National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Research Results by Date

Research spotlights of selected studies are shown below. For a full list of published NCCAM Research to-date, see PubMed.

Spotlights for 2009

The dietary supplement Ginkgo biloba was found to be ineffective in lessening cognitive decline in older people, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (December 2009)
A woman meditates in an open field of flowers.
A study found that Transcendental Meditation helped college students decrease psychological distress and increase coping ability, and that these changes were associated with decreases in blood pressure. (December 2009)
Kelp forest.
In laboratory experiments, palmitic acid from seaweed blocked HIV‑1 infection. (December 2009)
Black Cohosh
Results from research involving 89 women suggest that black cohosh and red clover are no better than placebo in treating common symptoms of menopause. (November 2009)
A tai chi class.
Researchers conducted a long-term, randomized, controlled trial comparing tai chi and conventional exercise in a group of 40 adults (mean age 65) with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. (November 2009)
Herbalist weighing dried herbs.
In China and other Asian countries, Chinese herbal medicines have long been used to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. (October 2009)
Tea pot with two cups on a tray.
Researchers interested in potential cholesterol-lowering mechanisms of tea tested the effects of green tea and black tea extracts on cholesterol synthesis in liver cells from rats. (October 2009)
Acupuncture performed on a person's back.
Although acupuncture has long been used to treat pain, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. (September 2009)
A woman practices a meditative yoga pose.
Previous research suggests that yoga, a popular CAM activity, may be beneficial for people with chronic low-back pain. (September 2009)
Chamomile
Findings from a placebo-controlled clinical trial in 57 patients suggest that chamomile may have modest benefits for some people with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder. (August 2009)
A 2007 national survey found that Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on CAM products and services in the past 12 months. (July 2009)
Omega-3 capsules Photo Credit: © iStockphoto.com
Laboratory studies in mice found that fish oil and curcumin affected Alzheimer’s disease–related chemical processes in the brain. (July 2009)
Cranberry
Cranberry juice, a popular home remedy for Urinary Tract Infections, is often taken along with low-dose antibiotics as a preventive measure. (July 2009)
Older man looking at a pill bottle.
NCCAM-funded researchers analyzed the use of prescription drugs and dietary supplements in a sample of 3,070 people aged 75 and older. A substantial number of older adults take multiple prescription drugs as well as... (July 2009)
Red Yeast Rice
In this study, researchers investigated the effects of red yeast rice supplement in patients with high cholesterol and a history of statin-associated myalgia (SAM). The study was partly funded by NCCAM. (June 2009)
Woman holds her lower back in pain
Although therapeutic massage is one of the most popular CAM therapies for neck pain, little is known about its effectiveness for this condition. (May 2009)
Doctor holds model of ear acupuncture points.
A clinical trial of acupuncture for chronic low-back pain concluded that acupuncture may be helpful even if the needles do not penetrate the skin. (May 2009)
Picture of medication bottles.
Summary of an NCCAM-funded study of chromium picolinate’s effect on insulin sensitivity, or other key features of metabolic syndrome. (April 2009)
A man touching his neck.
Although therapeutic massage is one of the most popular CAM therapies for neck pain, little is known about its effectiveness for this condition. (April 2009)
Doctor using acupuncture on a patient.
Clinical trials testing the analgesic (pain-relieving) effects of acupuncture often find that actual (verum) and sham (placebo) acupuncture have similar analgesic effects. (April 2009)
Doctor speaking to patient.
The survey team concluded that CAM research has the potential to make a difference in both conventional and alternative medicine clinical practice. (April 2009)
Managing Low-Back Pain: An Evidence-Based Approach for Primary Care Physicians
Article advises primary care physicians to consider psychological and social factors as well as physical symptoms in managing patients with low-back pain. (April 2009)
Animal study shows one form of vitamin E increases lung inflammation in asthma, while another form reduces it. (April 2009)
Copyright USDA
Researchers recently examined the potential role of a particular grape seed polyphenol extract in preventing and treating certain neurodegenerative disorders. (March 2009)
Pill Bottles
Progressive resistance exercise training (known as PRT) can increase muscle mass and preserve physical functioning in people with HIV. (February 2009)
Measuring herbs by weight.
Scientists reviewed research evidence on TCM herbs for asthma, focusing on studies reported since 2005. (February 2009)
Elderly hands
NCCAM-funded researchers analyzed the effects of a modified version of the classic Chinese formula Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan (HLXL) in an animal model of adjuvant arthritis, which shares some features with human rheumatoid ... (January 2009)
A woman in pain holding the temples of her head.
Acupuncture could be an option for patients suffering from frequent tension headaches. (January 2009)
Omega-3 capsules Photo Credit: © iStockphoto.com
In a study using a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, fish oil enhanced the effects of a green tea component on Alzheimer’s-related chemical processes in the brain. (January 2009)
Mantram Instruction May Help HIV-Positive Individuals Handle Stress
A recent study found that repeating a mantram may help HIV-positive individuals develop coping skills and reduce anger. (January 2009)