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Can traditional Chinese medicine be used to treat children with cerebral palsy?


Taiwanese researchers conducted a large-scale survey of child patients with cerebral palsy (CP) to establish the patterns of complementary use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) among them. The results showed that the use of TCM improved primary symptoms and disorders associated with the brain disorder.

The study was funded by the China Medical University and the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare. Its results were published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • The survey involved 11,218 cerebral palsy patients who were no older than 18 years. They were added to the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database from 1995 to 2011.
  • Participants were classified according to whether or not they received TCM as part of their cerebral palsy treatment. A good number of TCM users are male, younger, and urban residents.
  • Among TCM users, Chinese herbal medicine saw use in relieving the primary symptoms of CP and related disorders. Symptoms involving injury, connective tissues, the musculoskeletal system, and the nervous system merited acupuncture treatment.
  • TCM users also showed better incidence rate ratios of allergic rhinitis, dyspepsia, menstrual problems, and diseases involving the connective tissue and the musculoskeletal system.
  • Furthermore, TCM users incurred more expenses due to their regular consultation with outpatient clinics. However, their expenses during their stay in the hospital or emergency room were much lower than non-TCM users.

The researchers concluded that large numbers of children with cerebral palsy received complementary treatment via traditional Chinese medicine. These patients appeared to benefit from the supplementary treatment.

You can read the full study here, or you can look for more articles about complementary ways of ameliorating human brain disorders at Brain.news.

Journal reference

Liao HH, Yen HR, Muo CH, Lee YC, Wu MY, Chou LW, Sun MF, Chang TT. COMPLEMENTARY TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE USE IN CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY: A NATIONWIDE RETROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY IN TAIWAN. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1668-5.



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