Science-based medicine, obviously, does not have the answer to everything.  Maybe someday, but not now.

In my practice the medical problem with no good etiology or treatment is chronic fatigue syndrome.  As I have mentioned elsewhere, in some cases I suspect CFS is similar to post-infectious arthritis, a reaction to an infection that has come and gone.  But suspect is not know.

​When the cause and treatment of diseases and symptoms are unknown it results in a fertile soil for CAPM*  to grow.  You are sick.  You want to feel better. Regular medicine has little or nothing to offer.  And if it is your children are ill? Try CAPM.  I am sympathetic to the need to make you and your loved ones better.

A recent study emphasized this issue in children with autism where trying various CAPMs is common.  From the press release:

CAM use was more common among children with autism than children diagnosed with other types of developmental delay, 40 percent versus 30 percent respectively. Nearly 7 percent of children with autism were on the gluten-free/casein-free diet, particularly children with frequent gastrointestinal problems.
“We were pleased to find that most families utilizing CAM therapies were choosing ones that were low risk," said Kathleen Angkustsiri, assistant professor of developmental and behavioral pediatrics and a study co-author.
However, a small but statistically significant number — about 9 percent — were found to use alternative treatments classified by the study as potentially unsafe, invasive or unproven, such as antifungal medications, chelation therapy and vitamin B-12 injections.

I found it interesting that under-vaccination had little to do with CAPM use. 

I really do not know why people use CAPM, only why a given individual does, and then only after talking with them.  There may be as many reasons as there are CAPMs.

This emphasizes the importance for people to know the cause of a disease and having an effective treatment.  I suspect that when people have effective therapies and an understanding of the reason for the illness they will be less likely to turn to CAPM.  CAPM use is far more common in areas of uncertainty like CFS and autism than in areas where we have a cause and a cure, like Infectious Diseases. Although outside of AIDS I cannot find a survey of CAPM use in infectious disease patients, probably because we cure them.  At least for now.

In the meantime I understand and sympathize with their choices. Except the chelation.  That kills.


Utilization patterns of conventional and complementary/alternative treatments in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities in a population-based study.
Akins RS, Krakowiak P, Angkustsiri K, Hertz-Picciotto I, Hansen RL.
J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2014 Jan;35(1):1-10. 

UC Davis Finds that Complementary Medicine is Widely Used to Treat Children with Autism

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Apr 25;7:12.
Complementary and alternative medical therapy utilization by people with chronic fatiguing illnesses in the United States.

*My current favorite acronym, Complimentary and Alternative Pseudo-Medicine. Not to be used in a sentence like pop a CAPM, as to try an kill someone by shooting them.  I know.  A stretch)

Points of Interest: 1/12/2014
Points of Interest: 1/11/2014

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