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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 00:17 GMT 01:17 UK
Asthma youths in homeopathy trial
Vials of homeopathy medication
Homeopathic remedies will be given alongside traditional medicine
Medics in Bristol are to test whether homeopathic remedies can help children with asthma.

The city's homeopathic hospital is to run a pilot scheme to find out if, used alongside conventional treatments, homeopathy can reduce asthma symptoms.

It follows a larger-scale six-year study which suggested children with the condition could be helped by it.

Experts are looking for 80 youngsters aged seven to 16 with severe asthma to take part in the trial.

The children, who must be new to homeopathic treatment, will be assessed once a month for four months.

Health changes

Bristol Homeopathic Hospital is one of five NHS homeopathic hospitals in the UK.

In 2005, the results of a six-year study of more than 6,500 patients at the hospital showed more than two thirds of those with chronic diseases reported positive health changes after homeopathic treatment.

The biggest improvements were seen in children with asthma.

Dr Elizabeth Thompson, consultant homeopathic physician, said: "A recent review of homeopathy for asthma suggested the available evidence was inconclusive and that more trials needed to be done.

"The diagnosis of asthma in children has increased over the past 10 years and constitutes a significant burden to children, their families and to the National Health Service.

"Homeopathy offers a non-drug approach in the management of asthma, which is one of the 10 most common reasons for referral to Bristol Homeopathic Hospital."

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