National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
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NCCIH Research Blog

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

December 10, 2018

In this blog post, NCCIH director Dr. Helene Langevin and deputy director Dr. David Shurtleff discuss the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative and NCCIH’s participation in the project.

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Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H.
December 04, 2018
Richard Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H.

In this blog post, Dr. Richard Nahin, lead epidemiologist at NCCIH, discusses the importance of studying trends in populations and how that relates to complementary and integrative practices, as well as the study of chronic pain.

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
October 15, 2018
Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Given our Center’s longstanding interests in funding rigorous research of complementary and integrative health approaches for pain, we are enthusiastic about a potential new translational research initiative that will address the need for effective and personalized therapies for chronic low back pain – the NIH Back Pain Research Consortium (BACPAC)

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David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
July 26, 2018
David Shurtleff, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Acting NCCIH Director Dr. David Shurtleff discusses highlights from the 2018 symposium, “From Science to Society: At the Intersection of Chronic Pain Management and the Opioid Crisis” & invites people to attend a one-day pain symposium co-sponsored by NCCIH on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 in advance of the World Congress on Pain.

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David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
July 25, 2018
David Shurtleff, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Acting NCCIH Director Dr. David Shurtleff discusses NCCIH and NIH plans that focus on the opioid epidemic and problems with which it is often associated: pain; chronic pain; substance misuse and addiction; and mental health problems. 

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Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.
July 11, 2018
Wen G. Chen, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr, Wen Chen calls attention to a chronic pain symposium organized by the NCCIH Pain Working Group that precedes the 2018 World Congress on Pain.

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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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Merav Sabri, Ph.D.
May 08, 2018
Merav Sabri, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Merav Sabri, of NCCIH’s Division of Extramural Research, discusses the scientific basis for manual therapies and their use in treating chronic pain conditions, and also addresses an NCCIH-sponsored symposium about this at ICIMH on May 11, 2018.

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March 05, 2018
NCCIH Research Blog Team

Information about three upcoming lectures on pain and pain managementby NCCIH-funded researchers on pain and its management (forming NCCIH’s Spring 2018 Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series).

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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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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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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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Eve Reider, Ph.D.
January 04, 2017
Eve Reider

NIH, DoD, VA join forces to explore nonpharmacologic approaches to complement current strategies for pain management.

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October 11, 2016
NCCIH Research Blog Team

Roger Chou, M.D., will lecture on “Opioids for Chronic Pain: Evidence, Guidelines, and Policy and Practice Implications,” on Monday, Oct. 17, at NIH.

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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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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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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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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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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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John S. Williamson, Ph.D.
December 21, 2015
John S. Williamson, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. John S. Williamson congratulates NCCIH grantee Dr. Christina Smolke and her colleagues for engineering a yeast strain capable of synthesizing opioids.

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
December 16, 2015
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Emmeline Edwards, Director of NCCIH’s Division of Extramural Research, discusses new funding opportunities that focus on broad potential therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses of non-invasive neuromodulation devices for the central nervous system.

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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
August 11, 2015
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine Briggs discusses new research findings that 11.2 percent of Americans experience chronic pain and 17.6 percent suffer from severe pain. NCCIH is leading efforts to find nondrug approaches for treating pain and related conditions.

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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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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
February 11, 2015
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post, NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine Briggs discusses a report from a working group of NCCIH’s Advisory Council that recommends large-scale collaborative pain research to benefit military personnel and veterans.

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

This blog post by NCCAM Director Dr. Josephine Briggs presents a video clip about new research standards for low-back pain.

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December 04, 2014
NCCAM Blog Team

A new workshop summary that describes research needs on the interaction between sleep and pain is discussed in this blog post.

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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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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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Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
July 14, 2014
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

In this blog post, NCCAM Director Dr. Josephine Briggs explains the Center’s efforts to help address the serious problems of chronic pain and opioid use among members of the U.S. military.

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Partap S. Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.
May 01, 2014
Partap Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D.

In this blog post, Dr. Partap Khalsa, Deputy Director of NCCAM’s Division of Extramural Research, discusses new recommended standards for research on chronic low-back pain.

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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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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.
April 29, 2013
Josephine Briggs, M.D.

Since the beginning of NCCAM, the starting point for us has been the “real-world” use of complementary health approaches. Over time, we have supported a number of surveys and other observational studies, and have learned a good deal about the choices Americans are making in complementary approaches, the reasons they cite, and the associated costs. There is more to learn, of course, but we have pretty good descriptive data about real-world practices. And we have learned that the focus of most use is on pain management.

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

As the Nation’s medical research agency, NIH supports the full spectrum of pain research, from increasing basic understanding of pain mechanisms through translating new discoveries into prevention and treatment strategies. Pain is a major strategic focus for NCCAM in the context of complementary health approaches. About 30 percent of NCCAM’s research portfolio supports research on pain. Our intramural research program, headed by Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., focuses on the role of the brain in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain.

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Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.
July 24, 2012
Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.

We frequently hear news about the returning military troops and the health issues that they face following service in Iraq and Afghanistan. A large number of veterans experience pain on a regular basis and post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression, and substance use tend to co-occur. Many nonmilitary people in the United States also struggle with these issues and there is an urgent need for research to identify strategies that are helpful, as well as identify strategies that may be in use that do not help with these problems.

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Catherine Bushnell
July 18, 2012
Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.

Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., an internationally recognized pain and neuroscience researcher, has been appointed scientific director of a new research program focusing on the role of the brain in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. In this video, she discusses the new collaborative pain research effort at NIH.

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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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