Unethical Prescriptions: Alternative Therapies for Children With Cerebral Palsy
Clinical Pediatrics 2010 January; 49(1): 7-11
The US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) defines CAM as "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine." The problem with said therapies is that, for the most part, their effectiveness is questionable and their side effect profile is essentially unknown. Furthermore, as stated by Rosenbaum, many CAM treatments are based on "at best, anecdotal evidence and at times rather unusual ideas about the biology of the conditions to which they are being applied." In spite of the data shortage,Americans are forecasted to spend more than $42 billion on CAM during 2009. Using a patient for illustration purposes, the author presents 3 CAM treatments that have been advocated for children with cerebral palsy. The current scientific literature on these remedies and their purported benefit is reviewed. The article ends with a discussion on the reasons why prescribing said therapies is contrary to the concept of evidence-based medicine and the tenets of medical ethics.
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