National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health

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Selected Research Results by Date

NCCIH funds a wide variety of research studies, primarily focusing on three areas: mind and body practices, natural products, and pain. We also conduct research at the National Institutes of Health laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland.

This page provides plain language summaries of a few of the studies that NCCIH has supported or conducted. For more information, see this full list of published NCCIH-funded research studies in PubMed.

Human stem cell-derived sensory neurons, fluorescently labeled to reveal neurofilament proteins (red and green) and cell nuclei (blue).
Humans may have a special type of sensory nerve cell that senses both cold and mechanical force, new research involving stem cells shows. (January 2020)
This new study sheds light on how pain patients and health care providers interact on Twitter. (December 2019)
woman with neck pain
Contrary to practice guidelines, many patients are initially prescribed opioids for a new chronic musculoskeletal pain problem. (December 2019)
Salmonella bacteria
NCCIH-supported research identifies two mechanisms by which GI tract nerve cells defend against Salmonella bacteria. (December 2019)
doc with patient
Research shows more than half of office-based physicians recommend at least one complementary health approach to their patients, and female physicians recommended every complementary health approach at a higher rate... (November 2019)
Study explores the previously unknown role of the central amygdala (region of the brain associated with emotional processes) in upgrading and downgrading pain signals in the brain. (October 2019)
dietary supplements
Rat study findings suggest that dietary supplementation with polyphenols (naturally occurring compounds found in plant-derived foods) may ease back pain associated with intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. (October 2019)
Chiropractor doing spinal manipulation on an older woman's back
Results of a new NCCIH-supported study suggest that older adults’ access to chiropractic care may reduce medical spending on services for spine conditions. (August 2019)
woman talking to therapist
Study results suggest mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement (MORE) may be a useful nondrug complementary treatment for people with opioid use disorder and chronic pain in methadone maintenance therapy. (August 2019)
Pain signals may travel as speedily as touch signals in human peripheral nerves. This discovery has implications for understanding the mechanisms of human pain. (July 2019)