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Should medical students be taught alternative medicine?

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 28 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2417

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Re: Should medical students be taught alternative medicine?

Should we bring more CAM components and related issues in medical education.
Globalization and the revolution in information technology have made its impact in the usage of CAM. The main noticeable points here are
1) Marketing technics by pharmaceutical industry facilitated the higher usage of CAM, especially in the expanse of herbal drugs. (1)
2) The aging population in developing and developed countries, backed by better purchasing option for the middle class.
3) Pre- occupied credence that they are open from adverse event.
4) The rudiments of CAM plays a dynamic role in medical tourism. A transcultural clientele in countries like India and medical tourist have the strength the concept of the CAM cash rich.
As a father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates says unique care of suffering that “Cure rarely Comfort mostly Console always” is clearly suggestive of integrative approach to treating a manifestation.
Increased use of complementary and alternative medicine has made influences in the medical education to teach Medical professionals regarding the basic concepts of CAM (2) . It might help to make alternative choices for their own patients by giving them a proper direction (3) like in the area of treatment like life style disorders, Palliative care etc..It also have advantage to study the Herb-drug or food-drug reactions are most common in case of usage of dietary supplements or herbal medications along with prescribed one (4). Networking with international hospital and universities has given a competitive advantage to know about More Practical Applicability of CAM. The study showed the strength of these bodies was in their competitive spirits. Regulatory agencies take a knot in it and permitted clinical and moral changes in educational issues in the health care sector.
While some of the most common issues in the teaching of traditional medicines are-
1) All most literature pertaining to the traditional herbs are in their regional language often not accessible to the other language groups.
2) In CAM, The History, examination and investigation, diagnosis and treatment is based individual constituent.
1. Canedy D. Real medicine or medicine show? Growth of herbal remedy sales raises issues about value. New York Times. July 23, 1998:D1.
2. Miriam S. Wetzel, Ted J. Kaptchuk, ; Aviad Haramati, David M. Eisenberg, Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies: Implications for Medical Education. bmj 4 February 2003 Vol 138 Iss 3 191-6.
3. Wayne Putnam et al, A qualitative study of evidence in primary care: what the practitioners are saying CMAJ • JUNE 11, 2002; 166 (12) 1525.
4. Izzo A.A., Borrelli F., Capasso R. Herbal medicine: the dangers of drug interaction. Trends Pharmacol. Sci. (2002) 23 358–359.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 May 2014
Madhusudhana Kamath
Dept.of Ayurveda,Kasturbha Medical College,
Manipal University,Manipal-576 104,India.