Conflict of Interest Statement: I am a paid Infectious Disease blogger for Medscape.

There was a recent survey of 31, 399 Doctors by Medscape that was published as the Physician Lifestyle Report. The survey covers weight, vacation time, marriage status and other lifestyle issues including complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine use .

Several observations about the report.

Of course they had a picture of acupuncture on the cover and it was usual heebie jeebie inducing ungloved hands needling with bare fingers poking around the insertions. Even Medscape can’t find a photo with good infection control technique, probably because such photos are as rare those of Nessie.

It comes as no surprise that physicians are no different from the general population for supplement use, mostly multivitamin use.

Despite a lack of evidence supporting the value of antioxidant supplements, 19% of male and 17% of female physicians who responded use them.

I was surprised that a third used some form of pseudo-medicine.

Despite such limited evidence, 38% of adults in the United States are using some form of alternative medicine, according to NCCAM. This finding matches the Medscape survey responses, in which, regardless of generation, about the same percentage of physicians (37% of those 45 and under and 38% of those 46 and over) admitted taking CAM treatments for medical conditions. There were gender differences: 48% of female physicians and 32% of male physicians say they have used CAM therapies.

But as always, it gets to definition of CAM.

...where pain was the most common reason for using CAM, and acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation were the most commonly cited practices. Glucosamine, chondroitin, or both came up often as a treatment for arthritis. Eastern practices, including yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi, were also popular.

Massage is CAM? Yoga and Tai Chi, forms of exercise, are CAM? With such a broad definition I use CAM. Living in the great, but cloudy Pacific NW, I take Vitamin D. In college I took a Kundalini Yoga class to fulfill a PE requirement and I occasionally use the relaxation method they taught to help wind down and sleep after a particularly intense day. It is perhaps semantics, but I do not consider it CAM use as I apply the quack Miranda warning:  it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

I do not know if the accompanying graphic is supposed to reflect what CAM is used and by the size of the word the particular CAM use. I suspect it does having seen similar graphics in the past. Given that prolotherapy, reiki and craniosacral therapy are on the graphic, I would say that the Society is looking at a long up hill battle. It is why I lobbied, only partially tongue-in-cheek, for Sisyphus as the symbol of the Society.

But the most incredible result of the survey? ID docs are among the unhappiest at home and at work. Sure surprised me.