Monthly Archives: September 2012

NIH Funds Will Strengthen National Capacity for Cost-Effective, Large-Scale Clinical Studies

Funds, totaling approximately $11.3 million, will support the first year of the Health Care Systems (HCS) Research Collaboratory, which will engage health care systems as research partners in conducting large-scale clinical studies. The funds are managed through the Common Fund at the National Institutes of Health.

Health care systems, which include health maintenance organizations and other large integrated care settings, see large populations of patients. By partnering with these entities, NIH will be able to conduct large-scale and more cost-effective clinical research within the settings where patients are already receiving their care.

“The HCS Research Collaboratory represents a paradigm shift in clinical research. These institutions will move us beyond traditional methods of participant-level randomized clinical trials to more broad-based, real-world settings,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Partnerships with health care systems offer an opportunity to transform research and ultimately improve America’s health.”

Health From the Patient Perspective: The Promise of PROMIS®

In the 1990s my grandmother was trying to make a number of decisions including where to live and what trips to take following her diagnosis with a chronic disease. At one point she was frustrated that her doctors could not tell her what chance she had of being able to attend my cousin’s wedding. While doctors spoke about her chances of dying, she was focused on how to live. She wanted to know about her physical, mental, and social health and what to expect so she could plan to attend the wedding. She wanted me to find research and use the findings to help her make decisions.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Announces Inaugural Grants for Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation have announced the first round of grants in support of Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America (“Southern Exposure”). The program is a new national initiative committed to building greater understanding and appreciation of the cultural richness and diversity of Latin America through the presentation of exemplary dance, music and theater artists from that region in communities across the United States.

Natural Products and Children: A Cautionary Tale

As parents, we want to do everything we can to keep our children healthy and improve their well-being. We try to provide healthy meals and ensure they get enough sleep and plenty of exercise. We want the best for them. But when it comes to natural products such as herbs, botanicals, and homeopathic remedies—products that are increasingly marketed for use by children, often claiming to enhance athletic performance, promote weight loss, or improve energy levels—I urge you to use caution and to be an informed consumer.

Clinical Digest: Children and Dietary Supplements

Research has shown that many children use herbs and other dietary supplements. However, there are little data available on their safety and effectiveness in children. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) gathered information on use of complementary health practices among more than 9,000 children younger than 18. Nearly 12 percent of the children had used some form of a complementary health practice during the past 12 months. In addition to herbs and dietary supplements, children use a wide range of complementary health approaches, including spinal manipulation and yoga.

Further, a 2001 survey of 745 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 87 percent of pediatricians had been asked about complementary health practices by a patient or a parent in the 3 months prior to the survey. The pediatricians in the survey were asked most often about herbs and dietary supplements.

This issue provides information about scope of use of complementary health practices by children, safety, and how to discuss complementary health approaches with your patients.

5 Things To Know About Dietary Supplements and Children

Research has shown that many children use herbs and other dietary supplements. However, there are little data available on their safety and effectiveness in children. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) gathered information on use of complementary health approaches among more than 9,000 children younger than 18. Nearly 12 percent of the children had used some form of a complementary health approach during the past 12 months. If you are considering a complementary health approach for your child, including a dietary supplement, here are 5 things you should know.

In the News: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

A recent NCCAM-funded study, employing individual patient data meta-analyses published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, provides the most rigorous evidence to date that acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain. In addition, results from the study provide robust evidence that the effects of acupuncture on pain are attributable to two components. The larger component includes factors such as the patient’s belief that treatment will be effective, as well as placebo and other context effects. A smaller acupuncture-specific component involves such issues as the locations of specific needling points or depth of needling.

Acupuncture May Be Helpful for Chronic Pain: A Meta-Analysis

A recent NCCAM-funded study, employing individual patient data meta-analyses and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, provides the most rigorous evidence to date that acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain. In addition, results from the study provide robust evidence that the effects of acupuncture on pain are attributable to two components. The larger component includes factors such as the patient’s belief that treatment will be effective, as well as placebo and other context effects. A smaller acupuncture-specific component involves such issues as the locations of specific needling points or depth of needling.

On Scientific Plausibility

Scientific plausibility permeates discussions and debates about research on complementary, alternative, or integrative health approaches. This is no surprise; many interventions that fall under this rubric are ensconced in belief systems about illness and health—some ancient and some modern—that lack foundations in modern science. In addition, those who support research on these approaches often fail to articulate a scientifically grounded rationale or approach to research. Thus, it is common to see criticism based on scientific plausibility in the scientific literature, news stories, and blogs.

Our Framework for Research Priorities

NCCAM, like all NIH Institutes and Centers, receives investigator-initiated applications for research funding that are based on ideas formulated by the applicant. As you might imagine, the research grant applications for complementary approaches cover quite a diverse and broad field.