NPRI stimulated a systematic review of North American clinical studies of naturopathic care in a variety of conditions. We gathered and assessed longitudinal clinical studies in which licensed naturopathic doctors had access to the therapeutic and diagnostic tools in their scope of practice--as in observational studies--or to described models of practice. At least 2 therapeutic modalities were required in the included studies. The review follows PRISMA guidelines and is pre-registered with PROSPERO. The results show strong signals of benefit for naturopathic medicine in a variety of conditions. While the article is underway, you can see a copy of the preliminary poster presented on May 16, 2012 at the International Research Congress on Integrated Medicine & Health in Portland, OR here.
A Naturopathic Science & Policy Summit was organized by NPRI and the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and co-sponsored with the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges on August 16, 2011 in Phoenix AZ. Leaders from the naturopathic profession’s agencies in the US and Canada were invited along with media, policy activists, clinicians, academicians, and researchers. The 100 attendees addressed the value of data on the character and outcomes of naturopathic medicine, considering discipline-specific research for purposes of informing government and corporate health care policy. One goal was to define the role of research data in multiple policy domains: licensing, insurance, participation in public health programs and the position of naturopathic physicians in Federal health reform. Another was to assess and report on the commitment to discipline-specific studies in the major sectors of the profession including academic institutions; state, national and specialty associations, individual clinicians and group practices, naturopathic physician-scientists, and industry serving the naturopathic community. Finally, we hoped to set directions for obvious next steps in research. The day began with a view of science and policy from 3 keynotes with perspectives on research from professions that share characteristics in the marketplace and policy arena. Ian Coulter PhD of the RAND Corporation presented on lessons learned in the chiropractic profession. Lorraine Jordan, CRNA PhD, showed how outcomes research paved the way for advances by nurse anesthesists. John Weeks of the Academic Consortium for Complementary & Alternative Health Care shared the research priorities of a multidisciplinary CAM Collaboration. A second session focused on the state of research specific to naturopathic practice, highlighting recent projects that address discipline- and policy-specific issues. A panel followed by four of the profession’s policy and political activists on the needs for policy-informing naturopathic data. The panel was capped by a summary of the federal funding climate for naturopathic health research. Finally four break out sessions—colleges, clinicians, specialty societies and clinician--considered the way forward in terms of naturopathic agencies’ roles, most pressing issues, needs and resources. Findings were summarized by reporters from each group and then overall by the AANP President and NPRI’s Executive Director. Key conclusions affirmed the importance of clinical outcomes research and the need to secure more financial resources for policy-informing research from within the profession as well as from Federal and philanthropic sources. A complete report on the Summit may be found here.
Preliminary results from a recently completed randomized pragmatic trial of a whole practice model of naturopathic care for cardiovascular risk were presented at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians meeting in Portland in August 2010. Dugald Seely, ND, MSc, principal investigator showed data indicating that Canadian postal workers at elevated cardiovascular risk improved under naturopathic care beyond those in usual care in the Framingham CV risk profile. The MYMOP patient-centered outcome measure showed improvements in multiple areas. Patricia Herman, ND, PhD, in a cost-effectiveness analysis of outcomes, showed most cost-savings to be in the indirect costs of work productivity. For more detail on the study before its publication, see a report in The Integrator Blog.
Two naturopathic physician principal investigators received R01 grants from NIH in 2010. One of the awards went to Leanna Standish, PhD ND LAc, at Bastyr University for a comparative observational study of integrated and standard oncology for breast cancer in matched cohorts. Lynne Shinto, ND MPH at Oregon Health & Science University was awarded a grant for an 18 month clinical trial of alpha lipoic acid and omega-3 fatty acids in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Shinto's award ($1.6 million) was made in April from the National Institute of Aging and Standish's ($3.1 million) in July from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Both researchers are graduates of the Bastyr naturopathic medicine program. The two studies are the largest NIH grants that have been made to naturopathic physician principal investigators and Standish's is also the largest research project grant ever made to a naturopathic institution. The breast cancer study will be performed in the Seattle area, including at the Bastyr University Integrated Oncology Research Center and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The Alzheimer's trial will recruit patients in Portland, Medford, Klamath Falls and Bend, Oregon.