CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Psychiatric journal reviews CAM titles

Psychiatrists review complementary books and other blogs today discuss dietary supplements.

The Amerian Psychiatric Association's journal has a review of Introduction to Alternative and Complementary Therapies
edited by Anne L. Strozier and Joyce Carpenter. New York, Haworth Press, 2008, 297 pp., $90.00:

The 10 chapters cover modalities including mindfulness and meditation, spirituality, poetry therapy, art therapy, psychodrama, dance/movement therapy, music therapy, animal assisted therapy, and touch therapy. Each chapter gives a brief history of the discipline and discusses credentialing bodies for that area. This is helpful if you are working with someone who wants to use a complementary or alternative medicine approach, as you can help them determine if their practitioner has valid credentials. Empirical studies of the area are referenced and discussed. Mindfulness and art therapy have the largest empirical base of support among those presented in this text. The references presented in the chapter on spirituality are focused toward social work and do not include the epidemiologic studies, which support spirituality as a positive health factor. Some of the areas have more structure than others. For example, the chapter on mindfulness covers a range of evidence-based protocols, as well as referencing the less structured uses presented by various spiritual traditions. The chapter on music therapy discusses a wide variety of approaches labeled as music therapy, but there are no standardized interventions that can be evaluated in a clinical trial. Each music therapist may have a different therapeutic background and set of interventions and may need to be evaluated personally. The chapters are not written to provide you with skills to incorporate these techniques into your own practice, but an experienced clinician may be able to use some of the examples presented as tools or prompts for patients stuck in more traditional treatments. Most chapters provide enough detail to yield a good idea of what a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner may provide your patient. The appendix offers further resources in each area should you want to pursue the field further. Understanding these modalities can help you recommend additional approaches for your patients or know when some may be useful during personal life events.

Also reviewed is Clinical Manual for the Treatment of Autism
edited by Eric Hollander, M.D., and Evdokia Anagnostou, M.D. Arlington, Va, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2007, 336 pp., $54.00:

This book has great strengths in covering the field of psychopharmacological treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The chapters reviewing medications, including the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), atypical antipsychotics, stimulants, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and even cholinesterase inhibitors, are very thorough with a balanced discussion of the latest research. This information is extremely useful for the clinician and the researcher, and the authors have made an effort to discuss the most recent literature in press in 2007, so that it is remarkably current, particularly for a book. There are helpful tables to facilitate dosing in most of the chapters, so information is easily accessible. There are excellent discussions on mechanisms of action; particularly notable is Chapter 4, which covers anticonvulsants.

The chapters on behavioral and educational interventions individually cover applied behavioral analysis, Greenspan's floortime approach, Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH) methodology, and therapy focused on peer interactions, all by authors who have built these fields with numerous publications. They are well written, with an excellent synthesis of the literature in each of these areas. What is missing is a synthesis that brings in other contributions, such as the Denver model, developed by Sally Rogers and colleagues, or broader directions of educational endeavors, such as the use of assistive technology.

The weakest part of this book is the medical workup of autism, which is covered in Chapter 1. There are basically no details regarding the physical examination or laboratory studies, and both are mentioned to be done only "when indicated." Actually, such studies are always indicated in autism, but there is little guidance regarding the newest studies that are indicated in the thorough workup of autism, and the reader must look elsewhere to find this information. There is little to no coverage regarding the latest genetic studies in autism (e.g., the yield of comparative genomic hybridization arrays in the genetic workup or subtyping of autism). Advances such as methyl CpG binding protein (MECP2) mutations, chromosome 15q duplications, or the association of the fragile X premutation and autism are not covered. These deficiencies carry over into the chapter on future directions, because targeted treatments that are being developed for certain subgroups of autism, such as the use of mGluR5 antagonists in fragile X syndrome, may have significant benefits in autism in general, but they are not mentioned. A greater emphasis should be placed on identifying these genetic subgroups of autism and the neurobiological advances that have led to targeted treatments.

The chapter on complementary and alternative medicine treatment is well written and covers a broad range of controversial therapies, with helpful information for the clinician to share with families and where to search on the web for the latest valid information.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for both clinicians and researchers, particularly for the treatment chapters regarding psychopharmacological, complementary and alternative medicine, and behavioral interventions. In a field fraught with controversy, this book adds clarity in a compact and well-written format. This should be read by all who take care of children with autism.

A Body and Soul website discusses CAM:

Alternative and complementary medicine is defined as varied health care and medical systems, products and practices that are not categorized as part of conventional medicine. Although there is scientific evidence that supports complementary alternative medicines (CAM), a lot of practices still demand credibility. Concerns on country and effectiveness remain an open issue.

Some forms of alternative medicine have already been proven effective and innocuous and are accepted by traditional health care systems.

Complementary visvis alternative medicine

What is the difference between complementary and alternative medicine

Complementary medicine is utilized with traditional medicine. An example of this is making use of aromatherapy to make patients be at assist after surgery. Another example is the use of acupuncture to minimize side effects of cancer treatments in patients.

On the other hand, alternative medicine completely replaces conventional medicine. Many practices and procedures are included in this broad category. An example of this is making use of a special dietary procedure rather than going through surgery or chemotherapy irradiation in treating cancer. Most insurance companies do not wage coverage for these kinds of practices.

Integrative Medicine

You can also make use of what is known as integrative medicine, which mixes conventional medical treatments with complementary alternative medicine methods.

Integrative medicine is known as a complete approach to patient care and involves body, mind and spirit. An example of this is the use of relaxation techniques to minimize stress during chemotherapy sessions.

Take your pick from these types of medical treatments for your particular concern. You can choose from a variety of medical practices, whether conventional, complementary, alternative or integrative medicine, to suit your health needs. You should research thoroughly before doing anything.

The Bipolar Beat has coverage of CAM treatments for mental health in an article on Alternative and Complementary Treatments for Bipolar Disorder:

The standard approach to treating bipolar disorder calls for a combination of medication and psychotherapy - a mood stabilizer for the mania, an anti-depressant to treat the depressive side, and psychotherapy to deal with the stressors and triggers that often push the disorder through the protective barrier of medications.

There are, however, some alternative and complementary treatments available that may help when the standard treatments are ineffective or cause intolerable side effects. When used in place of standard medications and therapies, these are known as "alternative." When used along with standard medications and therapies, they are called "complementary" or "adjunctive."

To my surprise, there's a "bipolar disorder for dummies" book advertised as well.

Alison B has collected "a few online resources that I found helpful, in looking for credible information regarding botanical and other herbal supplements, for dietary or therapeutic use. These sites include clinical trials being conducted on effectiveness of substances, approved uses, definitions, latin names, how to use it, what the original source is, etc. Very helpful information for anyone interested in using supplements!"

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COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE LAW BLOG

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