-analyses and review articles on homeopathy to ensure our collection of clinical trials was reasonably comprehensive. These articles were found by inserting the term "review" instead of "clinical" and "trial".
Results
Forty-six peer-reviewed articles published in a total of 23 different journals were compared (26 in CAM journals and 20 in conventional journals). Of those in conventional journals, 69% reported negative findings compared to only 30% in CAM journals. Very few articles were found to be presented in a "negative" tone, and most were presented using "neutral" or unbiased language.
Conclusion
A considerable difference exists between the number of clinical trials showing positive results published in CAM journals compared with traditional journals. We found only 30% of those articles published in CAM journals presented negative findings, whereas over twice that amount were published in traditional journals. These results suggest a publication bias against homeopathy exists in mainstream journals. Conversely, the same type of publication bias does not appear to exist between review and meta-analysis articles published in the two types of journals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-12
PMCID: PMC1177924  PMID: 15955254
7.  Attitudes Toward Antiretroviral Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Chinese HIV-Infected Patients 
HIV has become a significant health issue in China, and an increasing number of HIV-infected individuals are in need of care. Current reports confirm more than 230,000 cases of HIV infection and estimate that approximately 700,000 people are now infected with HIV, although approximately 70% of these individuals do not realize they are infected (Gill & Okie, 2007).
China's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, Four Frees and One Care, began in 2003, and ART treatment is now widely available in China (Zhang et al., 2007). Under this program, the following services are available to eligible citizens: (a) free ART for all AIDS patients in financial difficulty, (b) free schooling for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS patients, (c) free counseling and prevention measures to prevent mother-to-child-transmission for HIV-infected pregnant women, and (d) free HIV antibody testing and counseling, provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). “One Care” means providing care to AIDS patients and their families (Zhang, Pan, Yu, Wen, & Zhao, 2005). Prior to 2003, only a few people in China had access to ART, and clinical expertise in HIV medicine was limited to the major centers in a few eastern cities (Zhang et al., 2007). When ART is the dominant method of treatment, however, its use is complicated by the presence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which has remained a substitute and supplement for conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003), even after ART became available (Josephs, Fleishman, Gaist, & Gebo, 2007).
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Commonly, CAM includes a wide range of practices that do not fit within the dominant allopathic model of health care (Bishop, Yardley, & Lewith, 2007), including but not limited to herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, and diet-based therapies (Bratman & Steven, 1997). TCM has been used in Chinese society for more than 5,000 years. In the TCM approach, the body is recognized and treated as a whole entity, and diseases are identified as conditions caused by internal imbalances. The role of doctors is to identify imbalances and then correct them; the body is then expected to be able to heal itself (Tsao, Dobalian, Myers, & Zeltzer, 2005). The balancing factors of the yin and yang, or of the cold and hot forces, govern health and modulate some Chinese eating and pain management practices (Wong-Kim & Merighi, 2007). The integration of ART and CAM therefore has important implications in health outcomes, especially in China where the use of CAM is widespread.
Three types of treatment systems are practiced in Chinese society: (a) allopathic Western medicine offered by health care professionals in clinics and hospitals; (b) Buyao, which is over-the-counter popular medicine and includes teas, soups, tablets, herbal preparations, and tonics, which are similar to herb supplements used in some Western countries; and (c) TCM or Zhongyi, provided by trained Chinese herbalists, which incorporates a wide range of theories, therapies, and practices, some of which are medicinal, some physical, and some supernatural (Ma et al., 2008). Many Chinese people use all three types of treatment simultaneously.
In the West, the use of CAM is widespread among HIV-infected individuals. From 1980 to 1996, 27% to 100% of HIV-infected patients used CAM (Ernst, 1997), and the rates of CAM remained steady when compared with the era before highly active ART (Josephs et al., 2007). Some people living with HIV (PLWH) used CAM to replace the prescribed ART treatment regimen (Owen-Smith, Diclemente, & Wingood, 2007), while others used it as a complement to conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003).
A variety of factors influence an individual's decision to use CAM. In Western countries, women who were more educated and who had lived longer with HIV were more likely to use CAM (Owen-Smith et al., 2007). Pain was a strong predictor of CAM use, and increased pain over time was associated with the use of unlicensed or illicit underground drugs that held a potential for harm (Tsao et al., 2005). Overall, the most common source of information about CAM was from patients' friends (Wiwanitkit, 2003). Generally, CAM users perceived complementary therapies as useful, although there is no evidence to suggest that these treatments are particularly effective. CAM is generally perceived as “safe,” despite evidence of harmful interactions between some herbal medicines and medical treatments and the evidence of associated risks (Ma et al., 2007). Specifically, recent studies have shown that herbal medicines can interact with ART in such a way as to contribute to treatment failure (Ma et al., 2007). Physicians around the world, however, do not routinely discuss CAM therapies with PLWH, despite knowing that CAM therapies are widely used (Ma et al., 2008; Hsiao et al., 2003).
Studies have examined PLWH attitudes toward ART and CAM in different countries (Littlewood & Vanable, 2008). One study described nurses in Uganda using a traditional, nurse-prepared ointment on PLWH as an alternative medication for skin problems because they “know it works” (Hardon et al., 2008). CAM has also been used to treat the psychological and physical effects of illness and the side effects of ART (Kaufman & Gregory, 2007). Studies show, however, that many PLWH do not report CAM use to their medical providers (Hsiao et al., 2003). To date, there has been little research on CAM use in the Chinese PLWH population.
This qualitative study explored issues related to positive and negative attitudes toward both ART and CAM in Chinese PLWH in Beijing, China. The study was part of a larger project examining behavioral interventions meant to enhance ART adherence in PLWH in China (Chen et al., 2007; Starks et al., 2008). Semi-structured, in-depth, interviews were used to explore PLWHA attitudes, experiences, and perceptions about ART and CAM.
doi:10.1016/j.jana.2008.12.004
PMCID: PMC2684986  PMID: 19427598
8.  The utilisation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among ethnic minorities in South Korea 
Background
Race has been reported to affect the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but there is very little research on the use of CAM by ethnicity in Korea. This study explores the prevalence of CAM use among ethnic minorities in South Korea.
Methods
The design is a descriptive and cross-sectional study. A convenience sample of ethnic minorities was recruited from two public healthcare centres in Gyeonggi province. The survey instrument included 37 questions regarding CAM use, factors influencing use of CAM, self-health management, and the socio-demographic profile of study participants.
Results
Sixty-two percent of study participants reported the use of CAM. Multivitamins (53.3%), acupuncture (48.9%), and traditional Korean herbal medicine (38.9%) were popular CAM modalities in our sample. Other notable CAM modalities included herbal plants, therapeutic massage, and moxibustion therapy. The majority of CAM users (52.2%) received CAM services to treat diseases or as a secondary treatment while receiving conventional care. Having positive perceptions toward the effectiveness of CAM was a major determining factor in CAM use.
Conclusions
Physicians need to be aware of the fact that many ethnic minorities use CAM therapies. Many CAM users reported that they want doctors to know about their CAM use and have a basic understanding of traditional medicine in their home country. Overcoming language and cultural barriers will help reduce unwanted medical complications. High prevalence of CAM use among ethnic minorities in our study warrants further studies using larger sample population.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-103
PMCID: PMC3994841  PMID: 24641983
9.  Academic doctors' views of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and its role within the NHS: an exploratory qualitative study 
Background
There has been a marked increase in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the UK population in recent years. Surveys of doctors' perspectives on CAM have identified a variety of views and potential information needs. While these are useful for describing the proportions of doctors who hold particular attitudes towards CAM, they are less helpful for understanding why. In addition, while the views of non-academic doctors have begun to be studied, the perspective and rationales of academic doctors remains under-researched. It seems important to investigate the views of those with a research-orientation, given the emphasis on the need for more scientific evidence in recent debates on CAM.
Methods
This exploratory study used qualitative methods to explore academic doctors' views of CAM and the rationales they provided for their views. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to identify doctors with a dual clinical and academic role in the Bristol area, with an anticipated variety of views on CAM. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine doctors. The data were analysed thematically, drawing on the Framework Approach.
Results
The doctors expressed a spectrum of views on CAM, falling into three broad groups: the 'enthusiasts', the 'sceptics' and the 'undecided'. Scepticism or uncertainty about the value of CAM was prominent, except among those practising a form of CAM. A variety of rationales underpinned their perspectives on CAM, a key recurring rationale being their perspective on the scientific evidence base. The main themes arising included: the role of doctors' professional experiences of conventional medicine and CAM in shaping their attitudes towards CAM, doctor-patient communication about CAM and patient disclosure, whether there is a need for training and education in CAM for doctors, a hierarchy of acceptability of CAM and the nature of evidence; and the role of CAM within the NHS.
Conclusion
Despite the caution or scepticism towards CAM expressed by doctors in this study, more open doctor-patient communication about CAM may enable doctors' potential concerns about CAM to be addressed, or at least enhance their knowledge of what treatments or therapies their patients are using. Offering CAM to patients may serve to enhance patients' treatment choices and even increase doctors' fulfilment in their practice. However, given the recurring concerns about lack of scientific evidence expressed by the doctors in this study, perceptions of the evidence base may remain a significant barrier to greater integration of CAM within the NHS.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-17
PMCID: PMC1896178  PMID: 17537248
10.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine by people with cardiovascular disease: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:299.
Background
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may offer benefits as well as risks to people with cardiovascular disease. Understanding the prevalence and the nature of CAM use will encourage beneficial CAM therapies, prevent potential herb-drug interactions and foster communication between patients and physicians.
Methods
A systematic search of eight bibliographic databases was conducted for studies that investigated CAM use in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Two independent reviewers selected relevant abstracts and evaluated the quality of included studies.
Results
Twenty-seven studies were included. Prevalence of CAM use in cardiac patients ranged from 4% - 61%. Biologically-based therapies usage ranged from 22% to 68%. Herbal medicines were used by between 2% and 46%. A large proportion of patients did not inform medical practitioners about their CAM use and up to 90% of treating physicians did not discuss CAM use with their patients.
Conclusions
CAM use in patients with cardiovascular disease appears common. The findings suggest that the effects of CAM on medical management of cardiovascular disease may be overlooked and that patient-physician communication need to be strengthened.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-299
PMCID: PMC3444368  PMID: 22536991
11.  Self-Reported Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among the Health Care Consumers at a Tertiary Care Center in Ajman, United Arab Emirates 
Background:
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) covers a wide range of approaches, including herbal medicine, manual healing techniques, traditional therapies and mind-body interventions. CAM is widely used throughout the world to treat a variety of illnesses and to maintain health.
Aim:
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular across the world, and is widely practiced. Utilization pattern and reasons for use and non-use among patients attending a tertiary care center are assessed in this study.
Subjects and Methods:
One hundred and thirty-five patients of different nationalities, above the age of 18 years, Gulf Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Ajman, UAE, were interviewed using an open-ended structured questionnaire. In addition to socio-demographic characteristics, the acceptability, utilization pattern and reasons for use and non-use were elicited from the participants after obtaining consent from them. PASW 18 version was used to perform Chi-square test and descriptive statistics.
Results:
Among the 135 participants were 20-81 years old, those from the Far East used most 85.7% (6/7), then Pakistan 38.5% (15/39) and India 23% (16/70). The most common system used was homeopathy. Physicians advised 28.2% (11/39) of users, whereas others used non-medical information. Around 71.8% (28/39) reported good outcome for themselves and family; however, only 10% (4/39) recommended it to others. Most of the users, 75% (101/135), were not sure whether CAM was based on scientific evidence, while 18% (24/135) felt it was. Good previous experience and less treatment complications were the most common reasons for using CAM and non-use due to lack of knowledge or need.
Conclusion:
About one-third of the seekers of modern medicine care also use CAM, and mostly without physician advice; hence, the importance of discussing the same while taking the clinical history. In view of the belief that CAM has fewer side-effects, there is even more need for physician-initiated discussion.
doi:10.4103/2141-9248.113665
PMCID: PMC3728866  PMID: 23919193
Alternative medicine; Complimentary medicine; Health care consumers; Utilization pattern
12.  Complementary and alternative medicine utilization by a sample of infertile couples in Jordan for infertility treatment: clinics-based survey 
Background
Although there is little information available to quantify the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), growing evidence suggests that CAM prevalence among patients seeking infertility treatment is increasing worldwide. There are many products available on the market and many infertile patients demand information about CAM from their health care providers. This paper investigates the prevalence of CAM use among infertile couples in Jordan. Additionally, trends and factors contributing to CAM use for infertility treatment among these couples have been evaluated.
Methods
A face-to-face questionnaire inquiring demographic information, use of CAM for medical conditions, in general, and types of CAM used for infertility treatment, in specific, was completed by one thousand twenty one infertile patients attending at two types of facilities; in vitro Fertilization (IVF) centers at both public and private hospitals and infertility private clinics. Both types of facilities were distributed in different areas of Amman, the capital city of Jordan. The study was conducted between May and August 2012.
Results
Our results show that CAM therapies for infertility treatment were encountered in 44.7% of the study sample. The vast majority of CAM users were females. The most commonly used CAM therapies were herbs and spiritual healing. A clear correlation between the use of CAM for infertility versus the use of CAM for other chronic medical conditions has been found.
Conclusions
The prevalence of CAM use for infertility treatment in Jordan is relatively high, particularly among young females, well educated and with a low income, in consistence with the studies reported elsewhere. Herbs and spiritual healing are widely used among patients in adjunct to conventional medical interventions. As CAM use is prevalent among patients, there is a clear need for health providers to become more aware of this phenomenon and for further research in this field.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-35
PMCID: PMC3599001  PMID: 23414246
Complementary and alternative medicine; Infertility treatment
13.  Measurement Properties of Questionnaires Assessing Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Pediatrics: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39611.
Objective
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is commonly used by children, but estimates of that use vary widely partly due to the range of questionnaires used to assess CAM use. However, no studies have attempted to appraise measurement properties of these questionnaires. The aim of this systematic review was to critically appraise and summarize measurement properties of questionnaires of CAM use in pediatrics.
Study design
A search strategy was implemented in major electronic databases in March 2011 and conference websites, scientific journals and experts were consulted. Studies were included if they mentioned a questionnaire assessing the prevalence of CAM use in pediatrics. Members of the team independently rated the methodological quality of the studies (using the COSMIN checklist) and measurement properties of the questionnaires (using the Terwee and Cohen criteria).
Results
A total of 96 CAM questionnaires were found in 104 publications. The COSMIN checklist showed that no studies reported adequate methodological quality. The Terwee criteria showed that all included CAM questionnaires had indeterminate measurement properties. According to the Cohen score, none were considered to be a well-established assessment, two approached the level of a well-established assessment, seven were promising assessments and the remainder (n = 87) did not reach the score’s minimum standards.
Conclusion
None of the identified CAM questionnaires have been thoroughly validated. This systematic review highlights the need for proper validation of CAM questionnaires in pediatrics, which may in turn lead to improved research and knowledge translation about CAM in clinical practice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039611
PMCID: PMC3387262  PMID: 22768098
14.  Searching for Controlled Trials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Comparison of 15 Databases 
This project aims to assess the utility of bibliographic databases beyond the three major ones (MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane CENTRAL) for finding controlled trials of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Fifteen databases were searched to identify controlled clinical trials (CCTs) of CAM not also indexed in MEDLINE. Searches were conducted in May 2006 using the revised Cochrane highly sensitive search strategy (HSSS) and the PubMed CAM Subset. Yield of CAM trials per 100 records was determined, and databases were compared over a standardized period (2005). The Acudoc2 RCT, Acubriefs, Index to Chiropractic Literature (ICL) and Hom-Inform databases had the highest concentrations of non-MEDLINE records, with more than 100 non-MEDLINE records per 500. Other productive databases had ratios between 500 and 1500 records to 100 non-MEDLINE records—these were AMED, MANTIS, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Global Health and Alt HealthWatch. Five databases were found to be unproductive: AGRICOLA, CAIRSS, Datadiwan, Herb Research Foundation and IBIDS. Acudoc2 RCT yielded 100 CAM trials in the most recent 100 records screened. Acubriefs, AMED, Hom-Inform, MANTIS, PsycINFO and CINAHL had more than 25 CAM trials per 100 records screened. Global Health, ICL and Alt HealthWatch were below 25 in yield. There were 255 non-MEDLINE trials from eight databases in 2005, with only 10% indexed in more than one database. Yield varied greatly between databases; the most productive databases from both sampling methods were Acubriefs, Acudoc2 RCT, AMED and CINAHL. Low overlap between databases indicates comprehensive CAM literature searches will require multiple databases.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nep038
PMCID: PMC3137728  PMID: 19468052
15.  Prevalence and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine use among diabetic patients in Beirut, Lebanon: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) are increasingly using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies due to difficulty in adhering to the therapeutic regimens and lifestyle changes necessary for disease management. Little is known about the prevalence and mode of CAM use among patients with T2DM in Lebanon.
Objective
To assess the prevalence and modes of CAM use among patients with T2DM residing in Beirut, Lebanon.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey of T2DM patients was conducted on patients recruited from two major referral centers in Beirut- a public hospital and a private academic medical center. In a face-to-face interview, participants completed a questionnaire comprised of three sections: socio-demographic, diabetes characteristics and types and modes of CAM use. Descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were utilized to assess the prevalence and correlates of CAM use, as well as whether the use was complementary or alternative to mainstream medicine. The main outcome in this study, CAM use, was defined as using CAM at least once since diagnosis with T2DM.
Results
A total of 333 T2DM patients completed the survey (response rate: 94.6%). Prevalence of CAM use since diagnosis with the disease was 38%. After adjustment, CAM use was significantly associated with a “married” status, a longer duration of T2DM, the presence of disease complications, and a positive family history of the disease. Folk foods and herbs were the most commonly used CAM followed by natural health products. One in five patients used CAM as alternative to conventional treatment. Only 7% of CAM users disclosed the CAM use to their treating physician. Health care practitioners were the least cited (7%) as influencing the choice of CAM among users.
Conclusion
The use of CAM therapies among T2DM patients in Lebanon is prevalent. Decision makers and care providers must fully understand the potential risks and benefits of CAM therapies to appropriately advise their patients. Attention must be dedicated to educating T2DM patients on the importance of disclosing CAM use to their physicians especially patients with a family history of diabetes, and those who have had the disease for a long time.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-185
PMCID: PMC4074134  PMID: 24906634
Complementary and alternative medicine; Type-two diabetes mellitus; Prevalence; Patient safety; Integration; Policy; Lebanon
16.  Prevalence and determinants of complementary and alternative medicine use among infertile patients in Lebanon: a cross sectional study 
Background
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used for the treatment of infertility. While the Middle East and North Africa region has been shown to house one of the fastest growing markets of CAM products in the world, research describing the use of CAM therapies among Middle-Eastern infertile patients is minimal. The aim of this study is to examine the prevalence, characteristics and determinants of CAM use among infertile patients in Lebanon.
Methods
A cross sectional survey design was used to carry out face-to-face interviews with 213 consecutive patients attending the Assisted Reproductive Unit at a major academic medical center in Beirut. The questionnaire comprised three sections: socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, infertility-related aspects and information on CAM use. The main outcome measure was the use of CAM modalities for infertility treatment. Determinants of CAM use were assessed through the logistic regression method.
Results
Overall, 41% of interviewed patients reported using a CAM modality at least once for their infertility. There was a differential by gender in the most commonly used CAM therapies; where males mostly used functional foods (e.g. honey & nuts) (82.9%) while females mostly relied on spiritual healing/prayer (56.5%). Factors associated with CAM use were higher household income (OR: 0.305, 95% CI: 0.132–0.703) and sex, with females using less CAM than males (OR: 0.12, 95% CI: 0.051–0.278). The older patients were diagnosed with infertility, the lower the odds of CAM use (p for trend <0.05). Almost half of the participants (48%) were advised on CAM use by their friends, and only 13% reported CAM use to their physician.
Conclusions
The considerably high use of CAM modalities among Lebanese infertile patients, added to a poor CAM use disclosure to physicians, underscore the need to integrate CAM into the education and training of health professionals, as well as enhance infertile patients' awareness on safe use of CAM products.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-129
PMCID: PMC3512516  PMID: 22901284
Complementary and alternative medicine; Infertility; Lebanon
17.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine by women experiencing menopausal symptoms in Bologna 
BMC Women's Health  2010;10:7.
Background
The present study describes Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use amongst Italian women transitioning through menopause. Popularity and perceived effectiveness of CAM treatments, use of pharmaceutical medications, characteristics of CAM users, the extent of communication between medical practitioners and women about their use of CAM, and variables associated with CAM use were also investigated.
Methods
Women, aged 45-65 years attending Family Planning and Women's Health clinics or Menopause Centres in Bologna were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous, self administered questionnaire, which was used in a previous study in Sydney. The questionnaire was translated and adapted for use amongst Italian women. Data on general demographic and health characteristics, menopause related symptoms and the use of CAM and pharmaceutical treatments during the previous 12 months were collected.
Results
In total, 1,203 women completed the survey, of which 1,106 were included in the final sample. Of women who had symptoms linked with menopause and/or used remedies to alleviate symptoms, 33.5% reported to have used CAM. Among these, 23.5% had consulted one or more practitioners and 24% had used at least one CAM product.
Approximately nine out of ten respondents reported medical practitioners did not seek information about their use of CAM; while one third of CAM users did not disclose the use of CAM to their physician. Nevertheless, medical practitioners were the most popular source of information. From the multivariate analysis, variables associated with CAM use were: professional employment, time since the last natural menses, use of CAM for conditions other than menopause, and presence of some severe symptoms.
Conclusions
The relatively high prevalence of CAM use by women transitioning through menopause should encourage research initiatives into determining which CAM treatments are the safest and effective. The increasing and likely concomitant use of CAM with HRT and other pharmaceuticals underlines the need for the implementation of a surveillance system to report and monitor possible drug-herb adverse events. The discrepancy between women preferring to seek information about CAM from their medical doctor and the difficulties noted in communication between doctor and patient should encourage educational initiatives on CAM by health-care agencies and institutions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-10-7
PMCID: PMC2846842  PMID: 20187964
18.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Rheumatoid Arthritis: No Longer the Last Resort! 
HSS Journal  2009;6(1):108-111.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become popular with consumers worldwide and accounts for significant private and public health expenditures. According to earlier reports, the prevalence of CAM use by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in the United States is anywhere between 28% and 90%. Extensive use among RA patients and the limited knowledge among physicians had confirmed the need to evaluate the increasing prevalence of various CAM modalities. The primary aim of this study was to identify the incidence of CAM usage among our RA patients. Additionally, we aimed to correlate patient demographics and disease characteristics with the use of specific CAM modalities. An analysis of data extracted from our institution’s RA longitudinal registry was performed. The patients were asked to select from a list the modalities they were currently using and/or had used in the past. Of patients, 75.9% reported current or past use of CAM with >10% using 12 different modalities. Nutritional supplements and touch therapies were the most widely used overall, with mind–body therapies more prevalent among younger patients. CAM users were found to have more extra-articular manifestations and fewer comorbidities than non-CAM users. The use of CAM among RA patients is widespread with a broad spectrum of CAM modalities being used in early stages of the disease, frequently in conjunction with mainstream conventional treatments. Therefore, CAM may no longer be considered the rheumatoid patients’ last resort.
doi:10.1007/s11420-009-9133-8
PMCID: PMC2821492  PMID: 19784703
complementary and alternative medicine; CAM; alternative therapy; rheumatoid arthritis
19.  The use of complementary and alternative medicines among patients with locally advanced breast cancer – a descriptive study 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:39.
Background
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is common among cancer patients. This paper reviews the use of CAM in a series of patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC).
Methods
Women with LABC attending a specialist clinic at a single Canadian cancer centre were identified and approached. Participants completed a self-administered survey regarding CAM usage, beliefs associated with CAM usage, views of their risks of developing recurrent cancer and of dying of breast cancer. Responses were scored and compared between CAM users and non-users.
Results
Thirty-six patients were approached, 32 completed the questionnaire (response rate 89%). Forty-seven percent of LABC patients were identified as CAM users. CAM users were more likely to be younger, married, in a higher socioeconomic class and of Asian ethnicity than non-users. CAM users were likely to use multiple modalities simultaneously (median 4) with vitamins being the most popular (60%). Motivation for CAM therapy was described as, "assisting their body to heal" (75%), to 'boost the immune system' (56%) and to "give a feeling of control with respect to their treatment" (56%). CAM therapy was used concurrently with conventional treatment in 88% of cases, however, 12% of patients felt that CAM could replace their conventional therapy. Psychological evaluation suggests CAM users perceived their risk of dying of breast cancer was similar to that of the non-Cam group (33% vs. 35%), however the CAM group had less severe anxiety and depression.
Conclusion
The motivation, objectives and benefits of CAM therapy in a selected population of women with LABC are similar to those reported for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. CAM users display less anxiety and depression and are less likely to believe they will die of their breast cancer. However the actual benefit to overall and disease free survival has yet to be demonstrated, as well as the possible interactions with conventional therapy. Consequently more research is needed in this ever-growing field.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-39
PMCID: PMC1475605  PMID: 16504038
20.  Individualised medicine from the perspectives of patients using complementary therapies: a meta-ethnography approach 
Background
Personalised (or individualised) medicine in the days of genetic research refers to molecular biologic specifications in individuals and not to a response to individual patient needs in the sense of person-centred medicine. Studies suggest that patients often wish for authentically person-centred care and personal physician-patient interactions, and that they therefore choose Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) as a possibility to complement standard care and ensure a patient-centred approach. Therefore, to build on the findings documented in these qualitative studies, we investigated the various concepts of individualised medicine inherent in patients’ reasons for using CAM.
Methods
We used the technique of meta-ethnography, following a three-stage approach: (1) A comprehensive systematic literature search of 67 electronic databases and appraisal of eligible qualitative studies related to patients’ reasons for seeking CAM was carried out. Eligibility for inclusion was determined using defined criteria. (2) A meta-ethnographic study was conducted according to Noblit and Hare's method for translating key themes in patients’ reasons for using CAM. (3) A line-of-argument approach was used to synthesize and interpret key concepts associated with patients’ reasoning regarding individualized medicine.
Results
(1) Of a total of 9,578 citations screened, 38 studies were appraised with a quality assessment checklist and a total of 30 publications were included in the study. (2) Reasons for CAM use evolved following a reciprocal translation. (3) The line-of-argument interpretations of patients’ concepts of individualised medicine that emerged based on the findings of our multidisciplinary research team were “personal growth”, “holism”, “alliance”, “integrative care”, “self-activation” and “wellbeing”.
Conclusions
The results of this meta-ethnographic study demonstrate that patients’ notions of individualised medicine differ from the current idea of personalised genetic medicine. Our study shows that the “personal” patients’ needs are not identified with a specific high-risk group or with a unique genetic profile in the sense of genome-based “personalised” or “individualised” medicine. Thus, the concept of individualised medicine should include the humanistic approach of individualisation as expressed in concepts such as “personal growth”, “holistic” or “integrative care”, doctor-patient “alliance”, “self-activation” and “wellbeing” needs. This should also be considered in research projects and the allocation of healthcare resources.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-124
PMCID: PMC3679787  PMID: 23731970
CAM; Qualitative studies; Meta-ethnography; Person-centred medicine; Individualised medicine; Personalised medicine
21.  The Role of Dual-trained Conventional/Complementary Physicians as Mediators of Integration in Primary Care 
A growing number of physicians study complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Limited data are available on perspectives of physicians with dual training in conventional medicine and CAM, on issues of communication and collaboration with CAM practitioners (CAMPs). Questionnaires were administered to primary care physicians employed in the largest health maintenance organization (HMO) in Israel and to MD and non-MD CAM practitioners employed by a CAM-related agency of the same HMO. Data for statistical analysis were available from 333 primary care physicians (PCPs) and 241 CAM practitioners. Thirty-one of the 241 CAMPs were dual-trained physicians employed in a CAM-related agency as practitioners and/or triage-consultants. Dual trained physicians and CAMPs shared similar attitudes and supported, more so than PCPs, collaborative physician–CAM practitioner teamwork in clinical practice, medical education and research. Nevertheless, dual trained physicians supported a physician-dominant teamwork model (similar to the PCPs’ approach) in contrast to non-MD CAM practitioners who mainly supported a co-directed teamwork model. Compared to PCPs and non-MD CAM practitioners, dual trained physicians supported significantly more a medical/referral letter as the preferred means of doctor–CAM practitioner communication. Dual trained physicians have a unique outlook toward CAM integration and physician–practitioner collaboration, compared to non-MD CAM practitioners and PCPs. More studies are warranted to explore the role of dual trained physicians as mediators of integration.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nen033
PMCID: PMC2892352  PMID: 18955339
CAM: complementary alternative medicine; doctor–patient communication; family medicine; integrative medicine; primary care
22.  Public Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia 
Oman Medical Journal  2012;27(1):20-26.
Objectives
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is well established worldwide. The present work is aimed at studying the knowledge, attitude and practice of CAM by the people of Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia.
Methods
A cross-sectional descriptive household survey study of the people living in Riyadh city, as well as the surrounding governorates. A multistage random sample was taken from 1st January to the end of March 2010, with a total number of 518 participants. Data were collected using a pre-designed questionnaire through direct interview. The data was collected based on socio-demography, as well as knowledge, attitude and practice of CAM.
Results
Participants were nearly sex-matched, consisting of approximately 70% Saudi and 30% non-Saudis. About 89% of the participants had some knowledge of CAM. Mass media e.g. (T.V., newspapers and radio) and family, relatives and friends represented the main sources of CAM knowledge, (46.5% and 46.3% respectively). Nearly 85% of participants or one of their family members has used some form of CAM before, and the most common users of CAM practices were females, housewives, and illiterate subjects (or those who could just read and write), as well as participants aged 60 years and above. Medical herbs (58.89%), prayer (54%), honey and bee products (54%), hijama (35.71%) and cauterization or medical massage therapy (22%) were the commonly used CAM practices. Most participants agreed that there are needs for; CAM practices (93.8%), regulations for CAM (94.9%), health education (96.6%), specialized centers (94.8%) and CAM clinics (92.7%). While only 8.3% of participants usually discussed CAM with their physicians.
Conclusion
There is a high prevalence and increased public interest in CAM use in the Riyadh region. There is a positive attitude towards CAM, yet most participants are reluctant to share and discuss CAM information with their physicians.
doi:10.5001/omj.2012.04
PMCID: PMC3282134  PMID: 22359720
Complementary; Alternative medicine; Medical herbs; Body massage; Natural products; Prophetic medicine; Attitude; Safety; Efficacy; Saudi Arabia
23.  Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients visiting a free health clinic: A single-site, pilot study 
Background:
The rate of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been documented to fluctuate widely, can greatly impact medical outcomes, and can influence patients' adherence to conventional medicines. Health care providers should assess the prevalence of CAM use (primarily herbal medicine) in individual settings to most accurately provide appropriate patient care.
Objectives:
The aim of this study was to determine the following: (1) differences in demographic characteristics between users and nonusers of CAM; (2) which CAM patients are using; (3) patients' sources of information concerning CAM; and (4) whether patients recall being asked about CAM use by their health care providers.
Methods:
In this single-center, pilot study, a self-administered survey concerning CAM use was made available to persons seeking care at an inner-city free health clinic (Kansas City Free Health Clinic, Kansas City, Missouri). Completed surveys were scanned into a database, and descriptive analyses were performed.
Results:
Three hundred eleven patients completed ≥1 question on the survey. Of those who reported race (n = 278), 168 (60.4%) were Caucasian/white, 73 (26.3%) were African American/black, and 24 (8.6%) were Hispanic/Latino. Of those who reported educational level (n = 287), 101 (35.2%) had some high school or were high school graduates or had a general equivalency development diploma, 102 (35.5%) had completed some college or vocational training, and 84 (29.3%) had completed college. Of those who reported personal annual income (n = 191), 107 (56.0%) reported up to US $15,000, and 54 (28.3%) reported >$15,000 to $30,000. A high rate of CAM use (past or present) was found among survey respondents (116/285 [40.7%]). No correlation was found between CAM use and any of the demographic characteristics studied. Of 98 patients reporting whether their CAM use was past or current, 64 (65.3%) were using CAM at the time of the survey. Friends and physicians were reported to be most supportive of CAM use (21/41 [51.2%] and 33/86 [38.4%] patients, respectively). The most common CAM products reported as being currently used were garlic and chamomile (both, 5 patients [7.1%]), and echinacea and ginseng (both, 3 patients [4.7%]).
Conclusion:
This survey of patients using an inner-city free health clinic showed a high rate of CAM use, which could significantly impact patient outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.curtheres.2005.01.005
PMCID: PMC3964552  PMID: 24672100
alternative; complementary; medically indigent; inner city; educational level
24.  IN-CAM Outcomes Database: Its Relevance and Application in Massage Therapy Research and Practice 
One of the most commonly used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities in North America is massage therapy (MT). Research to date indicates many potential health benefits of MT, suggesting that ongoing research efforts to further elucidate and substantiate preliminary findings within the massage profession should be given high priority. Central to the development of a sound evidence base for MT are the use of valid, reliable, and relevant outcome measures in research, and practice in assessing the effectiveness of MT. The purpose of the present article is to introduce MT researchers and massage therapists interested in using outcome measures in research and clinical practice to the IN-CAM Outcomes Database website by describing the Outcomes Database and identifying its utility in MT research and practice. The IN-CAM Outcomes Database is a centralized location where information on outcome measures is collected and made accessible to users. Outcome measures are organized in the database within the Framework of Outcome Domains. The Framework includes health domains relevant to conventional medicine and CAM alike, and health domains that have been identified as important to CAM interventions. Users of the website may search for information on a specific outcome measure, plan research projects, and engage in discussions related to outcomes assessment in the CAM field with other users and with members of the CAM research community. As the MT profession continues to evolve and move toward evidence-informed practice, the IN-CAM Outcomes Database website can be a valuable resource for MT researchers and massage therapists.
PMCID: PMC3091455  PMID: 21589721
Massage therapy; research; practice; health outcomes; outcomes database
25.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Was Associated with Higher Perceived Physical and Mental Functioning in Early Systemic Sclerosis 
Explore (New York, N.Y.)  2008;4(4):259-263.
Objective
This study assessed the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in patients with early systemic sclerosis (scleroderma, SSc).
Methods
At the annual visit, SSc patients enrolled in the Genetics versus Environment in Scleroderma Outcomes Study (GENISOS) were queried about their use of CAM therapies and intended symptom target, including herbal or nutriceutical therapy, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) and mind-body therapy (relaxation, meditative, imagery). The CAM user SSc patients were compared to matched non-CAM users over two years for database results of demographic, clinical and health-related quality of life SF-36 questionnaires by analysis of covariance.
Results
25% of the university GENISOS group were CAM users: age: 54 years; female: 89%; diffuse cutaneous involvement: 47%; total skin score: 13.5; Medsger severity index: 5.8. Over 70% used ≥1 CAM therapies for over 1 year, independent of health insurance. Symptoms targeted included arthritis/arthralgia, pain, GI dysmotility and fatigue. CAM users had significantly higher mean mental component summary (MCS) scores on SF-36 at Baseline and Year 2, (49 and 49.9), compared to non-CAM users (42 and 40.2, respectively, p<0.01). At Year 2, the CAM user group had significantly higher scores of SF-36 domains physical component score, role-physical, bodily pain and vitality, whereas scores declined in the non-CAM user group.
Conclusion
In SSc, 70% of those in the CAM user group reported a long-term commitment to CAM therapies. Higher perceived mental functioning in CAM users might reflect more self-motivation to manage symptoms and subsequently, promote practices that result in higher perceived physical functioning.
doi:10.1016/j.explore.2008.04.004
PMCID: PMC2875784  PMID: 18602619
CAM; SF-36; Integrative Medicine; Pain; Arthritis; GI Hypomotility; Scleroderma; GENISOS

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