Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy

Steve Helms
Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy

Orrin Devinsky, MD, Steven Schachter, MD, and Steven pacia, MD (eds) Demos Medical Publishing, 386 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016 ISBN 1-888799-89-7; Hardcover; 330 pages; $79.95

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy reports the perspective of many professionals (MD, ND, DO, DC, PhD) in treating this confounding nervous system pathology. Therapeutics are covered in 31 chapters that range in diversity from neurofeedback, meditation, acupuncture, hyperbaric oxygen, hormones, and manipulation, to music, art and pet therapies. Each chapter is organized at the author's discretion, includes a foundational review of the treatment modality, and maintains a brief position paper written by the editors (a commentary section) that describes each modality's application in modern medicine. Presenting the modalities that have scientific efficacy, their application, and for whom they best apply is the stalwart focus of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy.

An evidence-based approach is noted throughout the text and highlights the academic occupations of the editors. The introductory chapters clarify the distinctions between different study methods and explain the validity of scientific studies. Of note is the chapter regarding the over-reporting of double-blind studies.

The broad range of modalities are grouped into seven distinct sections. All physicians will benefit from the knowledge of the use of meditation, exercise, and the ketogenic diet in epilepsy, while incorporating other therapies into patient care may necessitate referral. The chapter on herbal therapy also covers herb-drug interactions, while the chapter entitled, Comprehensive Neurobehavioral Approach, highlights the 12 essential steps for patients seeking control of their epilepsy. Numerous approaches to promoting endocrine regulation are also discussed, as this appears to play a part in seizure frequency and severity in some women.

Unfortunately, the information is sometimes presented at a rudimentary level and therefore the text should not be confused with a protocol-specific resource. Nonetheless, Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy is a helpful and necessary text toward the relief of epileptic suffering. It will be of great benefit to practitioners trying to review epilepsy treatment options and acquire appreciation for a fitting patient referral. Overall, the text does a great service to medicine by acting as a bridge for skeptical physicians and even hospital and insurance administrators, while also presenting an overview of modalities not often discussed given society's focus on the immediate results of pharmacological drugs and surgery. Successful epilepsy treatments are a great persuader.

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