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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    The history of animal-assisted therapy

    National Pet Week is May 2-8.

    Nurse Janet Eggiman reports a 10-year-old girl with post-traumatic stress disorder and a history of physical and sexual abuse. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) was used as part of a broader cognitive behavioral therapy, with a dramatic change in behavior.

    Interesting, but of greater interest is the literature review of the history of AAT presented by Ms. Eggiman.

    No double blind comparative trials, but a series of case histories and descriptive reports.

    • 1998: Buster the dachshund as an adjunct to play therapy helped reduce anxiety and helped a child disclose abuse.
    • 1999: Murphy the Labrador Retriever helped a 4-year-old child with cerebral palsy take her first step.
    • 2001: Cody the Labrador helped 14 children with multiple disabilities to improve their attention span, physical movement, communication, and compliance.
    • 2003: Using therapy dogs at a reading program in Salt Lake City, all children increased their reading level by 2 grade levels, and some by 4 grade levels, at 13 months.
    • 2004: A study of middle-aged schizophrenic patients showed that over a 9-month program, patients showed improvement in adaptive functioning. At the beginning of each session, the therapy dog went around asking for affection.

    I know what you’re thinking. We wouldn’t accept this level of evidence for other CAM therapies.

    I agree, but stories of cute little animals melt my heart.

    There’s more here.

    Illustration: Laboratorio Scuola

    10/17/06 22:19 JR

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