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    Describe how this complementary medicine, psychoneuroimmunology, is an ethical or legal issue regarding its use in treatment and what it brings to healthcare providers.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com December 24, 2021, 10:46 pm ad1c9bdddf

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    Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)

    What is PNI?

    The scientific study behind PNI is called psychoneuroimmunology (Psychology, P; Neurology, N; and Immunology, I). While neurology and immunology have been the foundation of much of the current body of knowledge, both systems (N and I) are connected to the psychological system. A psycho-neuro-immunological approach is very holistic, thus taking all the aspects of an individual into account in order to better understand the symptoms they are presented with, illnesses, and diseases. The field has been especially helpful in the world of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In essence, the theoretical basis for this explains and supports the relationship between the immune system and the brain, which the research has supported for decades now; the mind truly influences the processes and events in the body.

    The field was discovered in the 1980s, when researchers connected the fact that there was indeed a rich supply of nerves connecting the brain to the immune system. This led to this branch of science: psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). While the field is in its infancy in terms of research years, a shift from the solely biomedical thinking/model, including personal, psychological, and bodily processes, are viewed distinct and separate.

    Healthcare providers (HCPs) can/will benefit from this field. For example; they will be better able to connect the dots and the relationship between stressful life events and heightened risks of illness involved. They will understand the psychosocial influences on the immune system and the risks of immune-related illness as a result, and determine stress and psychosocial mediators. This is done by keeping an open mind and thinking of healing in a more holistic manner-a combination of Ying and Yang of sorts. PNI is part of the alternative/complementary categories of health care. HCPs can truly understand, in a non-biomedical way, more ways in which our minds influence our bodies. Further advances and research psychoneuroimmunology will be able to illuminate such examples.

    More patients with acute and chronic conditions are turning to complementary alternative medicine (CAM) nowadays. They are seeking answers they have not been getting from the biomedical model of health -means of managing both chronic and acute medical conditions, often without the knowledge of their healthcare providers. That said, however, it is important they are aware of some of the issues surrounding CAM:

    Some of the ethical and legal issues surrounding the field include several of these factors (but are not limited to them):

    *Up to 72% patients who use CAM do not inform their HCPs (medically and legally risky) (NCAM, 2012).
    *This means HCPs need to probe more, ask direct, nonjudgmental questions so as to know what their patients are up to, and see if they are involved in any form of CAM.
    *Some therapies/supplements/herbs, which are not government regulated by the FDA for effectiveness or medicinal purposes, and could also contain contaminants.
    *It is only ethical that HCPs and nurses alike ask educated patients about the use of therapies. This is done by tactfully asking questions that are ethical and documenting interactions and responses from patients without crossing ethical boundaries. This is accomplished while ensuring that CAM does not interfere with the patient's medical treatments.


    In Touch. MS Society (2008). PNI: Understanding how the mind and body work together. Retrieved from http://www.mssociety.org.au/documents/intouch/intouch-autumn08.pdf


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