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Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 May-Jun;8(3):84-6.

The Internet as a research tool in complementary and alternative medicine: a pilot study.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, College of Physicians and Surgeions, Columbia University, NY, USA.


Information on the use of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies is sometimes difficult to obtain from consumers. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Internet as a research tool in CAM to obtain information from these consumers about the use of psychotropic herbs and drugs. A survey on psychotropic herb and drug usage was posted on 138 mental-health newsgroups on the Internet. After 38 days, 72 (71%) of the 102 respondents reported usage of psychotropic medication and 68 (67%) reported usage of psychotropic herbs during the preceding 12 months. The Internet is a potential tool to reach consumers of CAM for research purposes. The study design requires modification, and the findings need cautious interpretation for further research using the Internet as a venue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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