An independent review of NCCAM-funded studies of chiropractic
PainSci summary of Ernst 2011?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
Dr. Edzard Ernst is a highly qualified critic of sloppy researchers in alternative medicine. In this review of The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) studies of chiropractic therapy, he finds that “their quality was frequently questionable. Several randomized controlled trials failed to report adverse effects and the majority was not described in sufficient detail to allow replication.” But if NCCAM cannot produce the best quality studies of alternative medicine, who can? No organization has ever been better funded (or motivated) to validate alternative therapies.
Ernst concludes: “It seems questionable whether such research is worthwhile.”
To promote an independent and critical evaluation of 11 randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of chiropractic funded by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Electronic searches were conducted to identify all relevant RCTs. Key data were extracted and the risk of bias of each study was determined. Ten RCTs were included, mostly related to chiropractic spinal manipulation for musculoskeletal problems. Their quality was frequently questionable. Several RCTs failed to report adverse effects and the majority was not described in sufficient detail to allow replication. The criticism repeatedly aimed at NCCAM seems justified, as far as their RCTs of chiropractic is concerned. It seems questionable whether such research is worthwhile.
These two articles on PainScience.com cite Ernst 2011 as a source:
- PS Does Chiropractic Work? — An introduction to chiropractic controversies like aggressive billing, spinal adjustment as a panacea, treating kids, neck manipulation risks, and more
- PS Does Spinal Manipulation Work? — Spinal manipulation, adjustment, and popping of the spinal joints and the subluxation theory of disease, back pain and neck pain