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Use of phytoestrogens and effects perceived by postmenopausal women: result of a questionnaire-based survey

July 28, 2014 Comments off

Use of phytoestrogens and effects perceived by postmenopausal women: result of a questionnaire-based survey
Source: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Background
Use of food supplements-containing phytoestrogens among postmenopausal women is rapidly increasing. Although phytoestrogens are often perceived as safe, evidence for overall positive risk-benefit profile is still inconclusive. The chance to buy them by user’s initiative does not facilitate surveys on their prevalence and pattern of use. The aim of this study was to describe the pattern of use and self-reported positive and negative perceptions of phytoestrogens in post-menopausa.

Methods
A questionnaire was administered to women who were buying food supplements containing phytoestrogens in 22 pharmacies located in the Bologna area (400,000 inhabitants). Questionnaire was structured into 3 sections: (a) socio-demographic information; (b) pattern of use, (c) positive and negative perceptions.

Results
Data on 190 peri- and post-menopausal women (aged 38-77) were collected. Women stated to use phytoestrogens to reduce hot flushes (79%), insomnia (15%), mood disturbances (14%) and prevent osteoporosis (15%). The majority (59%) took phytoestrogens routinely, whereas 28% in 3-month cycles. Among positive perceptions between short- and long-term users, a not negligible difference was reported for relief of hot-flushes (68% in short-term vs. 81% in long-term users; p = 0.04). Negative perceptions were reported more frequently in the long-term group, and this difference was statistically significant for edema (6% in short-term vs. 17% in long-term users; p = 0.04), but not for other effects: e.g., swelling sensation (10% vs. 21%; p = 0.09), somnolence (7% vs. 10% p = 0.62), fatigue (4% vs.11% p = 0.15).

Conclusions
In the Bologna area, the pattern of use of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms is heterogeneous, and women overall find these substances to be beneficial, especially for relief of hot-flushes. Other positive perceptions decreased with long-term use. Negative perceptions, especially estrogen-like effects, seem to be infrequent and increase with long-term therapy. Physicians should pay attention to effects perceived by post-menopausal women and routinely monitor the use of phytoestrogens, in order to recognize possible adverse effects and actual benefits.

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Usage and appraisal of educational media by homeopathic therapists: A cross sectional survey

July 15, 2012 Comments off

Usage and appraisal of educational media by homeopathic therapists: A cross sectional survey
Source: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Background
During recent years the market for homeopathic education media has increasingly diversified with old (books, seminars) and new media (video-seminars, pc-programs, homeo-wiki and internet-courses). However, little is known about homeopaths’ preferences in using educational media and their requirements of this topic. Aim: This survey was designed to gain a better understanding of the usage and appraisal of educational media by homeopaths.

Methods
192 homeopathic practitioners (GPs and health practitioners) at a educational conference were asked to answer a standardized questionnaire covering the topics “formal education and context of work” (9 items), “homeopathic practise and usage (24 items), “utilization of educational media” (9 items) and “favoured attributes for educational media” (11 items).

Results
Out of 192 homeopaths who attended the conference, 118 completed the questionnaire (response rate 61.5 %). For their continuing homeopathic education they predominantly indicated to use books (scale value from 0=never to 2=always: 1.72) and seminars (1.54) whereas journals (0.98) and the internet (0.65) were used less often. The most favoured attributes concerning medical education media were reliability (1.76), relevance for clinical practice (1.74) and user friendliness (1.6). Less favoured attributes were inexpensiveness (1.1), graphical material (0.92) and interactivity (0.88).

Conclusions
The survey illustrates the current situation of medical education media in homeopathy. Although there are parallels to earlier research conducted in conventional GPs, homeopaths are more likely to refer to classical media. New education tools should be designed according to these preferences.

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