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Alternative therapies and Parkinson's disease

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have just released a study concerning the use of alternative therapies in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). They found that 40 per cent of the 201 patients interviewed used one or more alternative therapies. Vitamins and herbs, massage, and acupuncture were the most common. Almost 25 per cent of all patients used vitamins with 68 per cent of them using vitamin E (dosage range of 400-2,000 IU/day), 15 per cent using coenzyme Q10 (dosage range of 30-540 mg/day), 11 per cent taking multivitamins, 8.5 per cent using vitamin C, and 8.5 per cent using Ginkgo biloba. Most (58 per cent) of the patients did not consult with their regular physician before embarking upon the alternative treatments.

The use of alternative treatments was most common among college-educated, married, high-income patients who had developed PD at an early age. About 75 per cent of married, college-educated, 35-year- old patients used alternative therapies as compared to only 10 per cent among 65-year-old, single patients with a low education level. The researchers point out that the observed 40 per cent usage rate may be low on a national basis as people in the Baltimore area tend to be fairly conservative when compared with people on the west coast. They also conclude that communication between patients and physicians in regard to the use of alternative treatments leaves a lot to be desired.
Rajendran, Pam R., et al. The use of alternative therapies by patients with Parkinson's disease. Neurology, Vol. 57, September 2001, pp. 790-94

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