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Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Date:4/13/2009

Clinicians who don't know about studies won't use findings, survey suggests

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- About 25 percent of practicing clinicians in the United States aren't aware of two major federal government-funded clinical trials of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies, a new survey has found.

The survey, which included 1,561 acupuncturists, naturopaths, internists and rheumatologists, also found that many clinicians aren't fully confident in their ability to interpret research results.

CAM therapies are widely used in the United States, but it's only been in recent years that rigorous studies of the safety and effectiveness of the treatments have been conducted, according to background information in the study. For example, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has spent more than $2 billion on research into CAM therapies in the past decade.

The survey found that 59 percent of the respondents were aware of at least one of two major clinical trails recently published on CAM therapies for osteoarthritis of the knee (one on acupuncture and one on the supplement glucosamine), and 23 percent were aware of both trials.

Rheumatologists (49 percent) and acupuncturists (46 percent) were more likely to be aware of the acupuncture study than naturopaths (30 percent) and general internists (22 percent). Rheumatologists (88 percent) and internists (59 percent) were more likely to know about the glucosamine trial than naturopaths (39 percent) and acupuncturists (20 percent).

The survey also found that a minority of respondents said they were "very confident" in their ability to critically interpret research literature: 33 percent of rheumatologists, 25 percent of naturopaths, 20 percent of acupuncturists and 17 percent of internists. Most said they were "moderately confident": 67 percent of internists, 64 percent of naturopaths, 59 percent of acupuncturists and 59 percent of rheumat
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