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Neuroepidemiology 2011;36:46–51

Patterns of Mind-Body Therapies in Adults with Common Neurological Conditions

Erwin Wells R.a · Phillips R.S.b · McCarthy E.P.b
aDepartment of Neurology and bDivision of General Medicine and Primary Care, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Mind-body therapies
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Back pain
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Seizures
  • Memory impairment
  • Epidemiology

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background: Over 40% of adults with common neurological conditions use complementary and alternative medicine, and mind-body therapies are the most commonly used form. Our objective was to describe mind-body use in adults with common neurological conditions. Methods: We compared mind-body use between adults with and without common neurological conditions (regular headaches, migraines, back pain with sciatica, strokes, dementia, seizures or memory loss) using the 2007 National Health Interview Survey of 23,393 sampled American adults. Results: Adults with common neurological conditions used mind-body therapies more frequently than those without (24.5 vs. 16.6%, p < 0.0001); differences persisted after adjustment. Deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga were used most frequently. Nearly 70% of the adults with common neurological conditions did not discuss their mind-body use with their health care provider. Those with neurological conditions used mind-body therapies more than those without these conditions because of provider recommendation (26 vs. 13%) or because conventional treatments were perceived ineffective (12 vs. 4%) or too costly (7 vs. 2%), respectively. Conclusions: Mind-body therapies are used more frequently among adults with common neurological conditions, more often when conventional treatments were perceived ineffective. More research is warranted on the efficacy of mind-body use for common neurological conditions.

Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD
Department of Neurology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 (USA)
Tel. +1 617 632 8917, Fax +1 617 632 8920, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Received: July 29, 2010
Accepted: November 22, 2010
Published online: December 22, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 6
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 1, Number of References : 17

 goto top of outline Publication Details


Vol. 36, No. 1, Year 2011 (Cover Date: February 2011)

Journal Editor: Feigin V.L. (Auckland)
ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print), eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

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