In homeopathic medicine, considerable importance is given to the individual constitution. This is either for the purpose of understanding the patient or for selecting the most appropriate constitutional remedy. Practitioners vary in the extent to which this is emphasized. “Constitution” in this context means a composite built from the following factors: illness symptoms, personality, behavior, fears and emotional features, likes and dislikes (e.g. certain foods, weather, diurnal influences) and general physical characteristics and habits.

Davidson and colleagues at Duke University, together with a group of physicians at the Royal London Homeopathic Medicine under leadership of the late Dr. Peter Fisher, designed, developed and published a self-rated questionnaire to assess nineteen of the more commonly used homeopathic constitutional remedies. The questionnaire also matches each remedy to eight widely recognized constitutional elements associated with good response to that remedy. This 152-item scale has been shown to have acceptable psychometric properties established on over 400 patients. The scale may best be thought of as a kind of expanded personality inventory, to which are added the other five features of the constitution identified above.

This scale, the Constitutional Type Questionnaire (CTQ©), is believed to be one of the first of its kind. It may be useful either in baseline assessment or guiding to the constitutional remedy. This scale, or others like it, might find additional uses in medicine. This is particularly true with today’s emphasis on personalized medicine because individual health information is what the CTQ provides. Illness features are combined with additional personal information from the other domains. Indeed, this has already been suggested from a series of studies by Iris Bell and her colleagues at the University of Arizona. In one study of 104 college students, different CTQ profiles were related to general health, as well as with interactions observed between profiles and perceived parental caring, and CTQ profiles and chemical sensitivity, both being associated with certain outcomes.

The CTQ also related to measures of neuroticism and extraversion (Bell et al, 2002). A later study by Bell et al (2011) found relationships between CTQ sulphur and certain EEG responses to olfactory presentation of the remedy, as well as different relationships between pulsatilla and EEG power. A third report by the Arizona group showed that adults typed on the CTQ as high or low on coffea cruda or nux vomica manifested different responses to the drugs in terms of tension and hostility (Brooks et al, 2010). For the last-mentioned study, Bell and colleagues added a panel of eight questions to the CTQ that represented the features of caffeine (coffea cruda). Coffea cruda and nux vomica also produced differential effects on the polysomnogram (Bell et al, 2011).

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