On May 13, NCCAM had the pleasure of hosting Aniruddh (Ani) Patel, Ph.D., who delivered a lecture at NIH, “Exploring the Impact of Music on Brain Function,” as part of the Center's Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series. Following the lecture, NCCAM program officer Lee Alekel, Ph.D., sat down with Dr. Patel and asked him a few questions about the neurobiology of music and the brain.
NCCIH Research Blog
NCCIH blogs about research developments related to complementary health practices. Check in regularly to keep up with the latest findings.
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
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Arati Prabhakar, Ph.D., Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, co-wrote a guest post on The White House Blog that provides an overview of the pioneering effort to rally Federal agencies, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and others in the challenge to understand the complexities of the human brain.
Intentional use of common data elements (CDEs) can help improve data quality and promote data sharing among researchers. Furthermore, the use of CDEs facilitates opportunities for comparison and combination of data from multiple studies. The ability to harmonize data and compare studies through meta-analyses would be an important outcome of encouraging research communities to use CDEs.
Dietary supplements such as herbs and botanicals are popular complementary health approaches. A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine, led by Regan Bailey, Ph.D., R.D., and her colleagues at the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to figure out why.
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.
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.