A recent survey
shows 50 percent of pediatricians would consider referring patients
for alternative medicine therapies.
The survey, conducted by researchers
at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and the
Medical University of South Carolina in South Charleston, S.C.,
questioned 348 members of the Michigan chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics. About 84 percent of those surveyed say
their patients already use some form of complimentary medicine
such herbal remedies, biofeedback
and massage. But the survey also showed a discussion about alternative
medicine was either initiated by the children or the parents,
but not by the physicians.
"We're probably at stage zero,"
Dr. Peter Rappo, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics
and a physician in Brockton, Mass. Not enough physicians are asking
patients whether they use any type of alternative medicine, Rappo
says, adding that physicians also don't have a lot of scientific
data on alternative medicine and pediatrics. It is unknown how
many children use alternative treatments, he says.
The survey also showed pediatricians
felt alternative medicine could help in treating ailments such
as headaches and backaches, and for pain management, but not for
cancer, HIV or incurable diseases.
"Clearly, there is a need
and a demand for more education, along with clinical guidelines
for complementary and alternative therapies within the context
of biomedicine," the researchers write in the 1998 November issue
of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.