Medical Ethics of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (5)
In order to best understand the benefits found in the use of the various modalities of alternative medicine, evidence-based conclusions need to be presented. These conclusions are based on careful review of as many research projects available in the literature done to look for benefits of a particular modality for a particular disease or disorder. The reviewer must be able to establish that the research trial was devised to meet scientific criteria and attempt to find statistically significant data. These projects are then compared and together, a conclusion about benefits as well as harms can be established. This review then becomes the basis for rational use of the alternative medicine modality in the specific disease.
There is a developing web-site that has begun such a review of CAM studies. It is called "Complementary and Alternate Medicine" and is an evidence-based resource from New Zealand about complementary and alternative medicine. Recently completed reviews include Arnica creams, gels and sprays for the treatment of soft tissue injury; Cranberry for the prevention of urinary tract infection; Acupuncture for smoking cessation; Horse chestnut seed extract for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency; and Garlic for the treatment of calf pain when walking. The results are summarized and a conclusion is given. A description of the modality and a description of the medical condition is also given for visitor education.
The URL for this important resource is http://www.cam.org.nz