Survey shows significant number of adults in their 60s use alternative medicines

BETHESDA, Md. According to a new nationwide government survey, 41 percent of adults in the United States between the ages of 60 and 69 use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, including dietary supplements, the National Institutes of Health noted Friday.

In an effort to help seniors in that age group identify appropriate remedies, NIH has added a Complementary and Alernative Medicine tab to its NIHSeniorHealth Web site, a site designed specifically for older adults.

“CAM covers a wide range of therapies and practices not currently considered part of conventional medicine,” said Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the NIH, which developed the topic. “Thus, it’s important to be well informed if you are considering using any. … It’s also important to inform your health care provider about any CAM therapies you may use.”

Older adults who go to http://nihseniorhealth.gov/cam/toc.html will find easy-to-understand information on the basics of CAM , as well as useful tips on how to be an informed consumer, choose a CAM practitioner and talk candidly with their doctor about CAM use.

According to the NIH, 68 percent of online seniors look for health and medical information when they go on the Web.

NIHSeniorHealth is a joint effort between the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. The site is based on the latest research on cognition and aging. It features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a number of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos, and an audio version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include dry eye and substance abuse among older adults.

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