Bravenet’s positive outcomes of prospective study on integrative pain treatment publishedThe network of integrative medicine clinics called BraveNet has published a prospective observational study on integrative medicine treatment approaches for pain. The “non randomized, open label observational evaluation” was conducted

Bravenet’s positive outcomes of prospective study on integrative pain treatment published

The network of integrative medicine clinics called BraveNet has published a prospective observational study on integrative medicine treatment approaches for pain. The “non-randomized, open-label observational evaluation” was conducted over six months, at nine clinical sites. The findings on the open access article via BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, led by Donald Abrams, MD, related to the 252 of 409 participants initially enrolled who completed all follow-up visits during the 6 month evaluation. The integrative treatment significantly decreased pain severity and “produced improvements in mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and well-being.” In addition, mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased. They concluded that “among participants completing an integrative medicine program for chronic pain, significant improvements were seen in pain as well as other relevant patient-reported outcome measures.” The participants were predominantly white (81%) and female (73%), with a mean age of 49.1 years (15.44) and an average of 8.0 (9.26) years of chronic pain.
 
Comment: The report is timely for the re-opening of an exploration of non-pharmacological approaches to pain by the Joint Commission which was urged by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, with which most Bravenet members are affiliated. It would be nice to know what happened to the other 157 individuals who did not complete.

NIH NCCAM announces David Shurtleff, as new deputy director

In a July 23, 2013 blog post, NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) director Josie Briggs, MD announced that David Shurtleff, PhD, has joined NCCAM staff as deputy director. Stated Briggs: “In this capacity, he will partner with me in directing the Center’s scientific, programmatic, and administrative endeavors. During Dr. Shurtleff’s initial period of tenure, he will share the Deputy Director position with Jack Killen, M.D. ” Shurtleff comes to NCCAM following previous roles at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and a period as director of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research at NIDA. Adds Briggs: “NCCAM and NIDA share a strong interest in improving the management of chronic pain and reducing prescription drug abuse, and his background in these areas will strengthen our partnership with NIDA on these important areas of public health concern.” Shurtleff’s doctorate is in experimental psychology.

Comment: The NCCAM pattern of choosing leadership from within, and subsequently educating them about the field for which they will lead exploration, rather than choosing from the integrative medicine field, and up-training them to the NIH culture, continues. (See my open letter to Briggs on her appointment: Oops They Did It Again.) Bottom line, a person who has devoted his or her career to reductive thinking is not likely to fully understand wholism, whether in practice or research modeling. Shurtleff’s behavioral health background is hopeful. Vamos a ver. We’ll see.