Integrative Medicine in Child Neurology: What Do Physicians Know and What Do They Want to Learn?

J Child Neurol. 2020 May 29;883073820925285. doi: 10.1177/0883073820925285. Online ahead of print.


Pediatric neurology patients frequently use integrative medicine; however, providers may feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar with these therapies. Child neurologist attitudes toward integrative medicine and educational needs in integrative medicine have not been assessed. A national, anonymous survey was distributed to Child Neurology residents (n=294) and program directors (n=71) to assess attitudes toward specific integrative medicine modalities, practices in discussing integrative medicine with patients, and perceived need for a curriculum on integrative medicine; 61 (17%) partially and 53 (15%) fully completed the survey. Comparative analyses applied chi-square and independent t tests. Qualitative content analysis was performed on free text responses. Most providers surveyed consider mind and body practices safe (93% of respondents) and effective (84%), but have concerns about the safety of chiropractic manipulation (56% felt this was harmful), and the efficacy of homeopathy (none considered this effective). Few inquire about patient integrative medicine use regularly. Child Neurology residents are interested in further education on this topic.

Keywords: child neurology; complementary and alternative medicine; integrative medicine; medical education; pediatric neurology; resident education.