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1.  World Congress Integrative Medicine & Health 2017: Part one 
Brinkhaus, Benno | Falkenberg, Torkel | Haramati, Aviad | Willich, Stefan N. | Briggs, Josephine P. | Willcox, Merlin | Linde, Klaus | Theorell, Töres | Wong, Lisa M. | Dusek, Jeffrey | Wu, Darong | Eisenberg, David | Haramati, Aviad | Berger, Bettina | Kemper, Kathi | Stock-Schröer, Beate | Sützl-Klein, Hedda | Ferreri, Rosaria | Kaplan, Gary | Matthes, Harald | Rotter, Gabriele | Schiff, Elad | Arnon, Zahi | Hahn, Eckhard | Luberto, Christina M. | Martin, David | Schwarz, Silke | Tauschel, Diethard | Flower, Andrew | Gramminger, Harsha | Gupta, Hedwig H. | Gupta, S. N. | Kerckhoff, Annette | Kessler, Christian S. | Michalsen, Andreas | Kessler, Christian S. | Kim, Eun S. | Jang, Eun H. | Kim, Rana | Jan, Sae B. | Mittwede, Martin | Mohme, Wiebke | Ben-Arye, Eran | Bonucci, Massimo | Saad, Bashar | Breitkreuz, Thomas | Rossi, Elio | Kebudi, Rejin | Daher, Michel | Razaq, Samaher | Gafer, Nahla | Nimri, Omar | Hablas, Mohamed | Kienle, Gunver Sophia | Samuels, Noah | Silbermann, Michael | Bandelin, Lena | Lang, Anna-Lena | Wartner, Eva | Holtermann, Christoph | Binstock, Maxwell | Riebau, Robert | Mujkanovic, Edin | Cramer, Holger | Lauche, Romy | Michalsen, Andres | Ward, Lesley | Cramer, Holger | Irnich, Dominik | Stör, Wolfram | Burnstock, Geoffrey | Schaible, Hans-Georg | Ots, Thomas | Langhorst, Jost | Lauche, Romy | Sundberg, Tobias | Falkenberg, Torkel | Amarell, Catherina | Amarell, Catherina | Anheyer, Melanie | Eckert, Marion | Eckert, Marion | Ogal, Mercedes | Eckert, Marion | Amarell, Catherina | Schönauer, Annette | Reisenberger, Birgit | Brand, Bernhard | Anheyer, Dennis | Dobos, Gustav | Kroez, Matthias | Martin, David | Matthes, Harald | Ammendola, Aldo | Mao, Jun J. | Witt, Claudia | Yang, Yufei | Dobos, Gustav | Oritz, Miriam | Horneber, Markus | Voiß, Petra | Reisenberger, Birgit | von Rosenstiel, Alexandra | Eckert, Marion | Ogal, Mercedes | Amarell, Catharina | Anheyer, Melanie | Schad, Friedemann | Schläppi, Marc | Kröz, Matthias | Büssing, Arndt | Bar-Sela, Gil | Matthes, Harald | Schiff, Elad | Ben-Arye, Eran | Arnon, Zahi | Avshalomov, David | Attias, Samuel | Schönauer, Annette | Haramati, Aviad | Witt, Claudia | Brinkhaus, Benno | Cotton, Sian | Jong, Miek | Jong, Mats | Scheffer, Christian | Haramati, Aviad | Tauschel, Diethard | Edelhäuser, Friedrich | AlBedah, Abdullah | Lee, Myeong Soo | Khalil, Mohamed | Ogawa, Keiko | Motoo, Yoshiharu | Arimitsu, Junsuke | Ogawa, Masao | Shimizu, Genki | Stange, Rainer | Kraft, Karin | Kuchta, Kenny | Watanabe, Kenji | Bonin, D | Büssing, Arndt | Gruber, Harald | Koch, Sabine | Gruber, Harald | Pohlmann, Urs | Caldwell, Christine | Krantz, Barbara | Kortum, Ria | Martin, Lily | Wieland, Lisa S. | Kligler, Ben | Gould-Fogerite, Susan | Zhang, Yuqing | Wieland, Lisa S. | Riva, John J. | Lumpkin, Michael | Ratner, Emily | Ping, Liu | Jian, Pei | Hamme, Gesa-Meyer | Mao, Xiaosong | Chouping, Han | Schröder, Sven | Hummelsberger, Josef | Wullinger, Michael | Brodzky, Marc | Zalpour, Christoff | Langley, Julia | Weber, Wendy | Mudd, Lanay M. | Wayne, Peter | Witt, Clauda | Weidenhammer, Wolfgang | Fønnebø, Vinjar | Boon, Heather | Steel, Amie | Bugarcic, Andrea | Rangitakatu, Melisa | Steel, Amie | Adams, Jon | Sibbritt, David | Wardle, Jon | Leach, Matthew | Schloss, Janet | Dieze, Helene | Boon, Heather | Ijaz, Nadine | Willcox, Merlin | Heinrich, Michael | Lewith, George | Flower, Andrew | Graz, Bertrand | Adam, Daniela | Grabenhenrich, Linus | Ortiz, Miriam | Binting, Sylvia | Reinhold, Thomas | Brinkhaus, Benno | Andermo, Susanne | Sundberg, Tobias | Falkenberg, Torkel | Nordberg, Johanna Hök | Arman, Maria | Bhasin, Manoj | Fan, Xueyi | Libermann, Towia | Fricchione, Gregory | Denninger, John | Benson, Herbert | Berger, Bettina | Stange, Rainer | Michalsen, Andreas | Martin, David D. | Boers, Inge | Vlieger, Arine | Jong, Miek | Brinkhaus, Benno | Teut, Michael | Ullmann, Alexander | Ortiz, Miriam | Rotter, Gabriele | Binting, Sylvia | Lotz, Fabian | Roll, Stephanie | Canella, Claudia | Mikolasek, Michael | Rostock, Matthias | Beyer, Jörg | Guckenberger, Matthias | Jenewein, Josef | Linka, Esther | Six, Claudia | Stoll, Sarah | Stupp, Roger | Witt, Claudia M. | Chuang, Elisabeth | Kligler, Ben | McKee, Melissa D. | Cramer, Holger | Lauche, Romy | Klose, Petra | Lange, Silke | Langhorst, Jost | Dobos, Gustav | Chung, Vincent C. H. | Wong, Hoi L. C. | Wu, Xin Y. | Wen, Grace Y. G. | Ho, Robin S. T. | Ching, Jessica Y. L. | Wu, Justin C. Y. | Coakley, Amanda | Flanagan, Jane | Annese, Christine | Empoliti, Joanne | Gao, Zishan | Liu, Xugang | Yu, Shuguang | Yan, Xianzhong | Liang, Fanrong | Hohmann, Christoph D. | Steckhan, Nico | Ostermann, Thomas | Paetow, Arion | Hoff, Evelyn | Michalsen, Andreas | Hu, Xiao-Yang | Wu, Ruo-Han | Logue, Martin | Blonde, Clara | Lai, Lily Y. | Stuart, Beth | Flower, Andrew | Fei, Yu-Tong | Moore, Michael | Liu, Jian-Ping | Lewith, George | Hu, Xiao-Yang | Wu, Ruo-Han | Logue, Martin | Blonde, Clara | Lai, Lily Y. | Stuart, Beth | Flower, Andrew | Fei, Yu-Tong | Moore, Michael | Liu, Jian-Ping | Lewith, George | Jeitler, Michael | Zillgen, Hannah | Högl, Manuel | Steckhan, Nico | Stöckigt, Barbara | Seifert, Georg | Michalsen, Andreas | Kessler, Christian | Khadivzadeh, Talat | Bashtian, Maryam Hassanzadeh | Aval, Shapour Badiee | Esmaily, Habibollah | Kim, Jihye | Kim, Keun H. | Klocke, Carina | Joos, Stefanie | Koshak, Abdulrahman | Wie, Li | Koshak, Emad | Wali, Siraj | Alamoudi, Omer | Demerdash, Abdulrahman | Qutub, Majdy | Pushparaj, Peter | Heinrich, Michael | Kruse, Sigrid | Fischer, Isabell | Tremel, Nadine | Rosenecker, Joseph | Leung, Brenda | Takeda, Wendy | Liang, Ning | Feng, Xue | Liu, Jian-ping | Cao, Hui-juan | Luberto, Christina M. | Shinday, Nina | Philpotts, Lisa | Park, Elyse | Fricchione, Gregory L. | Yeh, Gloria | Munk, Niki | Zakeresfahani, Arash | Foote, Trevor R. | Ralston, Rick | Boulanger, Karen | Özbe, Dominik | Gräßel, Elmar | Luttenberger, Katharina | Pendergrass, Anna | Pach, Daniel | Bellmann-Strobl, Judit | Chang, Yinhui | Pasura, Laura | Liu, Bin | Jäger, Sven F. | Loerch, Ronny | Jin, Li | Brinkhaus, Benno | Ortiz, Miriam | Reinhold, Thomas | Roll, Stephanie | Binting, Sylvia | Icke, Katja | Shi, Xuemin | Paul, Friedemann | Witt, Claudia M. | Rütz, Michaela | Lynen, Andreas | Schömitz, Meike | Vahle, Maik | Salomon, Nir | Lang, Alon | Lahat, Adi | Kopylov, Uri | Ben-Horin, Shomron | Har-Noi, Ofir | Avidan, Benjamin | Elyakim, Rami | Gamus, Dorit | NG, Siew | Chang, Jessica | Wu, Justin | Kaimiklotis, John | Schumann, Dania | Buttó, Ludovica | Langhorst, Jost | Dobos, Gustav | Haller, Dirk | Cramer, Holger | Smith, Caroline | de Lacey, Sheryl | Chapman, Michael | Ratcliffe, Julie | Johnson, Neil | Lyttleton, Jane | Boothroyd, Clare | Fahey, Paul | Tjaden, Bram | van Vliet, Marja | van Wietmarschen, Herman | Jong, Miek | Tröger, Wilfried | Vuolanto, Pia | Aarva, Paulina | Sorsa, Minna | Helin, Kaija | Wenzel, Claudia | Zoderer, Iris | Pammer, Patricia | Simon, Patrick | Tucek, Gerhard | Wode, Kathrin | Henriksson, Roger | Sharp, Lena | Stoltenberg, Anna | Nordberg, Johanna Hök | Xiao-ying, Yang | Wang, Li-qiong | Li, Jin-gen | Liang, Ning | Wang, Ying | Liu, Jian-ping | Balneaves, Lynda | Capler, Rielle | Bocci, Chiara | Guffi, Marta | Paolini, Marina | Meaglia, Ilaria | Porcu, Patrizia | Ivaldi, Giovanni B. | Dragan, Simona | Bucuras, Petru | Pah, Ana M. | Badalica-Petrescu, Marius | Buleu, Florina | Hogea-Stoichescu, Gheorghe | Christodorescu, Ruxandra | Kao, Lan | Cho, Yumin | Klafke, Nadja | Mahler, Cornelia | von Hagens, Cornelia | Uhlmann, Lorenz | Bentner, Martina | Schneeweiss, Andreas | Mueller, Andreas | Szecsenyi, Joachim | Joos, Stefanie | Neri, Isabella | Ortiz, Miriam | Schnabel, Katharina | Teut, Michael | Rotter, Gabriele | Binting, Sylvia | Cree, Margit | Lotz, Fabian | Suhr, Ralf | Brinkhaus, Benno | Rossi, Elio | Baccetti, Sonia | Firenzuoli, Fabio | Monechi, Maria V. | Di Stefano, Mariella | Amunni, Gianni | Wong, Wendy | Chen, Bingzhong | Wu, Justin | Amri, Hakima | Haramati, Aviad | Kotlyanskaya, Lucy | Anderson, Belinda | Evans, Roni | Kligler, Ben | Marantz, Paul | Bradley, Ryan | Booth-LaForce, Cathryn | Zwickey, Heather | Kligler, Benjamin | Brooks, Audrey | Kreitzer, Mary J. | Lebensohn, Patricia | Goldblatt, Elisabeth | Esmel-Esmel, Neus | Jiménez-Herrera, Maria | Ijaz, Nadine | Boon, Heather | Jocham, Alexandra | Stock-Schröer, Beate | Berberat, Pascal O. | Schneider, Antonius | Linde, Klaus | Masetti, Morgana | Murakozy, Henriette | Van Vliet, Marja | Jong, Mats | Jong, Miek | Agdal, Rita | Atarzadeh, Fatemeh | Jaladat, Amir M. | Hoseini, Leila | Amini, Fatemeh | Bai, Chen | Liu, Tiegang | Zheng, Zian | Wan, Yuxiang | Xu, Jingnan | Wang, Xuan | Yu, He | Gu, Xiaohong | Daneshfard, Babak | Nimrouzi, Majid | Tafazoli, Vahid | Alorizi, Seyed M. Emami | Saghebi, Seyed A. | Fattahi, Mohammad R. | Salehi, Alireza | Rezaeizadeh, Hossein | Zarshenas, Mohammad M. | Nimrouzi, Majid | Fox, Kealoha | Hughes, John | Kostanjsek, Nenad | Espinosa, Stéphane | Lewith, George | Fisher, Peter | Latif, Abdul | Lefeber, Donald | Paske, William | Öztürk, Ali Ö. | Öztürk, Gizemnur | Boers, Inge | Tissing, Wim | Naafs, Marianne | Busch, Martine | Jong, Miek | Daneshfard, Babak | Sanaye, Mohammad R. | Dräger, Kilian | Fisher, Peter | Kreitzer, Mary J. | Evans, Roni | Leininger, Brent | Shafto, Kate | Breen, Jenny | Sanaye, Mohammad R. | Daneshfard, Babak | Simões-Wüst, Ana P. | Moltó-Puigmartí, Carolina | van Dongen, Martien | Dagnelie, Pieter | Thijs, Carel | White, Shelley | Wiesener, Solveig | Salamonsen, Anita | Stub, Trine | Fønnebø, Vinjar | Abanades, Sergio | Blanco, Mar | Masllorens, Laia | Sala, Roser | Al-Ahnoumy, Shafekah | Han, Dongwoon | He, Luzhu | Kim, Ha Yun | In Choi, Da | Alræk, Terje | Stub, Trine | Kristoffersen, Agnete | von Sceidt, Christel | Michalsen, Andreas | Bruset, Stig | Musial, Frauke | Anheyer, Dennis | Cramer, Holger | Lauche, Romy | Saha, Felix J. | Dobos, Gustav | Anheyer, Dennis | Haller, Heidemarie | Lauche, Romy | Dobos, Gustav | Cramer, Holger | Azizi, Hoda | Khadem, Nayereh | Hassanzadeh, Malihe | Estiri, Nazanin | Azizi, Hamideh | Tavassoli, Fatemeh | Lotfalizadeh, Marzieh | Zabihi, Reza | Esmaily, Habibollah | Azizi, Hoda | Shabestari, Mahmoud Mohammadzadeh | Paeizi, Reza | Azari, Masoumeh Alvandi | Bahrami-Taghanaki, Hamidreza | Zabihi, Reza | Azizi, Hamideh | Esmaily, Habibollah | Baars, Erik | De Bruin, Anja | Ponstein, Anne | Baccetti, Sonia | Di Stefano, Mariella | Rossi, Elio | Firenzuoli, Fabio | Segantini, Sergio | Monechi, Maria Valeria | Voller, Fabio | Barth, Jürgen | Kern, Alexandra | Lüthi, Sebastian | Witt, Claudia | Barth, Jürgen | Zieger, Anja | Otto, Fabius | Witt, Claudia | Beccia, Ariel | Dunlap, Corina | Courneene, Brendan | Bedregal, Paula | Passi, Alvaro | Rodríguez, Alfredo | Chang, Mayling | Gutiérrez, Soledad | Beissner, Florian | Beissner, Florian | Preibisch, Christine | Schweizer-Arau, Annemarie | Popovici, Roxana | Meissner, Karin | Beljanski, Sylvie | Belland, Laura | Rivera-Reyes, Laura | Hwang, Ula | Berger, Bettina | Sethe, Dominik | Hilgard, Dörte | Heusser, Peter | Bishop, Felicity | Al-Abbadey, Miznah | Bradbury, Katherine | Carnes, Dawn | Dimitrov, Borislav | Fawkes, Carol | Foster, Jo | MacPherson, Hugh | Roberts, Lisa | Yardley, Lucy | Lewith, George | Bishop, Felicity | Al-Abbadey, Miznah | Bradbury, Katherine | Carnes, Dawn | Dimitrov, Borislav | Fawkes, Carol | Foster, Jo | MacPherson, Hugh | Roberts, Lisa | Yardley, Lucy | Lewith, George | Bishop, Felicity | Holmes, Michelle | Lewith, George | Yardley, Lucy | Little, Paul | Cooper, Cyrus | Bogani, Patrizia | Maggini, Valentina | Gallo, Eugenia | Miceli, Elisangela | Biffi, Sauro | Mengoni, Alessio | Fani, Renato | Firenzuoli, Fabio | Brands-Guendling, Nadine | Guendling, Peter W. | Bronfort, Gert | Evans, Roni | Haas, Mitch | Leininger, Brent | Schulz, Craig | Bu, Xiangwei | Wang, J. | Fang, T. | Shen, Z. | He, Y. | Zhang, X. | Zhang, Zhengju | Wang, Dali | Meng, Fengxian | Büssing, Arndt | Baumann, Klaus | Frick, Eckhard | Jacobs, Christoph | Büssing, Arndt | Grünther, Ralph-Achim | Lötzke, Désirée | Büssing, Arndt | Jung, Sonny | Lötzke, Désirée | Recchia, Daniela R. | Robens, Sibylle | Ostermann, Thomas | Berger, Bettina | Stankewitz, Josephin | Kröz, Matthias | Jeitler, Mika | Kessler, Christian | Michalsen, Andreas | Cheon, Chunhoo | Jang, Bo H. | Ko, Seong G. | Huang, Ching W. | Sasaki, Yui | Ko, Youme | Cheshire, Anna | Ridge, Damien | Hughes, John | Peters, David | Panagioti, Maria | Simon, Chantal | Lewith, George | Cho, Hyun J. | Han, Dongwoon | Choi, Soo J. | Jung, Young S. | Im, Hyea B | Cooley, Kieran | Tummon-Simmons, Laura | Cotton, Sian | Luberto, Christina M. | Wasson, Rachel | Kraemer, Kristen | Sears, Richard | Hueber, Carly | Derk, Gwendolyn | Lill, JR | An, Ruopeng | Steinberg, Lois | Rodriguez, Lourdes Diaz | la Fuente, Francisca García-de | De la Vega, Miguel | Vargas-Román, Keyla | Fernández-Ruiz, Jonatan | Cantarero-Villanueva, Irene | Rodriguez, Lourdes Diaz | García-De la Fuente, Francisca | Jiménez-Guerrero, Fanny | Vargas-Román, Keyla | Fernández-Ruiz, Jonatan | Galiano-Castillo, Noelia | Diaz-Saez, Gualberto | Torres-Jimenez, José I. | Garcia-Gomez, Olga | Hortal-Muñoz, Luis | Diaz-Diez, Camino | Dicen, Demijon | Diezel, Helene | Adams, Jon | Steel, Amie | Wardle, Jon | Diezel, Helene | Steel, Amie | Frawley, Jane | Wardle, Jon | Broom, Alex | Adams, Jon | Dong, Fei | Yu, He | Liu, Tiegang | Ma, Xueyan | Yan, Liyi | Wan, Yuxiang | Zheng, Zian | Gu, Xiaohong | Dong, Fei | Yu, He | Wu, Liqun | Liu, Tiegang | Ma, Xueyan | Ma, Jiaju | Yan, Liyi | Wan, Yuxiang | Zheng, Zian | Zhen, Jianhua | Gu, Xiaohong | Dubois, Julie | Rodondi, Pierre-Yves | Edelhäuser, Friedrich | Schwartze, Sophia | Trapp, Barbara | Cysarz, Dirk
doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1782-4
PMCID: PMC5498855
2.  Standardized versus Individualized Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
We aimed to compare the effectiveness of standardized and individualized acupuncture treatment in patients with chronic low back pain. A single-center randomized controlled single-blind trial was performed in a general medical practice in Germany run by a Chinese-born medical doctor trained in western and Chinese medicine. One hundred and fifty outpatients with chronic low back pain were randomly allocated to two groups (78 standardized and 72 individualized acupuncture). Patients received either standardized acupuncture or individualized acupuncture. Treatment encompassed between 10 and 15 treatments based on individual symptoms with two treatments per week. The main outcome measure was the area under the curve (AUC) summarizing eight weeks of daily rated pain severity measured with a visual analogue scale (0 mm = no pain, 100 mm = worst imaginable pain). No significant differences between groups were observed for the AUC (individualized acupuncture mean: 1768.7 (95% CI, 1460.4; 2077.1); standardized acupuncture 1482.9 (1177.2; 1788.7); group difference, 285.8 (−33.9; 605.5) P = 0.080). In this single-center trial, individualized acupuncture was not superior to standardized acupuncture for patients suffering from chronic pain. As a next step, a multicenter noninferiority study should be performed to investigate whether standardised acupuncture treatment for chronic low back pain might be applicable in a broader usual care setting. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00758017.
doi:10.1155/2013/125937
PMCID: PMC3830844  PMID: 24288556
3.  A retrospective cost-analysis of additional homeopathic treatment in Germany: Long-term economic outcomes 
PLoS ONE  2017;12(9):e0182897.
Objectives
This study aimed to provide a long-term cost comparison of patients using additional homeopathic treatment (homeopathy group) with patients using usual care (control group) over an observation period of 33 months.
Methods
Health claims data from a large statutory health insurance company were analysed from both the societal perspective (primary outcome) and from the statutory health insurance perspective (secondary outcome). To compare costs between patient groups, homeopathy and control patients were matched in a 1:1 ratio using propensity scores. Predictor variables for the propensity scores included health care costs and both medical and demographic variables. Health care costs were analysed using an analysis of covariance, adjusted for baseline costs, between groups both across diagnoses and for specific diagnoses over a period of 33 months. Specific diagnoses included depression, migraine, allergic rhinitis, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and headache.
Results
Data from 21,939 patients in the homeopathy group (67.4% females) and 21,861 patients in the control group (67.2% females) were analysed. Health care costs over the 33 months were 12,414 EUR [95% CI 12,022–12,805] in the homeopathy group and 10,428 EUR [95% CI 10,036–10,820] in the control group (p<0.0001). The largest cost differences were attributed to productivity losses (homeopathy: EUR 6,289 [6,118–6,460]; control: EUR 5,498 [5,326–5,670], p<0.0001) and outpatient costs (homeopathy: EUR 1,794 [1,770–1,818]; control: EUR 1,438 [1,414–1,462], p<0.0001). Although the costs of the two groups converged over time, cost differences remained over the full 33 months. For all diagnoses, homeopathy patients generated higher costs than control patients.
Conclusion
The analysis showed that even when following-up over 33 months, there were still cost differences between groups, with higher costs in the homeopathy group.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0182897
PMCID: PMC5600367  PMID: 28915242
4.  What Can Comparative Effectiveness Research Contribute to Integrative Health in International Perspective? 
Abstract
The interest in Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) in the international community is growing. A panel titled “What Can Comparative Effectiveness Research Contribute to Integrative Health in International Perspective?” took place at the 3rd International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health in Portland, Oregon, in 2012. The presentations at this panel highlighted different perspectives on CER, including the funders' and the stakeholders' perspectives from the United States, as well as experiences with economic evaluations from Australia and pragmatic trials in Europe. The funders' perspective emphasized the need for innovation and controlling costs in large-scale studies. The stakeholder's perspective stressed the need to gather the input of stakeholders in shaping the framework for more informative, more decision-maker-driven research. Several examples of cost-effectiveness analyses were offered from Australia. The importance of balancing rigor and pragmatism was also discussed in a presentation of the efficacy–effectiveness continuum. A wide-ranging discussion explored additional questions concerning the translation of evidence into practice; the effect of pragmatic trials on funding or policy; evidentiary distinctions between and among pragmatic trials and traditional randomized clinical trials; and the multiple roles of stakeholders, particularly in generating new information and knowledge. The presentations and discussions showed that more development of methods is needed. This includes developments on study design and statistical approaches, as well as methods for stakeholder involvement and mechanisms to bring these results into practice.
doi:10.1089/acm.2014.0073
PMCID: PMC4238246  PMID: 25372702
5.  Building a Strategic Framework for Comparative Effectiveness Research in Complementary and Integrative Medicine 
The increasing burden of chronic diseases presents not only challenges to the knowledge and expertise of the professional medical community, but also highlights the need to improve the quality and relevance of clinical research in this domain. Many patients now turn to complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) to treat their chronic illnesses; however, there is very little evidence to guide their decision-making in usual care. The following research recommendations were derived from a CIM Stakeholder Symposium on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER): (1) CER studies should be made a priority in this field; (2) stakeholders should be engaged at every stage of the research; (3) CER study designs should highlight effectiveness over efficacy; (4) research questions should be well defined to enable the selection of an appropriate CER study design; (5) the CIM community should cultivate widely shared understandings, discourse, tools, and technologies to support the use and validity of CER methods; (6) Effectiveness Guidance Documents on methodological standards should be developed to shape future CER studies. CER is an emerging field and its development and impact must be reflected in future research strategies within CIM. This stakeholder symposium was a first step in providing systematic guidance for future CER in this field.
doi:10.1155/2012/531096
PMCID: PMC3544532  PMID: 23346206
6.  MERGING conventional and complementary medicine in a clinic department – a theoretical model and practical recommendations 
Background
Today, the increasing demand for complementary medicine encourages health care providers to adapt and create integrative medicine departments or services within clinics. However, because of their differing philosophies, historical development, and settings, merging the partners (conventional and complementary medicine) is often difficult.
It is necessary to understand the similarities and differences in both cultures to support a successful and sustainable integration. The aim of this project was to develop a theoretical model and practical steps that are based on theories from mergers in business to facilitate the implementation of an integrative medicine department.
Methods
Based on a literature search and expert discussions, the cultures were described and model domains were developed. These were applied to two case studies to develop the final model. Furthermore, a checklist with practical steps was devised.
Results
Conventional medicine and complementary medicine have developed different corporate cultures. The final model, which should help to foster integration by bridging between these cultures, is based on four overall aspects: culture, strategy, organizational tools and outcomes. Each culture is represented by three dimensions in the model: corporate philosophy (core and identity of the medicine and the clinic), patient (all characteristics of the professional team’s contact with the patient), and professional team (the characteristics of the interactions within the professional team).
Conclusion
Overall, corporate culture differs between conventional and complementary medicine; when planning the implementation of an integrative medicine department, the developed model and the checklist can support better integration.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0696-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0696-2
PMCID: PMC4459674  PMID: 26055168
Merger; Fusion; Complementary medicine; Health management; Corporate culture; Integrative medicine
7.  Women's reasons for participation in a clinical trial for menstrual pain: a qualitative study 
BMJ Open  2016;6(12):e012592.
Objectives
The aim of the study was to explore women's motivations for participating in a clinical trial and to evaluate how financial compensation impacts women's explanations for participation.
Design, setting and participants
Semistructured interviews were conducted face to face or by telephone with 25 of 220 women who participated in a pragmatic randomised trial for app-administered self-care acupressure for dysmenorrhoea (AKUD). Of these 25 women, 10 had entered AKUD knowing they would receive a financial compensation of €30. A purposive sampling strategy was used.
Results
Women had a long history of seeking help and were unsatisfied with the options available, namely painkillers and oral contraceptives. While interviewees were open to painkillers, they were uneasy about taking them on a monthly basis. The AKUD trial offered the possibility to find an alternative solution. A second reason for participation was the desire to add a new treatment to routine medical care, for which the interviewees considered randomised trials a prerequisite. The financial incentive was a subsidiary motivation in the interviewees' narratives.
Conclusions
Our results contribute to the ongoing discussion of the impact of financial compensation on research participants' assessment of risk. The interviewed women considered all research participants able to make their own choices regarding trial participation, even in the face of financial compensation or payment of study participants. Furthermore, the importance of clinical trials providing new treatments that could change medical practice might be an overlooked reason for trial participation and could be used in future recruitment strategies.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012592
PMCID: PMC5168611  PMID: 27965251
clinical trial participation; motivation; financial compensation; treatment options; dysmenorrhea
8.  Using the framework of corporate culture in “mergers” to support the development of a cultural basis for integrative medicine – guidance for building an integrative medicine department or service 
Background
An increasing number of clinics offer complementary or integrative medicine services; however, clear guidance about how complementary medicine could be successfully and efficiently integrated into conventional health care settings is still lacking. Combining conventional and complementary medicine into integrative medicine can be regarded as a kind of merger. In a merger, two or more organizations − usually companies − are combined into one in order to strengthen the companies financially and strategically. The corporate culture of both merger partners has an important influence on the integration.
Purpose
The aim of this project was to transfer the concept of corporate culture in mergers to the merging of two medical systems.
Methods
A two-step approach (literature analyses and expert consensus procedure) was used to develop practical guidance for the development of a cultural basis for integrative medicine, based on the framework of corporate culture in “mergers,” which could be used to build an integrative medicine department or integrative medicine service.
Results
Results include recommendations for general strategic dimensions (definition of the medical model, motivation for integration, clarification of the available resources, development of the integration team, and development of a communication strategy), and recommendations to overcome cultural differences (the clinic environment, the professional language, the professional image, and the implementation of evidence-based medicine).
Conclusion
The framework of mergers in corporate culture provides an understanding of the difficulties involved in integrative medicine projects. The specific recommendations provide a good basis for more efficient implementation.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S66778
PMCID: PMC4304533  PMID: 25632226
integrative medicine; mergers; corporate culture
9.  A consultation training program for physicians for communication about complementary medicine with breast cancer patients: a prospective, multi-center, cluster-randomized, mixed-method pilot study 
BMC Cancer  2016;16:843.
Background
The aim was to develop and evaluate a training program for physicians for communicating with breast cancer patients about complementary medicine (CM).
Methods
In a cluster-randomized pilot trial eight breast cancer centers (two physicians per center) were randomized to either a complementary communication training program (9 h e-learning + 20 h on-site skills training) or to a control group without training. Each physician was asked to consult ten patients for whom he or she is not the physician in charge. We used mixed methods: Quantitative outcomes included physicians’ assessments (empathy, complexity of consultation, knowledge transfer) and patients’ assessments (satisfaction, empathy, knowledge transfer). For qualitative analyses, 15 (eight in the training and seven in the control group) videotaped consultations were analyzed based on grounded theory, and separate focus groups with the physicians of both groups were conducted.
Results
A total of 137 patients were included. Although cluster-randomized, physicians in the two groups differed. Those in the training group were younger (33.4 ± 8.9 vs. 40.0 ± 8.5 years) and had less work experience (5.4 ± 8.9 vs. 11.1 ± 7.4 years). Patient satisfaction with the CM consultation was relatively high on a scale from 0 to 24 and was comparable in the two groups (training group: 19.4 ± 4.6; control group 20.5 ± 4.1). The qualitative findings showed that physicians structured majority of consultations as taught during the training. Comparing only the younger and less CM experienced physicians, those trained in CM communication felt more confident discussing CM-related topics than those without training.
Conclusion
A CM communication-training program might be especially beneficial for physicians with less consulting experience when communicating about CM-related issues. A larger trial using more suitable quantitative outcomes needs to confirm this.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02223091, date of registration: 7 February 2014.
doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2884-y
PMCID: PMC5096286  PMID: 27809814
Communication; Breast cancer; Complementary and integrative medicine
10.  Integrative Oncology 
doi:10.1155/2013/124032
PMCID: PMC3880716  PMID: 24454484
12.  Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis 
Archives of internal medicine  2012;172(19):1444-1453.
Background
Although acupuncture is widely used for chronic pain, there remains considerable controversy as to its value. We aimed to determine the effect size of acupuncture for four chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain.
Methods
We conducted a systematic review to identify randomized trials of acupuncture for chronic pain where allocation concealment was determined unambiguously to be adequate. Individual patient data meta-analyses were conducted using data from 29 of 31 eligible trials, with a total of 17,922 patients analyzed.
Results
In the primary analysis including all eligible trials, acupuncture was superior to both sham and no acupuncture control for each pain condition (all p<0.001). After exclusion of an outlying set of trials that strongly favored acupuncture, the effect sizes were similar across pain conditions. Patients receiving acupuncture had less pain, with scores 0.23 (95% C.I. 0.13, 0.33), 0.16 (95% C.I. 0.07, 0.25) and 0.15 (95% C.I. 0.07, 0.24) standard deviations lower than sham controls for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headache respectively; the effect sizes in comparison to no acupuncture controls were 0.55 (95% C.I. 0.51, 0.58), 0.57 (95% C.I. 0.50, 0.64) and 0.42 (95% C.I. 0.37, 0.46). These results were robust to a variety of sensitivity analyses, including those related to publication bias.
Conclusions
Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo. However, these differences are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.
doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654
PMCID: PMC3658605  PMID: 22965186
13.  Physician Perspectives on Comparative Effectiveness Research: Implications for Practice-based Evidence 
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care.” The goal of CER is to provide timely, useful evidence to healthcare decision makers including physicians, patients, policymakers, and payers. A prime focus for the use of CER evidence is the interaction between physician and patient. Physicians in primary practice are critical to the success of the CER enterprise. A 2009 survey suggests, however, that physician attitudes toward CER may be mixed—somewhat positive toward the potential for patient care improvement, yet negative toward potential restriction on physician freedom of practice. CER methods and goals closely parallel those of practice-based research, an important movement in family medicine in the United States since the 1970s. This article addresses apparent physician ambivalence toward CER and makes a case for family medicine engagement in CER to produce useful practice-based evidence. Such an effort has potential to expand care options through personalized medicine, individualized guidelines, focus on patient preferences and patient-reported outcomes, and study of complex therapeutic interventions, such as integrative care. Academic medical researchers will need to collaborate with experienced family physicians to identify significant practice-based research questions and design meaningful studies. Such collaborations would shape CER to produce high-quality practice-based evidence to inform family and community medicine.
doi:10.7453/gahmj.2012.1.4.004
PMCID: PMC3833509  PMID: 24278829
Comparative effectiveness research; practice-based evidence; complementary and alternative medicine; patient-reported outcomes
14.  Corporate Culture Assessments in Integrative Oncology: A Qualitative Case Study of Two Integrative Oncology Centers 
The offer of “integrative oncology” is one option for clinics to provide safe and evidence-based complementary medicine treatments to cancer patients. As known from merger theories, corporate culture and integration models have a strong influence on the success of such integration. To identify relevant corporate culture aspects that might influence the success in two highly visible integrative oncology clinics, we interviewed physicians, nurses, practitioners, and managers. All interviews (11 in a German breast cancer clinic and 9 in an integrative medicine cancer service in the USA) were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed with content analysis. According to the theoretical framework of mergers, each clinic selected a different integration type (“best of both worlds” and “linking”). Nonetheless, each developed a similar corporate culture that has a strong focus on research and safe and evidence-based treatments, and fosters a holistic and patient-centered approach. Structured communication within the team and with other departments had high relevance. Research was highlighted as a way to open doors and to facilitate a more general acceptance within the hospital. Conventional physicians felt unburdened by the provision of integrative medicine service but also saw problems in the time required for scheduled treatments, which often resulted in long waiting lists.
doi:10.1155/2013/316950
PMCID: PMC3683441  PMID: 23818923
15.  How Do Patients with Chronic Neck Pain Experience the Effects of Qigong and Exercise Therapy? A Qualitative Interview Study 
Background. The high prevalence of chronic neck pain in high income countries impacts quality of life and the social and work-related activities of those afflicted. We aimed to understand how mind-body therapies and exercise therapy may influence the experience of pain among patients with chronic neck pain. Methods. This qualitative interview study investigated how patients with chronic neck pain experienced the effects of exercise or qigong therapy at two time points: during an intervention at three months and after the intervention at six months. Interviews were analysed thematically across interviews and within person-cases. Based on other qualitative studies, a sample size of 20 participants was deemed appropriate. Results. The sample (n = 20) consisted of 16 women and four men (age range: 29 to 59). Patients' experiences differed according to the therapies' philosophies. Exercise therapy group interviewees described a focus on correct posture and muscle tension release. Qigong group interviewees discussed calming and relaxing effects. Maintaining regular exercise was easier to achieve with exercise therapy. Conclusions. The findings of this study may help health care providers when counselling chronic pain patients on self-help interventions by informing them of different bodily and emotional experiences of mind-body interventions compared to exercise therapy.
doi:10.1155/2016/8010891
PMCID: PMC4932153  PMID: 27418938
16.  Traditional Japanese Kampo Medicine: Clinical Research between Modernity and Traditional Medicine—The State of Research and Methodological Suggestions for the Future 
The Japanese traditional herbal medicine, Kampo, has gradually reemerged and 148 different formulations (mainly herbal extracts) can be prescribed within the national health insurance system. The objective of this article is to introduce Kampo and to present information from previous clinical studies that tested Kampo formulae. In addition, suggestions on the design of future research will be stated. The literature search was based on a summary, up until January 2009, by the Japanese Society of Oriental Medicine and included only those trials which were also available in either Pubmed or ICHUSHI (Japan Medical Abstracts Society). We included 135 studies, half of these studies (n = 68) used a standard control and 28 a placebo control. Thirty-seven trials were published in English [all randomized controlled trials (RCTs)] and the remaining articles were in Japanese only. The sample size for most studies was small (two-third of the studies included less than 100 patients) and the overall methodological quality appeared to be low. None of the studies used Kampo diagnosis as the basis for the treatment. In order to evaluate Kampo as a whole treatment system, certain aspects should be taken into account while designing studies. RCTs are the appropriate study design to test efficacy or effectiveness; however, within the trial the treatment could be individualized according to the Kampo diagnosis. Kampo is a complex and individualized treatment with a long tradition, and it would be appropriate for further research on Kampo medicine to take this into account.
doi:10.1093/ecam/neq067
PMCID: PMC3114407  PMID: 21687585
17.  Unanticipated Insights into Biomedicine from the Study of Acupuncture 
Abstract
Research into acupuncture has had ripple effects beyond the field of acupuncture. This paper identifies five exemplars to illustrate that there is tangible evidence of the way insights gleaned from acupuncture research have informed biomedical research, practice, or policy. The first exemplar documents how early research into acupuncture analgesia has expanded into neuroimaging research, broadening physiologic understanding and treatment of chronic pain. The second describes how the acupuncture needle has become a tool to enhance biomedical knowledge of connective tissue. The third exemplar, which illustrates use of a modified acupuncture needle as a sham device, focuses on emergent understanding of placebo effects and, in turn, on insights into therapeutic encounters in treatments unrelated to acupuncture. The fourth exemplar documents that two medical devices now in widespread use were inspired by acupuncture: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators for pain control and antinausea wrist bands. The final exemplar describes how pragmatic clinical trial designs applied in acupuncture research have informed current general interest in comparative effectiveness research. In conclusion, these exemplars of unanticipated outcomes of acupuncture research comprise an additional rationale for continued support of basic and clinical research evaluating acupuncture and other under-researched therapies.
doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0184
PMCID: PMC4761810  PMID: 26745452
18.  Difficulties Choosing Control Points in Acupuncture Research. Response: Commentary: Differential Cerebral Response, Measured with Both an EEG and fMRI, to Somatosensory Stimulation of a Single Acupuncture Point vs. Two Non-Acupuncture Points 
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00404
PMCID: PMC4980429  PMID: 27562659
somatosensory stimulation; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); electroencephalography (EEG); acupuncture; background rhythm; functional connectivity
19.  Sustained Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation Investigated with Centrality Mapping Analysis 
Acupuncture can have instant and sustained effects, however, its mechanisms of action are still unclear. Here, we investigated the sustained effect of acupuncture by evaluating centrality changes in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging after manually stimulating the acupuncture point ST36 at the lower leg or two control point locations (CP1 same dermatome, CP2 different dermatome). Data from a previously published experiment evaluating instant BOLD effects and S2-seed-based resting state connectivity was re-analyzed using eigenvector centrality mapping and degree centrality mapping. These data-driven methods might add new insights into sustained acupuncture effects on both global and local inter-region connectivity (centrality) by evaluating the summary of connections of every voxel. We found higher centrality in parahippocampal gyrus and middle temporal gyrus after ST36 stimulation in comparison to the two control points. These regions are positively correlated to major hubs of the default mode network, which might be the primary network affected by chronic pain. The stronger integration of both regions within the whole-brain connectome after stimulation of ST36 might be a potential contributor to pain modulation by acupuncture. These findings highlight centrality mapping as a valuable analysis for future imaging studies investigating clinically relevant outcomes associated with physiological response to acupuncture stimulation. Clinical trial registration: NCT01079689, ClinicalTrials.gov.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00510
PMCID: PMC5067410  PMID: 27803655
resting-state fMRI; acupuncture; functional connectivity; centrality; pain
20.  Can Additional Homeopathic Treatment Save Costs? A Retrospective Cost-Analysis Based on 44500 Insured Persons 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0134657.
Objectives
The aim of this study was to compare the health care costs for patients using additional homeopathic treatment (homeopathy group) with the costs for those receiving usual care (control group).
Methods
Cost data provided by a large German statutory health insurance company were retrospectively analysed from the societal perspective (primary outcome) and from the statutory health insurance perspective. Patients in both groups were matched using a propensity score matching procedure based on socio-demographic variables as well as costs, number of hospital stays and sick leave days in the previous 12 months. Total cumulative costs over 18 months were compared between the groups with an analysis of covariance (adjusted for baseline costs) across diagnoses and for six specific diagnoses (depression, migraine, allergic rhinitis, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and headache).
Results
Data from 44,550 patients (67.3% females) were available for analysis. From the societal perspective, total costs after 18 months were higher in the homeopathy group (adj. mean: EUR 7,207.72 [95% CI 7,001.14–7,414.29]) than in the control group (EUR 5,857.56 [5,650.98–6,064.13]; p<0.0001) with the largest differences between groups for productivity loss (homeopathy EUR 3,698.00 [3,586.48–3,809.53] vs. control EUR 3,092.84 [2,981.31–3,204.37]) and outpatient care costs (homeopathy EUR 1,088.25 [1,073.90–1,102.59] vs. control EUR 867.87 [853.52–882.21]). Group differences decreased over time. For all diagnoses, costs were higher in the homeopathy group than in the control group, although this difference was not always statistically significant.
Conclusion
Compared with usual care, additional homeopathic treatment was associated with significantly higher costs. These analyses did not confirm previously observed cost savings resulting from the use of homeopathy in the health care system.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134657
PMCID: PMC4521756  PMID: 26230412
21.  Differential cerebral response to somatosensory stimulation of an acupuncture point vs. two non-acupuncture points measured with EEG and fMRI 
Acupuncture can be regarded as a complex somatosensory stimulation. Here, we evaluate whether the point locations chosen for a somatosensory stimulation with acupuncture needles differently change the brain activity in healthy volunteers. We used EEG, event-related fMRI, and resting-state functional connectivity fMRI to assess neural responses to standardized needle stimulation of the acupuncture point ST36 (lower leg) and two control point locations (CP1 same dermatome, CP2 different dermatome). Cerebral responses were expected to differ for stimulation in two different dermatomes (CP2 different from ST36 and CP1), or stimulation at the acupuncture point vs. the control points. For EEG, mu rhythm power increased for ST36 compared to CP1 or CP2, but not when comparing the two control points. The fMRI analysis found more pronounced insula and S2 (secondary somatosensory cortex) activation, as well as precuneus deactivation during ST36 stimulation. The S2 seed-based functional connectivity analysis revealed increased connectivity to right precuneus for both comparisons, ST36 vs. CP1 and ST36 vs. CP2, however in different regions. Our results suggest that stimulation at acupuncture points may modulate somatosensory and saliency processing regions more readily than stimulation at non-acupuncture point locations. Also, our findings suggest potential modulation of pain perception due to acupuncture stimulation.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00074
PMCID: PMC4327308  PMID: 25741269
somatosensory stimulation; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); electroencephalography (EEG); acupuncture; background rhythm; functional connectivity
22.  Effectiveness of app-based relaxation for patients with chronic low back pain (Relaxback) and chronic neck pain (Relaxneck): study protocol for two randomized pragmatic trials 
Trials  2014;15:490.
Background
Chronic low back pain (LBP) and neck pain (NP) are highly prevalent conditions resulting in high economic costs. Treatment guidelines recommend relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, as adjuvant therapies. Self-care interventions could have the potential to reduce costs in the health care system, but their effectiveness, especially in a usual care setting, is unclear. The aim of these two pragmatic randomized studies is to evaluate whether an additional app-delivered relaxation is more effective in the reduction of chronic LBP or NP than usual care alone.
Methods/design
Each pragmatic randomized two-armed study aims to include a total of 220 patients aged 18 to 65 years with chronic (>12 weeks) LBP or NP and an average pain intensity of ≥ 4 on a numeric rating scale (NRS) in the 7 days before recruitment. The participants will be randomized into an intervention and a usual care group. The intervention group will be instructed to practice one of these 3 relaxation techniques on at least 5 days/week for 15 minutes/day over a period of 6 months starting on the day of randomization: autogenic training, mindfulness meditation, or guided imagery. Instructions and exercises will be provided using a smartphone app, baseline information will be collected using paper and pencil. Follow-up information (daily, weekly, and after 3 and 6 months) will be collected using electronic diaries and questionnaires included in the app.
The primary outcome measure will be the mean LBP or NP intensity during the first 3 months of intervention based on daily pain intensity measurements on a NRS (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain). The secondary outcome parameters will include the mean pain intensity during the first 6 months after randomization based on daily measurements, the mean pain intensity measured weekly as the average pain intensity of the previous 7 days over 3 and 6 months, pain acceptance, ‘LBP- and NP-related’ stress, sick leave days, pain medication intake, adherence, suspected adverse reaction, and serious adverse events.
Discussion
The designed studies reflect a usual self-care setting and will provide evidence on a pragmatic self-care intervention that is easy to combine with care provided by medical professionals.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier Relaxback NCT02019498, Relaxneck NCT02019134 registered on 18 December 2013.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-490
PMCID: PMC4301893  PMID: 25511185
Neck pain; Low back pain; Relaxation; Mind-body therapies; Smartphone application; Comparative effectiveness research
23.  Internal health locus of control in users of complementary and alternative medicine: a cross-sectional survey 
Background
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used in Germany, with some treatments eligible for health insurance reimbursements. CAM encourages patients to play an active role in their healing process. The belief that a person’s own behavior influences health is assessed as the internal health locus of control (IHLOC). Studies on the association between IHLOC and CAM use yield inconsistent results. Using various indicators of CAM use, we evaluated whether there were differences in IHLOC between different groups of CAM users.
Methods
A cross-sectional online survey was conducted. IHLOC was compared between participants with high and low appraisal of CAM, between participants who used different types of medications (none, CAM, conventional, both), and who consulted with different health care professionals (none, CAM, conventional, both). Independent samples t-tests and ANOVAs were conducted for the total group and for subgroups of chronically ill and healthy participants. Post-hoc, we conducted a multivariate linear regression evaluating which indicators of CAM use or other characteristics showed the strongest association with IHLOC.
Results
A total of 1,054 undergraduate students completed the survey. Participants with high CAM appraisal showed higher IHLOC than those with low CAM appraisal, regardless of whether they were chronically ill (p < .001). Participants without chronic conditions showed higher IHLOC when only using CAM medications than when using either conventional medications alone or both conventional and CAM medications (p < .05). All participants showed higher IHLOC when visiting only CAM practitioners than when visiting either only conventional or both conventional and CAM practitioners (p < .05). CAM appraisal was associated the strongest with IHLOC in the linear regression model.
Conclusions
Generally, participants using CAM more or exclusively, and participants with higher appraisal of CAM showed higher IHLOC than those with less CAM use or lower CAM appraisal. Because of the cross-sectional design, it is not possible to determine whether differences in IHLOC are reasons for or consequences of CAM use. Research using a longitudinal design is needed. The sample, though more representative than most student samples, might not represent the general population. Studies evaluating clinical populations might add to the findings.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-320
PMCID: PMC4158078  PMID: 25174734
Internal-external control; Complementary therapies; Cross-sectional studies
24.  Perceived outcomes of spiritual healing and explanations - a qualitative study on the perspectives of German healers and their clients 
Background
Limited research has been conducted on contemporary spiritual healing in European countries. The aim of this article is to report how German healers and their clients experienced and perceived the outcomes of spiritual healing and which explanations they use to describe the perceived effects.
Methods
Semistructured interviews and participatory observation was used to collect data from spiritual healers and their clients. Analyses were based on the methodological concept of directed qualitative content analysis. Data was analyzed using MAXQDA software, discussed and reviewed by a multidisciplinary research team consisting of medical anthropologists, medical doctors and a religious studies scholar.
Results
In total 15 healers and 16 clients participated in this study, 24 interviews with healers, 20 interviews with clients and 8 participatory observations were analyzed. Healers and clients reported outcomes as positively perceived body sensations, increased well-being, positive emotions and symptomatic relief of medical complaints. Clients often described changes in their self-concepts and adapted life values. Explanations for perceived effects included connecting with transcendent sources, construction of meaning, as a result of the client-healer relationship, and as empowerment to make changes. Because the interviewed clients were recruited by the healers, a selection bias towards positive healing experiences is possible.
Conclusion
We hypothesize that concepts of meaning construction, resource activation and the utilization of the clients’ expectations help to explain the data. Grounded in the emic perspective, we propose to use the following outcomes for further prospective studies: positive body sensations, changes of self-concepts and values, changes of medical symptoms and complaints. From the etic perspective, physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing, sense of coherence, meaningfulness of life, empowerment, resource activation, change and symptom control should be further explored as potential outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-240
PMCID: PMC4107996  PMID: 25015094
25.  Effectiveness guidance document (EGD) for Chinese medicine trials: a consensus document 
Trials  2014;15:169.
Background
There is a need for more Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) on Chinese medicine (CM) to inform clinical and policy decision-making. This document aims to provide consensus advice for the design of CER trials on CM for researchers. It broadly aims to ensure more adequate design and optimal use of resources in generating evidence for CM to inform stakeholder decision-making.
Methods
The Effectiveness Guidance Document (EGD) development was based on multiple consensus procedures (survey, written Delphi rounds, interactive consensus workshop, international expert review). To balance aspects of internal and external validity, multiple stakeholders, including patients, clinicians, researchers and payers were involved in creating this document.
Results
Recommendations were developed for “using available data” and “future clinical studies”. The recommendations for future trials focus on randomized trials and cover the following areas: designing CER studies, treatments, expertise and setting, outcomes, study design and statistical analyses, economic evaluation, and publication.
Conclusion
The present EGD provides the first systematic methodological guidance for future CER trials on CM and can be applied to single or multi-component treatments. While CONSORT statements provide guidelines for reporting studies, EGDs provide recommendations for the design of future studies and can contribute to a more strategic use of limited research resources, as well as greater consistency in trial design.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-169
PMCID: PMC4045891  PMID: 24885146
Comparative effectiveness research; Effectiveness guidance document; Chinese medicine research

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