The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    More criticism of NCCAM

    Earlier this year a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported, “saw palmetto did not improve symptoms or objective measures of benign prostatic hyperplasia.” The results were interesting in light of the fact that the weight of the medical literature supports the value of saw palmetto for this condition.

    For example, The Cochrane Collaboration concluded that the extract of the American saw palmetto, Serenoa reopens, “provides mild to moderate improvement in urinary symptoms and flow measures … similar … to [the prescription drug] finasteride (Propecia) and is associated with fewer adverse treatment events.”

    Is this just another example of CAMophobia by NEJM, or does the sponsor of the study, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), bear some of responsibility?

    Able PharmBoy thinks the latter.

    • NCCAM funded a study of an herbal whose active ingredient(s) is not known.
    • NCCAM was responsible to contract with a supplier, but limited the criteria to the lowest bidder.

    According to PharmBoy, “if you jump into a clinical trial without knowing what you’re testing, how can you have any confidence that a positive or negative outcome is meaningful? Or reproducible?”

    7/31/06 17:10 JR

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