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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 636134, 10 pages
Review Article

Systematic Review of Integrative Health Care Research: Randomized Control Trials, Clinical Controlled Trials, and Meta-Analysis

1Military Medical Research and Integrative Medicine, Samueli Institute, 2101 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, USA
2Department of Planning, Policy and Design, School of Social Ecology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-7075, USA
3University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA
4RAND Corp., 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401-3208, USA
5Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, CA 90604, USA
6Samueli Institute, 1737 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
7VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA 90803, USA
8Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

Received 19 May 2010; Accepted 18 June 2010

Copyright © 2011 Raheleh Khorsan 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.


A systematic review was conducted to assess the level of evidence for integrative health care research. We searched PubMed, Allied and Complementary Medicine (AMED), BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, the entire Cochrane Library, MANTIS, Social SciSearch, SciSearch Cited Ref Sci, PsychInfo, CINAHL, and NCCAM grantee publications listings, from database inception to May 2009, as well as searches of the “gray literature.” Available studies published in English language were included. Three independent reviewers rated each article and assessed the methodological quality of studies using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN 50). Our search yielded 11,891 total citations but 6 clinical studies, including 4 randomized, met our inclusion criteria. There are no available systematic reviews/meta-analyses published that met our inclusion criteria. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed independently using quality checklists of the SIGN 50. Only a small number of RCTs and CCTs with a limited number of patients and lack of adequate control groups assessing integrative health care research are available. These studies provide limited evidence of effective integrative health care on some modalities. However, integrative health care regimen appears to be generally safe.