A recent article appeared in the October issue of Contemporary Pediatrics, systematically questioning the efficacy of various alternative treatments used for atopic dermatitis. It's unfortunate that this kind of mis-information is so rampant.
It is of note that the author is a pediatrician–but not either a dermatologist or holistic/integrative practitioner. He is still stuck in the "disease model" and seems to have no idea about the conceptual basis for the application of alternative medicine to atopic dermatitis.
Use of alternative therapies and diets must vary according to each person, using an understanding of the specific patient, our culture, and the pathophysiologic syndromes understood in alternative and functional medicine. Treatments that work with some people may not work with others. For example, giving probiotics without understanding and addressing the factors in yeast overgrowth will lead to less than desirable results.
As a practitioner of Holistic and Integrative Dermatology, I can attest to the number of variables involved in controlling atopy, and the difficulty in getting patients to co-operate with their protocol and success with patients in a manner that meets their time expectations. It takes time and more exchange of information than conventional care.
Speaking as a health professional, I'll share that from behind-the-scenes, it requires a good understanding of dermatology, immunology, and alternative medicine, in order to avoid one or two omissions or errors that negate the benefits of the rest of the protocol, and to understand the meaning of various responses to exposures and treatments.
For example, it has taken me years to be able to use natural methods to successfully clear patients with severe acne who have seen multiple dermatologists and alternative practitioners. I can't imagine how the author of this article could have the perspective to make any meaningful pronouncement on the effectiveness of alternative medicine in Atopic Dermatitis. I do agree that more studies are necessary. However, they need to be designed with an understanding of the healing systems being applied, beyond the disease model.
To your health,
Dr. Alan M Dattner, MD
As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.