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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 1, January/February 2006
Pages 99 — 110


Abstract - Complementary and alternative medicine use in veterans with multiple sclerosis: Prevalence and demographic associations

Duncan G . Campbell, PhD;1-2 Aaron P. Turner, PhD;3-4* Rhonda M. Williams, PhD;3-4 Michael Hatzakis Jr, MD;3-4 James D. Bowen, MD;5-6 Arthur Rodriquez, MD, MS;3-4 Jodie K. Haselkorn, MD, MPH3-4

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System (PSHCS), Health Services Research and Development Service, Seattle, WA; 2Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA; 3Rehabilitation Care Service, VA PSHCS, Seattle, WA; 4Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA; 5Division of Neurology, VA PSHCS, Seattle, WA; and 6Department of Neurology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
Abstract — The present study explored complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in veterans with multiple sclerosis (MS). We administered self-report questionnaires to 451 veterans who received healthcare from Veterans Health Administration facilities. CAM use among veterans with MS was widespread; 37% of respondents reported current or past use. Roughly 33% of CAM users reported using multiple interventions, and 40% of respondents desired interventions that they were not already using. Logistic regression suggested that CAM use was more likely among participants with graduate-level education, poor self-reported health over the past year, and a progressive relapsing MS subtype. Participants who used traditional medical services were also more likely to use CAM, which suggests that CAM services are used in addition to, as opposed to in place of, traditional services. As others have proposed, these results suggest that care providers who work with persons with MS would be well served to understand, routinely screen for, and make use of CAM when appropriate.
Key words: acupuncture, alternative medicine, chiropractic treatment, complementary therapies, herbal medications, logistic model, massage therapy, multiple sclerosis, naturopathy, traditional healthcare.

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