Teaching Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: 4. Appraising the Evidence for Papers on Therapy
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Practicing evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) requires practitioners to develop an ability to appraise the quality of published studies addressing questions related to their clinical practice. This paper describes a process by which CAM practitioners can determine the validity of studies evaluating therapeutic interventions. The process requires asking two broad questions: (1). Do the treatment and control group begin with the same prognosis? and (2). Do the treatment and control group remain the same with respect to important prognostic factors? Answering these questions requires determining whether studies used effective randomization, preserved randomization through intention-to-treat analyses, used blinding, and had adequate follow-up of trial participants.
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