Research: PATEL and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 144


PATEL and colleagues, Osher Integrative Care Center, Harvard Medical School, Osher Institute, Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, Kiiko Matsumoto International, 1647 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02465, USA, have reviewed (98 references) CAM therapies for pain not related to cancer.

Abstract: The last few years have shown an increase in the quality of trials examining the clinical efficacy of various CAM modalities for pain conditions. Much work still has to be done to find ways to preserve the clinical authenticity of CAM treatment methods when brought into the light of a research protocol. Recent attempts have been made to find a method of maintaining the standardization and reproducibility of research protocols while allowing the kind of flexible treatment that would normally be applied in a clinical setting.
Other questions that should be answered with future studies include understanding how treatment length influences outcome, if maintenance treatments are needed for chronic conditions, and cost and risk comparisons with standard pharmacological treatment. Physicians who have an interest in pursuing CAM research should educate themselves both about the methodological issues inherent with the particular area of interest as well as about ways to maintain the authenticity of the CAM treatment protocols so that the literature is not populated with more poorly designed studies.
There is a growing interest in collaboration and a greater number of physicians are interested in obtaining training in CAM modalities to help bridge the gap between CAM and conventional clinicians. The future of medicine will likely be Integrative and the more health care providers can educate themselves about this area of medicine, the better they will be able to provide the highest quality of care to their patients.






Patel G, Euler D, Audette JF. Complementary and alternative medicine for noncancer pain. Medical Clinics of North America 91 (1): 141-167, Jan 2007.

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