From The Cancer Chronicles #27
© May 1995 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

[This report is very worthwhile for those seeking an overview of the field of complementary and alternative medicine. I edited the section on Biological and Pharmacological treatments and was a major contributor. --RWM]

The US Government Printing Office has published the first comprehensive report on the status of alternative medicine in the United States. The report, entitled Alternative Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons, was released at a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on 3/2/95.

Prepared under the auspices of the Workshop on Alternative Medicine at Chantilly, VA, 9/14-16/92, Alternative Medicine contains chapters on Mind-Body Interventions; Bioelectromagnetics Applications in Medicine; Manual Healing Methods; Pharmacological and Biological Treatments; Herbal Medicine; and Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) addressed the March news conference. It was Harkin who sponsored the original legislation establishing the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other speakers included AMPAC chairman James Gordon, MD, a Georgetown professor; Brian Berman, MD, the Reports editorial board chair and director of the Division of Complementary Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and David Larson, MD of the National Institute for Health Care Research.

Dr. Alan Trachtenberg, MD, the acting director of OAM, received a copy of the report on behalf of NIH. Other members of the editorial board of the Report who attended the conference were Gar Hildenbrand, Ralph W. Moss, PhD, Richard Pavek, John C. Reed, MD, and Beverly Rubik, PhD. The publication of this report is a signal event in the history of alternative medicine in the US.

It is the first time that the government has paid for or published a report that takes a sympathetic look at treatments that a third of the country is already using.

There were inevitable comparisons with the 1990 Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) Report, Unconventional Cancer Treatments. But the OTA Report was essentially the product of conventional medicine, and repeated many clichÈs about the complementary sphere. By and large, the main representatives of alternative medicine were left criticizing from the sidelines. "Alternative Medicine," on the other hand, is a fair and comprehensive look at methods once considered fringe.

Each chapter is carefully worded and well documented. It avoids both cynical putdowns and naive enthusiasm; rather, it is a sober exploration of the many research opportunities that exist in this fascinating field. The active participation of over 200 leaders and publication by the official Government Printing Office both point to the maturation of alternative medicine as a legitimate part of medicine.

The fact that this conference took place in a Senate office building points to the importance of the friendliness of members of the Congress, especially Sen. Harkin. The Report was initially proposed in 1992 by then-deputy NIH director, Jay Moskowitz, PhD, at a now-famous NIH-funded meeting in Chantilly, VA.

At the March press conference, Sen. Harkin said, >It sets the marker down. I intend to use this Report to hold the NIH accountable.< He added, "my expectation is that NIH will take some of these recommendations" to put the OAM "back on track." Wayne Jonas, MD, OAMs Director designate who takes office 7/1/95, worked on the Report and cochaired its methodology section.

The book fills an urgent need for a rough map of the new world of alternative medicines theory and practices. There are many advocacy texts around, but where else can one go for a reasoned discussion of art and dance therapy, imagery, traditional Oriental medicine, and non-toxic cancer treatments all in one volume? To order Alternative Medicine (NIH Publication No. 94-066) call the Superintendent of Documents at 202-512-1800. The price is $25 each ($31.25 foreign). Fedex is available.

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Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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