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Alternative therapies may harm the health of children

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

After a child has received a positive celiac disease test, diabetes test or been diagnosed with any other type of chronic disease, parents often seek alternative therapies to either augment or replace the treatments prescribed by doctors.

However, a new study from Australian researchers has found that complimentary medicines (CAMs) often do more harm than good.

A team of investigators from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia analyzed data from nationwide surveys about the health and treatment of children with chronic illnesses between 2001 and 2003.

They found that during this time, 39 cases of adverse outcomes - including four deaths - were reported in children receiving CAMs. Of these cases, the researchers found that the alternative therapies given to the children were the direct cause of the health problems in 77 percent of cases.

The researchers found reports of allergic reactions, malnourishment, oral ulcers, seizures, vomiting, stunted growth and infections.

The authors said in their report that talking with families after their child has been diagnosed with a chronic illness may help prevent parents from seeking potentially dangerous alternative therapies. 

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