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

ture."

The team of UCLA and UC San Diego experts in the fields of CAM, integrative medicine, Western medicine, medical education and survey development created a novel 30-question survey and sent it to 126 medical schools throughout the United States. In return, the team received 1,770 completed surveys from a pool of about 68,000 medical students nationwide, roughly three percent.

While the current results offer valuable insight into medical students' perceptions of CAM, given the low response rate, researchers plan future studies to further refine the tool and see if the findings can be more generalized.

Researchers found that although medical students endorsed the importance of complementary and alternative medicine, obstacles remain that may prevent future doctors from recommending these treatments in their practices. According to the findings:

  • 77 percent of participants agreed to some extent that patients whose doctors know about complementary and alternative medicine in addition to conventional medicine, benefit more than those whose doctors are only familiar with Western medicine.
  • 74 percent of participants agreed to some extent that a system of medicine that integrates therapies of conventional and complementary and alternative medicine would be more effective than either type of medicine provided independently.
  • 84 percent of participants agreed to some extent that the field contains beliefs, ideas, and therapies from which conventional medicine could benefit.
  • 49 percent of participating medical students indicated that they have used complementary and alternative treatments however few would recommend or use these treatments in their practice until more scientific assessment has occurred.

"Our research suggests that persuading doctors to integrate CAM will require investment in the types of clinical research that form the backbone of Western medicine," adds Abbott. "E
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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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