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Rachel Arthur: To what extent does industry
influence naturopathic practice: zinc testing as a case
The medical profession's dependence upon industry sponsored education is a major point of contention in modern medicine. Interactions between doctors and industry consistently result in altered clinical practice behaviours, producing at times clinical decisions that are both irrational and inconsistent with evidence-based guidelines. However the majority of doctor's report being unaware of the degree to which industry influences their behaviour. The results of a survey (n=117) assessing methods of zinc assessment used by Australian naturopaths imply that the same phenomenon may be at play. The zinc taste test (ZTT) was reported to be used by the majority of practitioners (88%) in this survey. Respondents were asked where they had learnt about their zinc assessment techniques and subsequently asked to rate how influential a range of issues had been upon their decision to use this method, including clinical concerns, philosophy, access, independent education and commercial influences. Of the 83 respondents who reported learning about their primary zinc assessment method from company seminars, 50.6% (n = 59) reported that 'commercial influences' had no effect upon their decision to adopt this method. This apparent anomaly may be due to a methodological artifact or constitute an accurate reflection of low levels of awareness by naturopaths regarding the impact of industry exposure on their clinical practices. In this presentation I report findings from this survey, specifically focusing on the disjuncture between industry as a source of information and naturopaths' perceived understanding of its influence on their clinical behaviour.
Rachel Canaway: CAM use among people with type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease: who is doing what?
The Monash University CAMELOT study investigated care-seeking, self-management and the motivators, costs, benefits and barriers of complementary therapy use among people with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. Around 3000 Victorians with these conditions were surveyed and 69 interviewed, providing a wealth of information on their health-maintenance behaviours. In this presentation Rachel reviews CAMELOT findings with a focus on their policy and practice significance, against the backdrop of the current political climate of natural therapies, including debates about professional regulation, integration, evidence and emerging consumer trends. Throughout the presentation the relevance of these findings for herbalists and naturopaths is underlined.