Bethesda, MD.–From meditation to magnets…the vast popularity of unconventional medical therapies has risen sharply over the past decade—to the extent that in 1997, Americans spent an estimated $21 billion out-of-pocket for these treatments. People decide to use complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) for a variety of reasons; however, few CAM methods have been proven safe and effective.
Recognizing the need to provide authoritative CAM information, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), two components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have partnered to launch a new CAM subset of a larger medical literature database that will provide free, Web-based access to CAM sources of information.
CAM on PubMed® is a new subset or part of PubMed, which is a free system offered by NLM that provides an easy way to access over 11 million citations and abstracts in the MEDLINE database and additional life science journals. MEDLINE currently covers nearly 4,500 journals published in the United States and more than 70 other countries. Approximately 60 percent of the indexed journals are published outside of the United States. In addition, PubMed links to over 1,700 journals for full text of articles (some publishers may require a subscription or fee) and provides links to citations of relevant MEDLINE articles. CAM on PubMed® provides direct access to more than 220,000 references and abstracts related to CAM, as well as provides access to many full text articles.
“This joint venture will offer health professionals, CAM practitioners, researchers, educators, and consumers ready access to a comprehensive database of journal citations directly related to complementary and alternative medicine,” said Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., NLM Director. “Through CAM on PubMed®, NLM and NCCAM are providing a highly visible, easily identifiable portal to the evolving field of CAM research publications.”
The CAM on PubMed® subset currently contains over 220,000 citations (records) of journal articles related to CAM research. As the field of research in complementary and alternative medicine grows and more articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, the service will greatly expand. “This is an important and exciting undertaking,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “The opportunity to join forces with the world’s largest resource for biomedical literature represents a major step in mainstreaming CAM research information. The NLM possesses unparalleled expertise and experience to create and maintain this unique service,” Dr. Straus concluded.
CAM on PubMed® offers literature and retrieval services, as well as article titles and abstracts related to CAM, and entire research reports. It is a service we hope will greatly benefit researchers, CAM practitioners, health care providers, students, and patients and their family members. For additional information about CAM on PubMed®, a question and answer fact sheet is provided.
NLM technical staff will maintain and evaluate the CAM subset of PubMed, as well as review CAM-related journal articles on a regular basis and provide customer service to users.