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Medical Students Supportive of Alternative Medicine

Blending therapies would benefit patients, survey reports

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- A new national survey finds that most medical students think that knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine could help Western doctors do a better job.

Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, includes such therapies as acupuncture, yoga, massage and herbal treatments.

"Even with the high prevalence of CAM use today, most physicians still know little about nonconventional forms of medicine," Michael S. Goldstein, senior research scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author of the study, said in a university news release. "Investigating medical students' attitudes and knowledge will help us assess whether this may change in the future."

The findings were published online Jan. 20 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Researchers from UCLA and the University of California, San Diego, sent a 30-question survey to 126 medical schools. They received 1,770 completed responses, representing about 3 percent of a pool of about 68,000 medical school students.

Of the respondents, 77 percent said that patients would benefit more if their doctors knew about CAM in addition to Western medicine. And 74 percent thought that a blend of Western medicine and CAM is better than either by itself.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more on complementary and alternative medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, Jan. 20, 2010

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