Perspectives on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research
Today’s Journal of the American Medical Association includes a Viewpoint from my deputy director, Jack Killen, and myself. In this essay, we call for a fresh, more nuanced and balanced conversation about research into complementary and alternative practices.
As a result of research over the past 14 years, we know a lot more now than we did when NCCAM was founded in 1999. For example, we have a much better handle on when and for what reasons Americans use specific complementary interventions, where we need to focus concerns about safety, and what research approaches are best.
We also know a great deal more about the potential of complementary approaches to contribute to the management of chronic pain. Our current focus, on pain management, is driven by real world use data.
Our current research agenda reflects major evolution in research priorities. It recognizes that some of these practices are useful and can reasonably be integrated into care, some are not useful, some are dangerous and merit regulatory attention, and many are somewhere in between.
So, let’s start a fresh conversation, based not on generalities, but on the areas of this field that warrant investigation—for safety and for their potential roles in addressing difficult symptoms and conditions.
I do hope you will look at our viewpoint essay in JAMA and share your thoughts with us.