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NCCIH’s New Strategic Plan: Exploring the Science of Complementary and Integrative Health

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

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View Dr. Briggs' biographical sketch

Today we are releasing NCCIH’s fourth strategic plan, Exploring the Science of Complementary and Integrative Health. Our plan outlines the Center’s strategic direction in complementary and integrative health research. It identifies three core scientific  objectives:

  • Fundamental Science and Methods Development,
  • Improving Care for Hard-to-Manage Symptoms,
  • Fostering Health Promotion and Disease Prevention,

 and two cross-cutting objectives:

  • Enhancing the Complementary and Integrative Health Research Workforce,
  • Disseminating Objective Evidence-Based Information on Complementary and Integrative Health Interventions.

We developed the plan after thoroughly assessing developments in science, medicine, and health care and requesting input from stakeholders during an 18-month long planning process.

In the new plan we also include a detailed assessment of opportunities and gaps in the Center’s current top priority areas. They are as follows:

  • Nonpharmacologic management of pain,
  • Neurobiological effects and mechanisms,
  • Innovative approaches for establishing biological signatures of natural products,
  • Disease prevention and health promotion across the lifespan,
  • Clinical trials utilizing innovative study designs to assess complementary health approaches and their integration into health care,
  • Communications strategies and tools to enhance scientific literacy and understanding of clinical research.

We anticipate this portion of the plan will be a living document. The existing topics will be updated and new priority areas will emerge as dictated by the science and public health needs. Over the next three weeks, we will be profiling each of the six research priorities areas on this blog. The priority areas outlined in the plan do not encompass all of NCCIH’s research interests; our Center will continue to rely on and support highly meritorious investigator-initiated grant applications covering an array of research highlighted in the broader strategic plan.

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Would be interested in hearing more details about the “Innovative approaches for eastablishing biological signatures of natural products”

Please consider the use of UVA1 phototherapy in the treatment of lupus. ability to up-regulate patients’ immune systems with light, would have a profound positive impact not only upon the individual, but the potential cost savings to our health care system would be substantial.Consequently, the drug companies don’t like it. 

I would like to offer a strategic bit of understanding that may aide in your research efforts as well as a suggestion.1. When designing your research studies in regards to Acupuncture it is paramount that the hypothesis be based in an actual East Asian Medical diagnosis. An allopathic diagnosis of knee pain, for example, is not sufficient to determine a good experiment or control. There are more than 5 separate EAM diagnoses for knee pain each of which requiring completely different treatment protocols.2. Studies cetered on Acupuncture should be controlled trials as opposed random controlled trials. The techniques used for control such as sham acupuncture or acupressure are not inert. The result frequently is for the null thus asserting effects are d/t placebo and still further that point selection does not matter. Flatly incorrect both by virtue of systemic understanding and through actual practice, though my input is anecdotal.3. Lastly my suggestion. You should have experts from fields other than allopathic medicine on staff and performing these research activities. If you do seek to truly understand this medicine quantitatively and qualitatively it will shorten your path to truth.Regards,Martin Retherford, DOM

Finally! I’d be dead if I hadn’t listened to what my body was telling me. If the Doc’s can’t write a Rx that helps a patient, they don’t know what to do. Healing is an art and one size doesn’t fit everyone.

As President of the American Dance Therapy Association I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on this outstanding proposal; it is a comprehensive plan that will help to shine a stronger light on the role and benefits of the complimentary and integrative healing arts. It would be my pleasure to assist you in any way I can as you move forward. 

As and 84 year old I am experiencing sarcopenia despite regular exercise and would appreciate emphasis on how to maintain my muscle strength as I get older. I do not see anything about this in the future plans.

Psychoneuroimmunology  (PNI) is a promising discipline that is established on realistic interdependence between the important domains of neuroscience and immunology.  However, for want of a theory of consciousness,  PNI is found to be lacking in developing the “psycho” component of it which is necessary for clinical studies in mind-body interactions.  Based on our Unified Cognitive Field Theory of Consciousness (UCFTC) (1), we propose to enhance the scope of  PNI by designing a guided imagery of Higher Power as a source of infinite benevolence which can be practiced to enhance its healing power in proportion to how efficiently one conceptualizes its meaning.     In particular, we postulate that  meditating on meaningfulness emerging as cognitive-emotive energy can be realized in terms of the cognitive effort exerted to arrive at the meaning of the imagery of Higher Power as the healing mechanism.  Healing can be maximized by the individuals in proportion to how consciously and accurately they learn to maditate on the imagery as the infinite source of benevolence and hopefulness.Based on a preliminary evaluation of effectiveness of the imagery of Higher Power in continuing educational seminars, based on a questionare, the participants comprising of health care givers, rated as 85% (on a scale of one to ten) for the ease of learning and practicing of the imagery, and for its application in a truly pluralistic patient-physician setting, thereby avoiding use of multiple chaplains. Also, the imagery of Higher Power is economically cost effective. 1. Husain, sirajul. A Non-reductive theory of Consciousness based on Non-coding RNA gene. J. NeuroQuantology. June 2015.Husain, Sirajul. The Role of Mind in Designing a Meaningful Guided Imagery of Higher Power for Application in Psychoneuroimmunology. J. NeuroQuantology.  In press.

This page last modified June 03, 2016