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Research into complementary and alternative medicine across Europe and the United States.

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Dipartimento di Sociologia, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy.



There has been an increase in complementary/ alternative medicine (CAM) research with a wide range of perspectives.


To capture and analyse the diversity of CAM research across 7 European countries (Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium) and the US. We were predominantly interested in finding out how CAM research differs between countries.


A systematic review of CAM literature published in 2002 and included in Medline, Embase, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBBS) and PsycLit. OUTCOME CRITERIA: Data were extracted regarding country of origin, type of methodology, type of research question, CAM modality, direction of conclusion, setting and type of journal.


In total 652 abstracts of articles were assessed (Germany: 137, UK: 183, Italy: 39, France: 47, Spain: 24, Netherlands: 17, Belgium: 22, US: 183). The vast majority of CAM research was of a medical nature and published in medical journals. The majority of articles were nonsystematic reviews and comments, analytical studies and surveys. The UK carried out more surveys than any of the other countries and also published the largest number of systematic reviews. Germany, the UK and the US covered the widest range of interests across various CAM modalities and investigated the safety of CAM.


Our data suggest that important national differences exist in terms of the nature of CAM research. This raises important questions regarding the reasons for such differences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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