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October 22, 2008

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Applying Science to Alternative Medicine

September 30, 2008
By William J. Broad
The New York Times

More than 80 million adults in the United States are estimated to use some form of alternative medicine, from herbs and megavitamins to yoga and acupuncture. But while sweeping claims are made for these treatments, the scientific evidence for them often lags far behind: studies and clinical trials, when they exist at all, can be shoddy in design and too small to yield reliable insights.

Now the federal government is working hard to raise the standards of evidence, seeking to distinguish between what is effective, useless and harmful or even dangerous.
"The research has been making steady progress," said Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health. "It's reasonably new that rigorous methods are being used to study these health practices."

The full article is available in the library's ProQuest Newspapers database.