Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works?

Trends Mol Med. 2014 Sep;20(9):473-6. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2014.06.007. Epub 2014 Aug 20.


Over the past two decades complementary and alternative medicine treatments relying on dubious science have been embraced by medical academia. Despite low to nonexistent prior probability that testing these treatments in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) will be successful, RCTs of these modalities have proliferated, consistent with the principles of evidence-based medicine, which underemphasize prior plausibility rooted in science. We examine this phenomenon and argue that what is needed is science-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

Keywords: Evidence-based medicine; clinical trials; complementary and alternative medicine; integrative medicine; science-based medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Chelation Therapy / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Homeopathy / methods
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine / methods*
  • Integrative Medicine / trends
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Science / trends
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods
  • United States