EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE AND CAM
Is evidence-based medicine (EBM) sufficient for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research? The December special issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies presents articles that explore EBM and alternative strategies to EBM for evaluating CAM and in particular, options for conducting CAM research on cancer.
EBM is widely accepted as the “gold-standard” for scientific studies. Over the years, EBM has both supported and denied the value of allopathic medicine practices, while having less association with CAM practices. Since most CAM practices are complex and focus on healing rather than cure the question arises as to whether EBM principles are sufficient for making clinical decisions about CAM.
“While evidence-based medicine’s emphasis on randomized controlled trials has many benefits, researchers and clinicians have found that this focus may be too limited for complex systems such as complementary and alternative medicine, and other approaches to healing,” said Wayne B. Jonas, M.D., president and chief executive officer of the Samueli Institute and this special issue’s guest editor.
This issue discusses whether clinical research on CAM using randomized placebo-controlled trials designs is the best strategy for making evidence-based decisions in clinical practice, and describes strategies that use “whole systems” and “integrated evaluation models” as potential new standards for research on CAM.
The accompanying editorial delineates the issue’s theme and main question “whether ‘top of the evidence hierarchy’ approaches—clinical and laboratory research—have, so far, moved us toward answering relevant questions about the use of complementary medicine and to explore alternatives to those approaches in complementary medicine for cancer.” The issue also explores whether studies that lay the groundwork for similar studies on integrative medicine systems that include a comprehensive approach to disease and treatment might result in development of “a new gold standard for practice decisions.”
For more information on CAM for wellness and treatment contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.
"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne