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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jan;18(1):20-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0671. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Use of Ayurvedic diagnostic criteria in Ayurvedic clinical trials: a literature review focused on research methods.

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Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, NY 10003, USA.



The objective of this literature review is to evaluate whether Ayurvedic diagnostic criteria or Western medicine diagnostic criteria have been used in published clinical trials testing an Ayurvedic intervention/treatment.


The PubMed, Embase, and Allied and Complementary Medicine databases were searched to identify Ayurvedic clinical trials published from 1980 to 2009. A total of 45 Ayurvedic clinical trials were identified and grouped into two time periods: pre- and post-2000 periods. Each article was independently reviewed by two calibrated reviewers.


Analysis revealed that not 1 of these 45 studies, in either time period, reported "only-and-full" use of the 23 available Ayurvedic diagnostic criteria. In fact, 24.4% of these 45 articles never specified any diagnostic criteria at all. While the percentage of articles using Ayurvedic diagnostic criteria (either as "only use" or "combined use with Western Medicine diagnostic criteria") doubled over the two time periods (27.7% to 59%), rarely were more than 2 of the 23 Ayurvedic diagnostic criteria ever used.


To improve confidence in their findings, future studies should strive to correct this observed inappropriate and gross underuse of Ayurvedic diagnostic criteria in the designing of clinical studies that aim to rigorously test the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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