June 2012 John Weeks Integrator Round-up on healthcare research

NCCAM begins research blog: Briggs’ early offering explores meaning of “integrative”

The NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has announced a new ResearchBlog. The goal is “to facilitate dialogue regarding research on complementary health practices and the Center’s strategic directions and funding opportunities.” Readers are invited to provide comments. An early offering from NCCAM director Josephine Briggs, MD is entitled “Integrative – What Is in a Word?” Briggs’ cites NCCAM’s mandate and lays down a real world view: “We are focusing our resources on building better evidence to clarify whether interventions that are already being widely integrated into the real world of health care and health care systems-and for which there exists a reasonable scientific case for investment of valuable resources-are safe and have efficacy.” (Bolding is in the original.) All 4 comments at the time of this writing were from acupuncturists.

Comment: It will be interested to see if NCCAM’s antagonists decide to start participating in this blog. So will it be interesting to see whether those who have been funded or seek funding will choose to respond. I like this idea from NCCAM. I hope that the refereeing of comments includes requiring those submitting to use their real names. Meantime, I am reflecting on why I have not left on the NCCAM site my own pleasure in seeing this real world focus, and my (serious) quibble: Isn’t it “effectiveness” rather than “efficacy” we in the real world care about? 


IN-CAM Research Conference November 2-4, 2012: Abstract submissions close June 29, 2012 

The Canadian network IN-CAM will be holding its 7th research conference November 2-4, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario. Abstract submissions are due June 29, 2012. The note from IN-CAM co-founders Heather Boon, BScPhm, PhD and Marja Verhoef, PhD states: “The goal of the 2012 Symposium is to continue supporting the advancement of the field of complementary and integrative healthcare through research. The Symposium has also been recognized as an excellent networking opportunity as it brings together researchers, research trainees and practitioners from across Canada and internationally. It is an excellent opportunity to share new knowledge and information, strengthen existing relationships, and develop new collaborations.” 

Comment: As a sometimes participant in integrative activities across the northern border of the U.S., I must say that I find the Canadian context of multidisciplinary thinking and practice refreshing. My assumption is that this relative openness may be linked to the single payer context. Capitalism-in-medicine is hell on team care. The felt openness may also just be that Canadians are nicer than we are on the States. Then again, their having a better healthcare safety net may be a function of them being nicer. Or, well, their being nicer may because they feel safer due to having a better healthcare safety net.


Massage Therapy Research Conference

The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) has announce conference themes and a call for abstracts for the 2013 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. Abstracts are due on September 15 for the April 25-27, 2013 conference, to be held in Boston. Submissions are welcome of original research, reviews, basic and applied research, translational, participatory and community-based research, case reports and quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies.This is the third research conference hosted by the MTF, bringing together massage and manual therapy practitioners, educators, CIM researchers, allied health professionals, and others interested in massage research.