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

    Should we judge CAM by how the patient feels or by the change in the lab value?

    Here’s a study of the effectiveness of usual mainstream medical care for acute low back pain with and without the option for patients to add acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage to their treatment.

    It comes from the Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at the Osher Institute in Boston.

    After 5 weeks, providing patients with a choice resulted in a small but statistically significant improvement in symptoms. In addition, there was a small and statistically insignificant improvement in their ability to function.

    The reserchers concluded that neither improvement was of any practical significance. And it cost $244 dollars more per patient.

    The patients disagree. There was a significantly greater satisfaction with care in the group allowed to use the CAM options

    The bottom line?

    So, let me get this straight. Patients given the option to add CAM to usual therapy claim they felt better compared to patients not given that opportunity. But the researchers discount the patients’ conclusions and proclaim the CAM was of no value.

    I remember being taught to treat the patient not the lab value. I guess they don’t teach that at Harvard any more.

    2/7/07 20:06 JR

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