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clinmed/2002050002v1 (May 16, 2002)
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Medical studentsí opinions about complementary and alternative medicine: a questionnaire based survey

Ravi P Shankar, Biswadeep Das, Praveen Partha, and Nagesh Shenoy

Introduction: Complementary medicine is becoming more popular all over the world. In south Asia indigenous medical systems like ayurveda and herbal remedies continue to be popular. In the west study modules on complementary medicine are included in the MBBS curriculum. In south Asia such study modules are yet to be introduced and information on studentsí attitudes towards this introduction are lacking. Hence the present study was carried out at the Manipal college of medical sciences, Pokhara, Nepal. Methods: 180 first and third semester medical students participated in the study. A semi-structured questionnaire was used and demographic details, information on complementary medicine use in the family, attitude towards and opinion on introducing complementary medicine modules in the MBBS curriculum was noted. Results: 128 families had used complementary medicine. 171 students had a favourable attitude towards and 112 students (62.2 %) were in favour of introducing study modules on complementary medicine in the curriculum. Increasing educational levels of the parents were associated with a decline in the use of complementary medicine. A significantly lower proportion of Indian students had used complementary remedies compared to the other nationalities. Discussion: Allopathic doctors must be aware of the different complementary remedies their patients may be taking. Standardization and scientific evaluation of these remedies are required. The fifth semester may be an ideal time for introducing study modules on complementary medicine. More detailed instructions on particular modalities of complementary medicine may be required for the students planning to incorporate complementary medicine in their future practice

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Ravi P Shankar
ClinMed NetPrints, 27 Jan 2003 [Full text]