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author:("dura, Gérard")
1.  Who seeks primary care for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) with physicians prescribing homeopathic and other complementary medicine? Results from the EPI3-LASER survey in France 
There is a paucity of information describing patients with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) using complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) and almost none distinguishing homeopathy from other CAMs. The objective of this study was to describe and compare patients with MSDs who consulted primary care physicians, either certified homeopaths (Ho) or regular prescribers of CAMs in a mixed practice (Mx), to those consulting physicians who strictly practice conventional medicine (CM), with regard to the severity of their MSD expressed as chronicity, co-morbidity and quality of life (QOL).
The EPI3-LASER study was a nationwide observational survey of a representative sample of general practitioners and their patients in France. The sampling strategy ensured a sufficient number of GPs in each of the three groups to allow comparison of their patients. Patients completed a questionnaire on socio-demographics, lifestyle and QOL using the Short Form 12 (SF-12) questionnaire. Chronicity of MSDs was defined as more than twelve weeks duration of the current episode. Diagnoses and co-morbidities were recorded by the physician.
A total of 825 GPs included 1,692 MSD patients (predominantly back pain and osteoarthritis) were included, 21.6% in the CM group, 32.4% Ho and 45.9% Mx. Patients in the Ho group had more often a chronic MSD (62.1%) than the CM (48.6%) or Mx (50.3%) groups, a result that was statistically significant after controlling for patients' characteristics (Odds ratio = 1.43; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07 - 1.89). Patients seen by homeopaths or mixed practice physicians who were not the regular treating physician, had more often a chronic MSD than those seen in conventional medicine (Odds ratios were1.75; 95% CI: 1.22 - 2.50 and 1.48; 95% CI: 1.06 - 2.12, respectively). Otherwise patients in the three groups did not differ for co-morbidities and QOL.
MSD patients consulting primary care physicians who prescribed homeopathy and CAMs differed from those seen in conventional medicine. Chronic MSD patients represented a greater proportion of the clientele in physicians offering alternatives to conventional medicine. In addition, these physicians treated chronic patients as consulting rather than regular treating physicians, with potentially important impacts upon professional health care practices and organisation.
PMCID: PMC3034723  PMID: 21247493
2.  Can discrete event simulation be of use in modelling major depression? 
Depression is among the major contributors to worldwide disease burden and adequate modelling requires a framework designed to depict real world disease progression as well as its economic implications as closely as possible.
In light of the specific characteristics associated with depression (multiple episodes at varying intervals, impact of disease history on course of illness, sociodemographic factors), our aim was to clarify to what extent "Discrete Event Simulation" (DES) models provide methodological benefits in depicting disease evolution.
We conducted a comprehensive review of published Markov models in depression and identified potential limits to their methodology. A model based on DES principles was developed to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of this simulation method compared with Markov modelling techniques.
The major drawback to Markov models is that they may not be suitable to tracking patients' disease history properly, unless the analyst defines multiple health states, which may lead to intractable situations. They are also too rigid to take into consideration multiple patient-specific sociodemographic characteristics in a single model. To do so would also require defining multiple health states which would render the analysis entirely too complex. We show that DES resolve these weaknesses and that its flexibility allow patients with differing attributes to move from one event to another in sequential order while simultaneously taking into account important risk factors such as age, gender, disease history and patients attitude towards treatment, together with any disease-related events (adverse events, suicide attempt etc.).
DES modelling appears to be an accurate, flexible and comprehensive means of depicting disease progression compared with conventional simulation methodologies. Its use in analysing recurrent and chronic diseases appears particularly useful compared with Markov processes.
PMCID: PMC1762026  PMID: 17147790

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