From meditation to magnets, the vast popularity of unconventional medical
therapies has risen sharply over the past decade -- to the extent that
in 1997, Americans spent an estimated $21 billion out-of-pocket for these
treatments. People decide to use complementary and alternative therapies
(CAM) for a variety of reasons; however, few CAM methods have been proven
safe and effective.
Recognizing the need
to provide authoritative CAM information, the National
Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the
National Library of Medicine
(NLM), two components of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), have partnered to launch a new CAM subset
of a larger medical literature database that will provide free, web-based,
access to CAM sources of information.
on PubMed is a new subset or part of PubMed,
which is a free system offered by NLM that provides an easy way to access
over 11 million citations and abstracts in the MEDLINE
database and additional life science journals. MEDLINE currently covers
nearly 4,500 journals published in the United States and more than 70
other countries. Approximately 60% of the indexed journals are published
outside of the United States. In addition, PubMed links to over
1,700 journals for full text of articles (some publishers may require
a subscription or fee) and provides links to citations of relevant MEDLINE
articles. CAM on PubMed provides direct access to more than 220,000
references and abstracts related to CAM, as well as provides access to
many full text articles.
"This joint venture
will offer health professionals, CAM practitioners, researchers, educators,
and consumers, ready access to a comprehensive database of journal citations
directly related to complementary
and alternative medicine," said Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., NLM Director.
"Through CAM on PubMed, NLM and NCCAM are providing a highly
visible, easily identifiable portal to the evolving field of CAM research
The CAM on PubMed
subset currently contains over 220,000 citations (records) of journal
articles related to CAM research. As the field of research in complementary
and alternative medicine grows and more articles are published in peer-reviewed
journals, the service will greatly expand. "This is an important and exciting
undertaking," said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. "The opportunity
to join forces with the world's largest resource for biomedical literature
represents a major step in mainstreaming CAM research information. The
NLM possesses unparalleled expertise and experience to create and maintain
this unique service," Dr. Straus concluded.
CAM on PubMed
offers literature and retrieval services, as well as article titles and
abstracts related to CAM, and entire research reports. It is a service
we hope will greatly benefit researchers, CAM practitioners, health care
providers, students, and patients and their family members. For additional
information about CAM on PubMed a question
and answer fact sheet is provided in today's issue of Vidyya.
NLM technical staff
will maintain and evaluate the CAM subset of PubMed, as well
as review CAM-related journal articles on a regular basis, and provide
customer service to users.
The National Center
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to exploring
complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices in the context of
rigorous science, training CAM researchers and disseminating authoritative
information. For additional information, including fact sheets, press
releases, and other information about NCCAM, please visit our Web
The National Library
of Medicine is the world's largest library of the health sciences. The
Library has an extensive Web site
that provides a great variety of information for the general public and
for health professionals.