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Med students say conventional medicine would benefit by integrating alternative therapies
Date:1/20/2010

In the largest national survey of its kind, researchers from UCLA and UC San Diego measured medical students' attitudes and beliefs about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and found that three-quarters of them felt conventional Western medicine would benefit by integrating more CAM therapies and ideas.

The findings will be published in the online issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM) on January 20, 2010.

"Complementary and alternative medicine is receiving increased attention in light of the global health crisis and the significant role of traditional medicine in meeting public health needs in developing countries," said study author Ryan Abbott, a researcher at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. "Integrating CAM into mainstream health care is now a global phenomenon, with policy makers at the highest levels endorsing the importance of a historically marginalized form of health care."

CAM, which includes therapies such as massage, yoga, herbal medicine and acupuncture, is characterized by a holistic and highly individualized approach to patient care. It's emphasis is on maximizing the body's inherent healing ability; getting patients involved as active participants in their own care; addressing the physical, mental and spiritual attributes of a disease; and preventive care. While interest in these fields has increased dramatically in the United States in recent years, information about such therapies has not yet been widely integrated into medical education.

"Even with the high prevalence of CAM use today, most physicians still know little about non-conventional forms of medicine," said study author Michael S. Goldstein, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and professor of Public Health and Sociology, UCLA. "Investigating medical students' attitudes and knowledge will help us assess whether this may change in the fu
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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