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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Use of alternative medicine by patients with epilepsy: a survey of 265 epileptic patients in a developing country.

We evaluated the use of alternative treatment methods, in various forms, by epileptic patients who had used these forms of treatment before seeking hospital treatment. Among the 265 epileptic patients, 47.6% used African traditional medicine alone: 24.1% combined traditional medicine with spiritual healing, 20.4% used spiritual healing alone, and 7.5% used other forms of alternative medicine. Patients used the alternative treatments for < 1 year to > 5 years before seeking hospital treatment, presumably when alternative medicine failed to control seizures. Relatives, friends, and neighbors had marked influence on the health-seeking behavior of these epileptic patients: 86% of them were influenced to use alternative medicine. After initiation of hospital treatment, only 14.6% of patients who had earlier used African traditional medicine continued with such treatment; more than two thirds of the patients who had earlier used spiritual healing continued using such treatment, suggesting that many of these patients perceived some continuing benefits from these alternative treatments. This observation suggests that alternative medicine, especially spiritual healing, cannot be considered irrelevant in management of epilepsy in Africa. Further investigations are required to determine the efficacy, supportive role, and limitation of alternative medicine in management of epilepsy in developing countries.[1]


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