Study: Older adults don't discuss alternative medicine use with docs

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Many boomers may meditate or take herbal supplements, but their doctors likely don't know it, a new study finds.

Only 69% of those 50 and older who use complementary and alternative medicine talk to their doctors about it, according to a new survey conducted by AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health. CAM is presently not considered to be part of conventional medicine. It includes such products and practices as herbal supplements, meditation, homeopathy and acupuncture.

Why don't these patients discuss their habits? Some reasons why, according to the study: The physicians never asked (42%); they did not know that they should (30%); or there was not enough time during the office visit (19%). The telephone survey was administered to 1,559 people aged 50 or older.

(Published on 1-19-07)