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Altern Ther Health Med. 2000 Jan;6(1):49-53.

Factors that shape alternative medicine: the role of the alternative medicine research community.

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Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA.


The documented prevalence of alternative medicine practices in the United States warrants a critical evaluation of this field. Although adequate scientific evaluation is needed, it is doubtful that such research will take place unless other factors are taken into account that remain overlooked. We have previously proposed a conceptual definition of alternative medicine practices and outlined those sociological, political, economic, and regulatory factors independent of the alternative healthcare community that could potentially hamper the optimal evaluation of alternative medicine. In the present article, we discuss other relevant issues to which the alternative healthcare community contributes. These factors originate both from within biomedicine (e.g., demands for specific scientific approaches, explanatory models) and within the alternative medicine community itself (e.g., the use of jargon, insularity, a profit-minded research agenda).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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