A small, little-known branch of the National Institutes of Health, NCCAM was launched a dozen years ago to study alternative treatments used by the public but not accepted by mainstream medicine. Since its birth, the center has spent $1.4 billion, most of it on research.
A Tribune examination of hundreds of NCCAM grants, dozens of scientific papers, 12 years of NCCAM documents and advisory council meeting minutes found that the center has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on studies with questionable grounding in science.
The spending comes as competition for public research money is fierce and expected to get fiercer, with funding for the NIH expected to plateau and even drop in coming years.
Credit: Edzard Ernst
This is an excellent article that follows up on the Science-based Medicine group (Gorski included) that went to NCCAM offices to express these views directly to Briggs. Another group, the Center for Inquiry, also calls for the abolishment of this agency. A curious point that needs to be understood is the difference between evidence-based medicine (that may show an effect) and science-based medicine (that considers plausibility as well). CAM can be evidence-based but often isn’t science-based. That means that more poorly done research results get touted as positive.