This week, one of the most e-mailed articles on The New York Times Web site was its Well blog, which discussed how grapefruit is responsible for many drug reactions. We’re learning that the chemical constituents within grapefruit affect the bioavailability of many drugs, including some cholesterol, high blood pressure, and anti-cancer drugs—as well as some opiates, birth control pills, and many other medications.
NCCIH Research Blog
NCCIH blogs about research developments related to complementary health practices. Check in regularly to keep up with the latest findings.
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.
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.
This post addresses a couple of themes that are coming up with some regularity in comments posted to this blog. They include: 1) questions about what makes something “specifically complementary and alternative medicine (CAM),” or why other NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) can’t do what NCCAM does, since the scientific methods and approaches are the same; and 2) a perspective that CAM borrows from other science-based fields “to lend false legitimacy to pre-scientific magical thinking.”
In 2005, the Institute of Medicine called for the National Institutes of Health to “implement periodic comprehensive, representative, national surveys to assess the changes in the prevalence, patterns, perceptions, and costs of [complementary] therapy use…”.
Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research (IPPCR) is a free course offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
NCCAM statistician Laura Lee Johnson, Ph.D., is one of the co-directors for the course along with Frederick Ognibene, M.D., and John Gallin, M.D..
The NIH Clinical Center organizes this course each year to train researchers about how to effectively conduct clinical trials. The course topics will include:
In the 1990s my grandmother was trying to make a number of decisions including where to live and what trips to take following her diagnosis with a chronic disease. At one point she was frustrated that her doctors could not tell her what chance she had of being able to attend my cousin’s wedding. While doctors spoke about her chances of dying, she was focused on how to live. She wanted to know about her physical, mental, and social health and what to expect so she could plan to attend the wedding. She wanted me to find research and use the findings to help her make decisions.
Scientific plausibility permeates discussions and debates about research on complementary, alternative, or integrative health approaches. This is no surprise; many interventions that fall under this rubric are ensconced in belief systems about illness and health—some ancient and some modern—that lack foundations in modern science. In addition, those who support research on these approaches often fail to articulate a scientifically grounded rationale or approach to research.
NCCAM, like all NIH Institutes and Centers, receives investigator-initiated applications for research funding that are based on ideas formulated by the applicant. As you might imagine, the research grant applications for complementary approaches cover quite a diverse and broad field.
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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