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Key issues in clinical and epidemiological research in complementary and alternative medicine - a systematic literature review

Key issues in clinical and epidemiological research in complementary and alternative medicine - a systematic literature review
Key issues in clinical and epidemiological research in complementary and alternative medicine - a systematic literature review
Background: In the last 2 decades there has been a large increase in publications on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). However, CAM research methodology was heterogeneous and often of low quality. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate scientific publications with regards to general issues, concepts and strategies. We also looked at research priorities and methods employed to evaluate the clinical and epidemiological research of CAM in the past to identify the basis for consensus-based research strategies.

Methods: We performed a systematic literature search for papers published between 1990 and 2010 in 7 electronic databases (Medline, Web of Science, PsychArticles, PsycInfo, CINAHL, EMBASE and Cochrane Library) on December 16 and 17, 2010. In addition, experts were asked to nominate relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were publications dealing with research methodology, priorities or complexities in the scientific evaluation of CAM. All references were assessed in a multistage process to identify relevant papers.

Results: From the 3,279 references derived from the search and 98 references contributed by CAM experts, 170 papers fulfilled the criteria and were included in the analysis. The following key issues were identified: difficulties in past CAM research (e.g., randomisation, blinding), utility of quantitative and qualitative research methods in CAM, priority setting in CAM research and specific issues regarding various CAM modalities.

Conclusions: Most authors vote for the use of commonly accepted research methods to evaluate CAM. There was broad consensus that a mixed methods approach is the most suitable for gathering conclusive knowledge about CAM.
clinical research, epidemiological research, research methodology, complementary and alternative medicine, systematic review
1661-4119
51-60
Fischer, H.F.
7611a751-853d-4c50-b3d9-0eeeb8a8c43e
Junne, F.
a8361f34-9387-443b-866b-2e3397a60d6a
Witt, C.
fcdc4b6c-d4aa-4bd8-b6ee-d4247085e801
von Ammon, K.
326a0ff1-87e0-4428-9c94-7228ec41226a
Cardini, F.
56ae6eb6-155c-4d15-a028-2b583dc93ea4
Fonnebo, V.
a22de59b-c710-4bdb-85f7-c0bb37f91f56
Johannessen, H.
1d8d5fc3-f4f7-44fe-a8d6-083cb97febac
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
Uehleke, B.
c7a774fb-a5d5-4b2e-8b04-be26e59f62f6
Weidenhammer, W.
2ba1d339-8973-4746-b0f0-e9d9cc4e466a
Brinkhaus, B.
e8a59b47-6b36-46bc-ae56-d9741c57c372
Fischer, H.F.
7611a751-853d-4c50-b3d9-0eeeb8a8c43e
Junne, F.
a8361f34-9387-443b-866b-2e3397a60d6a
Witt, C.
fcdc4b6c-d4aa-4bd8-b6ee-d4247085e801
von Ammon, K.
326a0ff1-87e0-4428-9c94-7228ec41226a
Cardini, F.
56ae6eb6-155c-4d15-a028-2b583dc93ea4
Fonnebo, V.
a22de59b-c710-4bdb-85f7-c0bb37f91f56
Johannessen, H.
1d8d5fc3-f4f7-44fe-a8d6-083cb97febac
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
Uehleke, B.
c7a774fb-a5d5-4b2e-8b04-be26e59f62f6
Weidenhammer, W.
2ba1d339-8973-4746-b0f0-e9d9cc4e466a
Brinkhaus, B.
e8a59b47-6b36-46bc-ae56-d9741c57c372

Fischer, H.F., Junne, F., Witt, C., von Ammon, K., Cardini, F., Fonnebo, V., Johannessen, H., Lewith, G., Uehleke, B., Weidenhammer, W. and Brinkhaus, B. (2012) Key issues in clinical and epidemiological research in complementary and alternative medicine - a systematic literature review. [in special issue: Insights into the Current Situation of CAM in Europe: Major Findings of the EU Project CAMbrella] Complementary Medicine Research: Practice, Methods, Perspectives, 19, supplement 2, 51-60. (doi:10.1159/000343126).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: In the last 2 decades there has been a large increase in publications on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). However, CAM research methodology was heterogeneous and often of low quality. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate scientific publications with regards to general issues, concepts and strategies. We also looked at research priorities and methods employed to evaluate the clinical and epidemiological research of CAM in the past to identify the basis for consensus-based research strategies.

Methods: We performed a systematic literature search for papers published between 1990 and 2010 in 7 electronic databases (Medline, Web of Science, PsychArticles, PsycInfo, CINAHL, EMBASE and Cochrane Library) on December 16 and 17, 2010. In addition, experts were asked to nominate relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were publications dealing with research methodology, priorities or complexities in the scientific evaluation of CAM. All references were assessed in a multistage process to identify relevant papers.

Results: From the 3,279 references derived from the search and 98 references contributed by CAM experts, 170 papers fulfilled the criteria and were included in the analysis. The following key issues were identified: difficulties in past CAM research (e.g., randomisation, blinding), utility of quantitative and qualitative research methods in CAM, priority setting in CAM research and specific issues regarding various CAM modalities.

Conclusions: Most authors vote for the use of commonly accepted research methods to evaluate CAM. There was broad consensus that a mixed methods approach is the most suitable for gathering conclusive knowledge about CAM.

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More information

Published date: November 2012
Keywords: clinical research, epidemiological research, research methodology, complementary and alternative medicine, systematic review
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 347571
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/347571
ISSN: 1661-4119
PURE UUID: 565b9d5c-035c-41af-ad06-55d9904321a6

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jan 2013 14:22
Last modified: 08 Nov 2021 23:31

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Contributors

Author: H.F. Fischer
Author: F. Junne
Author: C. Witt
Author: K. von Ammon
Author: F. Cardini
Author: V. Fonnebo
Author: H. Johannessen
Author: G. Lewith
Author: B. Uehleke
Author: W. Weidenhammer
Author: B. Brinkhaus

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