The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Cranial manipulation and echinacea for middle ear infection

     Among the more common complementary therapies used in young children with recurrent otitis media are Echinacea purpurea and cranial osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

    This study, by researchers at the University of Arizona, is the first well-designed study of each treatment.

    First, the details.

    • 90 children, aged 12-60 months with recurrent otitis media, participated.
      • “Recurrent” meant at least 3 episodes within 6 months, or at least 4 episodes in a year.
    • Children were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments.
      • Echinacea + sham OMT
      • OMT (including cranial manipulation) + placebo echinacea
      • Echinacea + OMT
      • Placebo echinacea + placebo OMT
    • Echinacea treatment was an alcohol extract of E. purpurea roots and seeds taken for 10 days at the first sign of a common cold.
    • 5 OMT visits (or sham treatments) were offered over 3 months.
    • The children and the researchers were not aware of the treatment given – double-blind.

    And, the results.

    • None of the treatments had an effect on otitis media.

    The bottom line?

    • None of the treatments had an effect on otitis media.

    This study was supported by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

    10/5/08 19:55 JR

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