About the Article

Published in: Vol. 5, No. 4
Category: Analyses

About the Author

Saul Green

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“Alternative” Medicine Survey Distortions: An Early Critique

 
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“Alternative” Medicine: A Review of Studies Supported by Grants Awarded by the NCCAM

 

Stated Goals and Grants of the Office of Alternative Medicine/NCCAM

Abstract. Context: Congressional appropriations for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) have increased yearly in hopes of finding either value in some anomalous methods or ineffectiveness of them.

Objective: To examine the record of grants and awards, to tabulate the recipients and amounts granted, and to tabulate the number of scientific reports resulting.

Design: Records of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) and successor NCCAM were downloaded from the NCCAM Web site and tabulated. Quotations pertinent to the OAM/NCCAM mission from public statements and private letters of officials and members of Congress were searched for and samples were recorded.

Results: Published reports of investigations exist but in relatively small numbers. Many publications were found to be repetitions of previously performed research, reviews, and commentaries—the latter two not requiring large grants to perform. Several individuals who were members of the OAM/NCCAM Advisory Committee were found to be repeated recipients of grants and awards. Many projects seem to be devoted to implausible methods. No clearly positive or negative findings have been reported for any method, yet many reports call for continuing research.

Conclusions: On the basis of grants and reports from the first 9 years of existence, the NCCAM awards have not produced useful information.

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