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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 3 (2006), Issue 1, Pages 3-12
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nek017
Lecture Series

Evidence-Based Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine II: The Process of Evidence-Based Research

1Division of Oral Biology & Medicine, UCLA School of Dentistry, CHS 63-090, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center, CA, USA
3Psychoneuroimmunology Group, Inc., CA, USA
4California State University, Northridge, CA, USA
5Tufts University Dental School, CA, USA
6Dental Group of Sherman Oaks, Inc., CA, USA

Received 3 August 2005

Copyright © 2006 Francesco Chiappelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

It is a common practice in contemporary medicine to follow stringently the scientific method in the process of validating efficacy and effectiveness of new or improved modes of treatment intervention. It follows that these complementary or alternative interventions must be validated by stringent research before they can be reliably integrated into Western medicine. The next decades will witness an increasing number of evidence-based research directed at establishing the best available evidence in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This second paper in this lecture series examines the process of evidence-based research (EBR) in the context of CAM. We outline the fundamental principles, process and relevance of EBR, and its implication to CAM. We underscore areas of future development in EBR. We note that the main problem of applying EBR to CAM at present has to do with the fact that the contribution of EBR can be significant only to the extent to which studies used in the process of EBR are of good quality. All too often CAM research is not of sufficient quality to warrant the generation of a consensus statement. EBR, nevertheless, can contribute to CAM by identifying current weaknesses of CAM research. We present a revised instrument to assess quality of the literature.