publication date: Jun. 6, 2014

Semantics
NIH to Drop “Alternative From Center’s Name; Integrative Better Describes Current Focus

The word “alternative” may soon disappear from the name of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The name NIH officials now prefer is the National Center for Research on Complementary and Integrative Health.

By replacing “alternative” with “integrative” and mixing in “research,” NIH officials hope to make the title reflect the evolution of this sometimes controversial exploration of the world outside the mainstream of allopathic medicine.

The center’s director, Josephine Briggs, said that most people currently use non-mainstream approaches along with conventional treatments, rather than in place of conventional medicine.

“We believe that our current name no longer accurately reflects our Congressional mandate, which is, in part, to study the integration of these practices as a complement to conventional care,” Briggs said to The Cancer Letter. “The addition of the term ‘research’ will better represent the fact that we support a portfolio of rigorous research and will dispel any myths that we support the use of unproven products or practices.”

Created as the Office of Alternative Medicine in 1992, the NIH unit focused in part on alternative cancer treatments and purported cures, which included the “antineoplastons” therapy offered by Houston practitioner Stanislaw Burzynski http://cancerletter.com//articles/20131204_10. A clinical trial of the remedy was never concluded because of disagreements between the investigators and Burzynski.

It’s a safe guess that, if left to its own devices, NIH would have stayed away from alternatives. However, former Rep. Berkley Bedell (D-Iowa)—who claimed nitrogen treated … Continue reading 40-23 NIH to Drop “Alternative From Center’s Name; Integrative Better Describes Current Focus

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