Research: SURETTE and COLLEAGUES (1)CARE Program,

Listed in Issue 229


SURETTE and COLLEAGUES (1)CARE Program, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Canada conducted a scoping review of paediatric CAM utilization literature,  in order to establish the depth and breadth of the field and identify gaps in knowledge regarding the epidemiology of CAM use.



A CAM and paediatric search strategy was developed and run in three databases (Medline, Embase, Amed) in June 2006. It was revised and rerun in February 2010. Utilisation studies about paediatric CAM were selected if they had an English or French abstract. Data were extracted into an excel table by one individual.


152 paediatric CAM utilisation studies were identified as of February 2010; 136 were full text English. There was variation in how CAM was defined: vitamins were included in 35 studies, excluded in 12 studies and not mentioned in 40; while prayer was included in 64, excluded in 9, and not mentioned in 39. Over half of the studies identified were from North America. The majority of studies were conducted in conventional health settings. The four most commonly studied subpopulations were cancer, asthma, autistic spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Eighteen percent of studies did not report on the period of assessment used. Twenty-seven percent of studies inquired about adverse events and 32% inquired about costs and insurance coverage.


There are substantial paediatric utilization data available but some subpopulations remain poorly researched. The need for transparent utilization data remains important in order to help prioritize safety and efficacy research.


Surette S(1), Vanderjagt L, Vohra S. Surveys of complementary and alternative medicine usage: a scoping study of the paediatric literature.  Complement Ther Med. 21 (Suppl 1):S48-53. Apr 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.08.006. Epub Sep 22 2011.  

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