Research: ANDREWS and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 35

Abstract

ANDREWS and colleagues, Faculty of Medicine, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia studied the nature and prevalence of alternative therapies used by children with asthma.

Background

Methodology

A questionnaire describing the use of alternative therapies was completed by the parents of 51 children with asthma aged 1-6 years in South Australia.

Results

About 55% of children used alternative therapies for asthma management. The therapies which were most commonly used were massage, relaxation, diet and vitamin therapy . The authors did not find any significant difference in age, asthma severity, length of time since diagnosis or presence of another illness amongst children who did or did not use alternative therapies.

Conclusion

A substantial proportion of children with asthma attending paediatric clinics use alternative therapies. Paediatricians need to be aware of this and be prepared to discuss alternative therapies with parents, which may facilitate a more open doctor-patient relationship and provide better management of the childrens asthma.

References

Andrews L et al. The use of alternative therapies by children with asthma: a brief report. J Paediatr Child Health 34(2): 131-4 April 1998.

Comment

It is abundantly clear from the breadth of the above reported studies, that people of all ages, from all over the world, suffering from a variety of health problems, are using a variety of alternative therapies, usually in conjunction with conventional allopathic treatment. The study by Vickers et al makes for worrying reading, in that it seems to be far too good to be true that virtually all research from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Russia report positive results, whereas research from the UK reports positive results in just 75% of the cases.

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