Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis: Survey of licensed naturopaths

Lynne Shinto, Carlo Calabrese, Cynthia Morris, Shannon Sinsheimer, Dennis Bourdette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This paper describes the treatments and treatment outcome measures used by licensed naturopathic physicians in the United States who treat people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: A cross-sectional mail survey was used. Subjects: The participants were licensed naturopaths who were members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included practitioner demographics; patient demographics by practitioner report; recommended therapies; perceived effectiveness of treatments for MS; methods for measuring treatment effectiveness. Results: Forty three percent (43%) of the respondents (166/385) had treated at least one patient with MS while 56.9% (291/385) had never treated MS. 63.3% had treated 1-10 patients with MS, 19.9% had treated 11-20 patients with MS, and 16.8% had treated ≥20 patients with MS. Among the naturopaths, 68.1% communicated with an M.D. about their patient(s)' care and the majority of patients with MS were diagnosed by an M.D. (mean % = 96.3). The mean number of therapies recommended for M.S. was 3.91 (standard deviation [SD] = 2.01, range 1-10). The most frequently recommended therapies included, diet (52.4%), essential fatty acid supplementation (44.6%), vitamin/mineral supplementation (33.7%), homeopathy (30.7%), botanicals (22.3%), and antioxidants (18.1%). Respondents perceived their treatments as "very effective" for the following stages of MS: early stage (57.2%); middle stage (25.3%); and late stage (3.0%). Respondents perceived their treatments as "very effective" for the following disease-related outcomes: improved quality of life (59.0%); decrease relapse rates (48.2%); decreased symptom severity (45.8%); prevention of disease progression (41.6%). The methods used "most often" for measuring treatment effectiveness included, patient report (88.0%); physical examination (27.1%); medical records/laboratory testing (13.3%). The mean estimated percentage of patients not taking conventional disease-modifying medication was 51.2% (SD = 42.7%). Conclusions: Naturopaths use both a broad range and multiple complementary and alternative medicine CAM therapies for treating MS and report treatment effectiveness on the following outcomes: quality of life; symptom severity; relapse rates; and disease progression. Further research on single CAM therapies and holistic CAM systems is warranted in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-897
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2004

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Complementary Therapies
Multiple Sclerosis
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Disease Progression
Surveys and Questionnaires
Therapeutics
Quality of Life
Demography
Holistic Health
Physicians
Diet Therapy
Recurrence
Homeopathy
Essential Fatty Acids
Postal Service
Vitamins
Physical Examination
Medical Records
Minerals
Patient Care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Nursing(all)

Cite this

Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis : Survey of licensed naturopaths. / Shinto, Lynne; Calabrese, Carlo; Morris, Cynthia; Sinsheimer, Shannon; Bourdette, Dennis.

In: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 10, No. 5, 10.2004, p. 891-897.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Objective: This paper describes the treatments and treatment outcome measures used by licensed naturopathic physicians in the United States who treat people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: A cross-sectional mail survey was used. Subjects: The participants were licensed naturopaths who were members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included practitioner demographics; patient demographics by practitioner report; recommended therapies; perceived effectiveness of treatments for MS; methods for measuring treatment effectiveness. Results: Forty three percent (43{\%}) of the respondents (166/385) had treated at least one patient with MS while 56.9{\%} (291/385) had never treated MS. 63.3{\%} had treated 1-10 patients with MS, 19.9{\%} had treated 11-20 patients with MS, and 16.8{\%} had treated ≥20 patients with MS. Among the naturopaths, 68.1{\%} communicated with an M.D. about their patient(s)' care and the majority of patients with MS were diagnosed by an M.D. (mean {\%} = 96.3). The mean number of therapies recommended for M.S. was 3.91 (standard deviation [SD] = 2.01, range 1-10). The most frequently recommended therapies included, diet (52.4{\%}), essential fatty acid supplementation (44.6{\%}), vitamin/mineral supplementation (33.7{\%}), homeopathy (30.7{\%}), botanicals (22.3{\%}), and antioxidants (18.1{\%}). Respondents perceived their treatments as {"}very effective{"} for the following stages of MS: early stage (57.2{\%}); middle stage (25.3{\%}); and late stage (3.0{\%}). Respondents perceived their treatments as {"}very effective{"} for the following disease-related outcomes: improved quality of life (59.0{\%}); decrease relapse rates (48.2{\%}); decreased symptom severity (45.8{\%}); prevention of disease progression (41.6{\%}). The methods used {"}most often{"} for measuring treatment effectiveness included, patient report (88.0{\%}); physical examination (27.1{\%}); medical records/laboratory testing (13.3{\%}). The mean estimated percentage of patients not taking conventional disease-modifying medication was 51.2{\%} (SD = 42.7{\%}). Conclusions: Naturopaths use both a broad range and multiple complementary and alternative medicine CAM therapies for treating MS and report treatment effectiveness on the following outcomes: quality of life; symptom severity; relapse rates; and disease progression. Further research on single CAM therapies and holistic CAM systems is warranted in MS.",
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N2 - Objective: This paper describes the treatments and treatment outcome measures used by licensed naturopathic physicians in the United States who treat people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: A cross-sectional mail survey was used. Subjects: The participants were licensed naturopaths who were members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included practitioner demographics; patient demographics by practitioner report; recommended therapies; perceived effectiveness of treatments for MS; methods for measuring treatment effectiveness. Results: Forty three percent (43%) of the respondents (166/385) had treated at least one patient with MS while 56.9% (291/385) had never treated MS. 63.3% had treated 1-10 patients with MS, 19.9% had treated 11-20 patients with MS, and 16.8% had treated ≥20 patients with MS. Among the naturopaths, 68.1% communicated with an M.D. about their patient(s)' care and the majority of patients with MS were diagnosed by an M.D. (mean % = 96.3). The mean number of therapies recommended for M.S. was 3.91 (standard deviation [SD] = 2.01, range 1-10). The most frequently recommended therapies included, diet (52.4%), essential fatty acid supplementation (44.6%), vitamin/mineral supplementation (33.7%), homeopathy (30.7%), botanicals (22.3%), and antioxidants (18.1%). Respondents perceived their treatments as "very effective" for the following stages of MS: early stage (57.2%); middle stage (25.3%); and late stage (3.0%). Respondents perceived their treatments as "very effective" for the following disease-related outcomes: improved quality of life (59.0%); decrease relapse rates (48.2%); decreased symptom severity (45.8%); prevention of disease progression (41.6%). The methods used "most often" for measuring treatment effectiveness included, patient report (88.0%); physical examination (27.1%); medical records/laboratory testing (13.3%). The mean estimated percentage of patients not taking conventional disease-modifying medication was 51.2% (SD = 42.7%). Conclusions: Naturopaths use both a broad range and multiple complementary and alternative medicine CAM therapies for treating MS and report treatment effectiveness on the following outcomes: quality of life; symptom severity; relapse rates; and disease progression. Further research on single CAM therapies and holistic CAM systems is warranted in MS.

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