Sunday, August 28, 2005

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acupuncture to treat depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder, osteoarthritis, and postoperative dental pain
hypnosis for chronic low back pain and accelerated fracture healing
Ayurvedic herbals for Parkinson's disease. (Ayurvedic medicine is a
holistic system based on the belief that herbals, massage, and other
stress relievers help the body make its own natural drugs.)
biofeedback for diabetes, low back pain, and face and mouth pain
caused by jaw disorders. (Biofeedback is the conscious control of
biological functions such as those of the heart and blood vessels
normally controlled involuntarily.)
electric currents to treat tumors

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Anyone who wants to be treated with an alternative therapy should
try to do so through participation in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are
regulated by FDA and provide safeguards to protect patients, such as
monitoring of adverse reactions. In fact, FDA is interested in assisting
investigators who want to study alternative therapies under carefully
controlled clinical trials.
Some of the alternative therapies currently under study with grants
from NIH include:

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"What I've found at the University of Maryland is a healthy skepticism
among my colleagues, but a real willingness to collaborate. We have a
lot of people from different departments who are saying, let's see how
we can develop scientifically rigorous studies that are also sensitive to
the particular therapies that we're working with."

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Many doctors are interested in learning more about alternative
therapies, according to Brian Berman, M.D., a family practitioner with
the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Berman
says his own interest began when "I found that I wasn't getting all the
results that I would have liked with conventional medicine, especially
in patients with chronic diseases.