Research: WANG and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 225


WANG and COLLEAGUES,  (1)The Center of Neurology and Rehabilitation, Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College, 109 Xueyuan West Road, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325027, China set out to determine the epidemiology of CAM use for Parkinson's disease (PD) worldwide.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common and debilitating neurodegenerative disorder without a known neuroprotective cure. Currently, an increasing number of patients with PD resort to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).


This study aimed to determine the epidemiology of CAM use for Parkinson's disease (PD) worldwide. Methodological issues included the definition of CAM, running a search strategy using five databases, and citation tracking.


Six studies estimated the prevalence of CAM use for PD to be between 25.7% and 76%. The response rates in these surveys varied from 81% to 100%. Frequently utilized forms of therapy were acupuncture, massage, herbs, and vitamins/health supplements, and these therapies were mainly used to improve the associated motor symptoms of PD. However, only 11% to 20% of these patients were referred to use CAM by a healthcare professional. Of the sociodemographic and disease-specific factors, CAM use was correlated with female sex, age, age at onset of PD, longer duration of PD, degree of education, higher income, rural location, comorbidity for indications, levodopa load, and severe motor symptoms.


These results suggested that CAM use is widespread among patients with PD worldwide, but the largely unexamined use of CAM requires more attention. Moreover, there is a lack of communication between physicians and patients, increasing the risks associated with CAM use and the potential for adverse events.


Wang Y(1), Xie CL, Wang WW, Lu L, Fu DL, Wang XT, Zheng GQ. Epidemiology of complementary and alternative medicine use in patients with Parkinson's disease. J Clin Neurosci. 20(8):1062-7. Aug 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2012.10.022. Epub Jun 29 2013.  

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