US GOV'T RELEASES MAJOR REPORT
ON ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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.
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
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.
home - moss
reports - books -
- contact - order
chronicles - faq
- free email newsletter