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NCCIH blogs about research developments related to complementary health practices. Check in regularly to keep up with the latest findings.

May 30, 2018
NCCIH Blog Team

On Monday, June 4, at 11 a.m., Mary Jo Larson, Ph.D., M.P.A.will discuss “Caring for Our Military: Considering Nondrug Therapies for Pain.” Part of  NCCIH’s Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series, her talk will take place on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and will be streamed live and archived for later viewing at videocast.nih.gov. 

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Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.
March 06, 2018
Lanay Mudd, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Lanay Mudd describes NIH initiatives designed to enhance the accountability and transparency of clinical research.

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Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.
March 01, 2018
Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH Training Officer Dr. Lanay Mudd discusses research training and career development opportunities.

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Martina Schmidt
January 26, 2018
Martina Schmidt, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Martina Schmidt addresses the merits of joining NCCIH/NIH as a health scientist administrator/scientific review officer.

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Robin Elizabeth Boineau, M.D.
November 30, 2017
Robin Boineau, M.D.

In this research blog, Drs. Robin Boineau (NCCIH) and Kimberly Johnson (SAMHSA) discuss a new funding initiative to examine the impact of behavioral interventions for opioid addiction within the context of states’ plans for use of Opioid STR grant funds.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
November 14, 2017
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Josephine Briggs reviews her time as Director of NCCIH and discusses the Center’s focus on pain research.

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Catherine M. Meyers, M.D.
November 03, 2017
Catherine Meyers, M.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Catherine Meyers discusses The Living Textbook, a researcher-friendly compendium of information for designing, planning, and implementing pragmatic clinical trials.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
October 24, 2017
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Dr. Josephine Briggs, who recently stepped down as NCCIH Director, reflects on the NCCIH research portfolio and scientific curiosity.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
September 21, 2017
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

I am proud to announce NIH’s newest interagency research initiative on pain management in military service members and veterans. 

NCCIH, lead for this multi-agency initiative called the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory, is contributing more than half the funding for these 12 projects to develop, implement, and test nondrug approaches for managing pain and its related conditions in the military and veteran population―including opioid misuse, abuse, and disorder. The total funding for this project will be $81 million over 6 years. 

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Craig Hopp
June 07, 2017
Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Craig Hopp discusses NCCIH’s focus on natural products research.

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David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
May 24, 2017
By David Shurtleff, Ph.D.

Illnesses and deaths linked to tobacco smoking are a huge public health problem in the United States and worldwide. Although treatments such as counseling and medication are available to help people stop smoking, research indicates that these treatments are not always available or successful for every patient, and that an individualized approach is desirable.

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
May 18, 2017
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH Director of Extramural Research Dr. Emmeline Edwards discusses NIH/NCCIH funding opportunities in music and art therapies.

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
May 04, 2017
Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Find out more about a new series of funding opportunity announcements for investigator-initiated clinical trials, and register for this May 9 webinar: New NCCIH Funding Opportunities for Natural Products Clinical Trials.

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Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.
April 20, 2017
Lanay Mudd, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Lanay Mudd discusses the purpose of pilot studies and points to NCCIH’s new “Framework for Developing and Testing Mind and Body Interventions.”

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
April 12, 2017
Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

NCCIH to host informational webinars in April and May, 2017, on clinical trial applications via new funding opportunities.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
April 10, 2017
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine Briggs discusses new pathways for clinical trial funding.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
March 28, 2017
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post. NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine Briggs discusses NCCIH partnerships to research military/veteran health and how clinical practice guidelines affect research.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
March 02, 2017
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Last month, the American College of Physicians (ACP) released new clinical practice guidelines on noninvasive treatments for low-back pain, recommending that clinicians and patients initially select nonpharmacologic treatment as first-line therapy in most cases.

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NCCIH Logo
December 27, 2016
NCCIH Blog Team

Probiotics researcher Dr. John Cryan lecture is the subject of an online CME lecture titled “Towards Psychobiotics: The Microbiome as a Key Regulator of Brain and Behavior.”

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December 05, 2016
NCCIH Blog Team

Today, NCCIH grantee Dr. Christina Smolke from Stanford University will present her innovative research at the 2016 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium at NIH. Her team’s successful engineering of a yeast strain capable of making opioids was lauded in both Science and Nature in 2015.

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Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.
October 05, 2016
Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Partap Khalsa welcomes applicants for a program director position in the NCCIH Division of Extramural Research’s Basic and Mechanistic Research Branch.

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
September 27, 2016
Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Over the years, I have often been asked whether the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) will fund clinical trials of natural products. The answer is, “Yes.” NCCIH funds clinical research of natural products, including herbal products, botanicals, products marketed as dietary supplements, and probiotics.

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Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H.
September 01, 2016
Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H.

In this research blog post,

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
June 21, 2016
Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

One of NCCIH’s top scientific priorities involves assessing complementary health approaches via clinical trials that use innovative study designs.

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John S. Williamson, Ph.D.
June 21, 2016
John S. Williamson, Ph.D.

Join NCCIH’s Division of Extramural Research as a Program Director to drive investigations to better understand the human microbiome.

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Eve Reider, Ph.D.
June 16, 2016
Eve Reider, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Eve Reider discusses NCCIH initiatives that may help determine if and how complementary and integrative health approaches may contribute to disease prevention and health promotion across the lifespan.

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Craig Hopp, Ph.D.
June 14, 2016
Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Craig Hopp speaks to the necessity of using high-impact research approaches to uncover the biological signatures of complex natural products.

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Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.
June 09, 2016
Wen Chen, Ph.D.

In this blog report, Dr. Wen Chen talks about NCCIH objectives for research on neurobiological effects and mechanisms.

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Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.
June 07, 2016
Partap Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Partap Khalsa talks about NCCIH’s priorities for pain research, such as managing chronic pain via non-drug means.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
June 03, 2016
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine Briggs announces and outlines the Center’s 2016 Strategic Plan.

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
May 13, 2016
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Emmeline Edwards offers advice on NIH funding opportunities and mechanisms, and discusses the NCCIH-sponsored session on funding opportunities at the upcoming 2016 ICIMH meeting.

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Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.
May 10, 2016
Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Partap Khalsa discusses NCCIH priorities for pain research and highlights promising avenues of investigation.

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
May 10, 2016
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Emmeline Edwards discusses NCCIH priorities in pain and pain management research, & highlights NCCIH involvement at the 2016 American Pain Society’s annual meeting.

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Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.
April 28, 2016
Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Wen Chen discusses the need for mechanistic research in clinical studies.

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
April 25, 2016
Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

In this blog post, Dr. Wendy Weber talks about an upcoming session at the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (ICIMH) that deals with what NCCIH is looking for in clinical research applications.

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John S. Williamson, Ph.D.
April 22, 2016
John Williamson

In this blog post, Dr. John Williamson of NCCIH’s Division of Extramural Research talks about two projects that have received NCCIH funding via SBIR grants.

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David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
March 18, 2016
David Shurtleff, Ph.D.

This blog post announces the upcoming NIH event: “Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit” to be held March 22-23, 2016.

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Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.
March 16, 2016
Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.

Effective management of pain is a major medical challenge in our country at the present time. An estimated 11.2% of the U.S. adult population suffers from chronic pain and the economic cost of pain is well over half a trillion dollars a year.

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Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.
March 04, 2016
Partap Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Partap Khalsa reports on the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health Working Group on Clinician-Scientist Workforce Development.

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NCCIH Logo
February 01, 2016
NCCIH Research Blog Team

The National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health will hold its first meeting of 2016 on Feb. 5.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
January 05, 2016
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine Briggs calls attention to some of the eminent research performed by NCCIH grantees in 2015.

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Dale Birkle Dreer, Ph.D.
November 05, 2015
Dale Birkle Dreer, Ph.D.

SROs are scientists, most are former faculty members and NIH grantees, who manage the first level of peer review, commonly known as the study section. SROs are the people who take the first thorough look at your application, determine the expertise required for the review, recruit the external scientists to match that expertise, manage the study section meeting where the applications are discussed and scored, and prepare the summary statement for your application.

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Ashlee Tipton, Ph.D.
October 22, 2015
Ashlee Tipton, Ph.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH scientist Ashlee Tipton discusses compiling a list of natural product libraries on the NCCIH website.

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Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.
October 16, 2015
Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.

New RFAs represent NCCIH’s new funding mechanisms direct research attention toward investigating the mechanisms by which: 1) mind and body interventions might work, and 2) strategies to optimize these interventions.

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Catherine M. Meyers, M.D.
October 13, 2015
Catherine Meyers, M.D.

Blinding, which helps minimize the potential for introducing bias into study results and maximize objectivity, is an important aspect of clinical research.

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Craig Hopp
September 14, 2015
D. Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

Dr. Craig Hopp announces NCCIH’s grant for a new Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction Research in this blog post.

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
May 08, 2015
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

NCCIH priorities in pain research and cutting-edge pain management research will be presented at the upcoming 2015 American Pain Society (APS) meeting, as Dr. Emmeline Edwards explains in this blog post.

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
March 24, 2015
Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

In this blog post, NCCIH Branch Chief Dr. Wendy Weber describes the use of the R34 funding mechanism for early stages of clinical research on mind and body interventions.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
November 20, 2014
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

NCCAM Director Dr. Josephine Briggs discusses the role of integrative medicine in symptom management in cancer survivors in this blog post.

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David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
November 14, 2014
David Shurtleff, Ph.D.

In this blog post, NCCAM Deputy Director Dr. David Shurtleff explains changes in NCCAM’s oversight process for clinical trials.

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Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.
September 25, 2014
Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Kristen Huntley describes a new research initiative on nondrug approaches to pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel and veterans.

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
June 24, 2014
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Emmeline Edwards, director of the Division of Extramural Research, reflects on the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (IRCIMH) meeting in Miami.

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David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
May 28, 2014
David Shurtleff, Ph.D.

In this blog post, NCCAM Deputy Director Dr. David Shurtleff talks about NCCAM’s role in President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
May 12, 2014
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

NCCAM Director Dr. Josephine Briggs comments on unexpected results of clinical studies, including results from the NIH-sponsored Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), in this blog post.

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April 16, 2014
Barbara Stussman

In this blog post, NCCAM statistician Barbara Stussman discusses the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which asked about Americans’ use of complementary and alternative medicine..

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Craig Hopp
January 24, 2014
D. Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

I have an exciting new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to tell you about: the “Center for Advancing Natural Products Innovation and Technology (U41),” or RFA-AT-14-006. This grant is part of a diverse portfolio of projects on natural products research cosponsored by NCCAM and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). The goal of this FOA is to improve upon and strengthen the technologies and methods used in natural-products research—leading to better understanding of the biology and chemistry of natural products and how they impact health and wellness.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
November 21, 2013
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Earlier this week, a new secondary analysis of results of the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes and presented at the American Heart Association meeting. The analysis suggests that the EDTA-based chelation treatments produced a marked reduction in cardiovascular events and death in participants with diabetes. Furthermore, the results suggest that treatments had no benefit in those who did not have diabetes.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
November 14, 2013
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Chronic low-back pain is one of the most common and costly health complaints. It can be debilitating, and it remains a tough condition to diagnose, treat, and study. Spinal manipulative therapy is often used to treat a large portion of low-back pain in the United States, and is included in current clinical practice guidelines for treatment of this condition. Yet, recommendations for duration and frequency vary widely and there is no consensus on its efficacy.

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Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.
August 30, 2013
Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.

Two winters ago, I was skiing at a local ski area and became intrigued by an activity I saw there. Two groups—Wounded Warrior Project and Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation—were on the mountain that day. They sponsor programs to help wounded service members find ways, through adaptive sports, to ease back into active lives.

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Catherine Bushnell
August 14, 2013
M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.

Summer 2013 marks the first anniversary of Dr. Catherine Bushnell’s appointment as Scientific Director of NCCAM’s Division of Intramural Research. You can find out more about Dr. Bushnell and the Division here. The blog team asked Dr. Bushnell for a few reflections on her first year at NCCAM.

The first year of the new NCCAM intramural pain research program has been a great success.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
June 18, 2013
Josephine Briggs, M.D.

Today, Liz Szabo of USA Today offers a thoughtful look into the field of complementary and alternative health. Szabo cites cautionary tales of unfounded health claims and aggressive marketing come-ons that can be common.  Yet, she makes room for another critical point—a number of complementary health practic

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Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.
May 17, 2013
Partap Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.

As we know, chronic low back pain (cLBP) is an enormous public-health problem—and a frustrating one to patients, health-care providers, and researchers. Up to one-quarter of Americans experience LBP per year, and for some, that pain becomes chronic—a condition that costs the United States an estimated $100 billion per year. Current best practices for its diagnosis and treatment are only partially successful.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
February 28, 2013
Josephine Briggs, M.D.

In my talks to the scientific community, I often stress the importance of basic and translational research in creating a foundation for definitive clinical investigation. Developing insight into physiological effects and mechanism of action is critical to the scientific evidence base that guides clinical practice and public use, and it has the significant potential to inform other fields of biomedical research. I am pleased that NCCAM is supporting such important research.

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Craig Hopp
February 13, 2013
D. Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

In addition to funding research at academic institutions, the National Institutes of Health supports research by small businesses throughout the United States. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program are two programs established by Congress to support small businesses and commercialization of federally funded research.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
February 08, 2013
Josephine Briggs, M.D.

Two years ago, in February 2011, we released NCCAM’s Third Strategic Plan. The plan articulated our Center’s goals and objectives and presented a structure for determining priorities for future research. As we greet this anniversary, I’m pleased to report that we are successfully putting the plan into action.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
February 05, 2013
Josephine Briggs, M.D.

The U.S. population is a rapidly aging one. In the coming years, many, if not most of us, will face changes and challenges—in our family members, friends, and/or ourselves—related to health problems that occur with aging. These include dementia, which, although not a normal part of aging, is common in very elderly people. One problem that is sometimes overlooked in considering the burdens of dementia is its effects on the health of family members who assume the burdens of care. We are proud to be supporting several studies of interventions that aim to help caregivers.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
January 16, 2013
Josephine Briggs, M.D.

NCCAM has supported a fair number of studies on the potential health benefits of yoga. Of particular interest has been exploring the role of yoga as a strategy for alleviating symptoms such as chronic pain or stress or for promoting healthier lifestyles. There is still a lot we don’t know, but there is a growing body of clinical research evidence that now suggests that yoga can enhance quality of life, reduce psychological stress, and improve some mental health outcomes.

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John S. Williamson, Ph.D.
December 20, 2012
John Williamson, Ph.D.

Recently, six of NCCAM’s outstanding natural products research grantees were invited to present posters following the 2012 Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Health Therapies delivered by David Kingston, Ph.D. Their research presentations were a small sample of the importance and scientific merit of natural products research supported by NCCAM, and they complemented Dr. Kingston’s talk.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
December 04, 2012
Josephine Briggs, M.D

We are planning a series of blog posts to highlight some exciting work from our research portfolio. Research we support has led to more than 3,000 peer-reviewed papers; hundreds are published each year. We plan to highlight a few here, choosing examples that illustrate both the promise and the challenges of research on complementary health practices.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
August 07, 2012
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

The July 16 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published an editorial addressing the debate as to whether complementary medicine courses should be taught in Australian universities. In many ways, the debate in Australia parallels debates here in the United States, and indeed debates on this blog. 

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
July 05, 2012
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

This past month my daughter gave me a set of meditation CDs for mother’s day, and I have begun to put them to good use—but I have to admit that it has not been all that easy to quiet my brain and be in “a state of mind cultivated by paying attention on purpose, deeply, and without judgment to whatever arises in the present moment, either inside or outside of us.” Not one to give up easily, I have continued my 20 minutes of meditation practice daily but as a neuroscientist, I would really love to better understand what goes on in my brain during these sessions&he

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
June 18, 2012
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Two weeks ago was the occasion of the NIH Pain Consortium 7th Annual Symposium on Advances in Pain Research. It was a great meeting, and we heard some terrific science presented. Modern neuroscience is clearly opening up our understanding of how the brain processes painful stimuli, and is yielding insights about how emotional states (or even placebo pills) modify the processing of pain in the brain.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
May 17, 2012
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Welcome to NCCAM’s new Research Blog. I am excited to have a new place for a dialogue about the complex and interesting issues surrounding the research that the Center is supporting.

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