Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in children with common neurological conditions
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BACKGROUND: Recent literature suggests that one in nine children in the United States uses some type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Children with challenging neurological conditions such as headache, migraine, and seizures may seek CAM in their attempts at self-care. Our objective was to describe CAM use in children with these conditions. METHODS: We compared use of CAM among children aged 3 to 17 years with and without common neurological conditions (headaches, migraines, seizures) where CAM might plausibly play a role in their self-management using the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data. RESULTS: Children with common neurological conditions reported significantly more CAM use compared to the children without these conditions (24.0% vs 12.6%, P<.0001). Compared to other pediatric CAM users, children with neurological conditions report similarly high use of biological therapies and significantly higher use of mind-body techniques (38.6% vs 20.5%, P<.007). Of the mind-body techniques, deep breathing (32.5%), meditation (15.1%), and progressive relaxation (10.1%) were used most frequently. CONCLUSIONS: About one in four children with common neurological conditions use CAM. The nature of CAM use in this population, as well as its risks and benefits in neurological disease, deserve further investigation.
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