Integrative Care
Policy News

European Roadmap for CAM Unveiled

30 November, 2012 by David Finer

The scientists of CAMbrella, an EU-funded research network for CAM, have presented the findings of three years’ work. CAM is described as a woefully neglected research area, requiring a coordinated European approach.

On Thursday November 29, the CAMbrella scientists´ network unveiled their ‘Roadmap for European CAM research in Brussels. CAMbrella consists of academic research groups which do not advocate specific CAM treatments. I C´s Torkel Falkenberg and Johanna Hök have participated  in the work as Swedish coordinators and were on hand in Brussels.

Developed a roadmap
In the project, 16 partner institutions from 12 European countries have been working together to develop a ‘roadmap` that is appropriate for the health care needs of EU citizens and acceptable to the European institutions as well as their national research funders and health care providers.The project was funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission since January 2010.

A lack of data in the majority of member states meant that it was only possible to study 18 of the 39 member states and associated countries.

Half of Europe uses CAM
CAM is in high demand by the citizens of Europe: as many as half of all citizens in Europe use complementary and alternative medicine for their healthcare needs.

Speaking at the final conference in Brussels project coordinator Dr Wolfgang Weidenhammer, centre for CAM research at the TU Munich said:

– Citizens are the driver for the use of CAM. Their needs and views on CAM are a key priority and their interests must be investigated and addressed in future CAM research.

150,000 MDs know CAM
There are more than 150,000 registered medical doctors with additional CAM certification in Europe and more than 180,000 registered and certified non-medical CAM practitioners.

That means there are up to 65 CAM providers per 100,000 inhabitants compared to the EU figures of 95 general medical practitioners per 100,000 inhabitants.

“Regulation and education chaos”
However, regulation of and education in CAM is different in each of the 39 European countries. Speaking at the conference, Prof. Vinjar Fonnebo, director of the Norwegian Institute for CAM research at the University of Tromso said:

– The current EU regulation and education chaos for CAM provision makes it impossible for health professionals to give safety and security to their patients and clients.

Call for research
The CAMbrella researchers call on the EU to support and implement CAM research that pays proper attention to the real world conditions of European healthcare. Professor Jarle Aaarbacke, rector of University of Tromso explains:

– CAM is not part of the medicine we teach and learn in European universities – but it is nevertheless used by large numbers of patients and providers across Europe, so it is better if we understand more about it.

Adds Prof. Dr. Benno Brinkhaus, who led the roadmap workpackage:

– If CAM is to be employed as part of the solution to the health care challenges we face in 2020, it is vital to obtain reliable information on its cost, safety and effectiveness in real world settings. CAMbrella’s vision is for an evidence base, which enables European citizens and policy makers to make informed decisions about CAM.

Call for European centre
CAMbrella recommends establishing a European research centre for CAM, allowing researchers to:

– develop a uniform and scientific approach to CAM research, and thereby determine the prevalence of CAM in Europe
– research the most promising CAM treatments for the most common health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cancer
– review patient safety, and
– evaluate the integration of CAM into routine healthcare treatments.

The CAMbrella project thus plays a central role for CAM and healthcare in Europe, it all depends now on taking up the proposals and putting them into action, summarizes Dr. Weidenhammer.

For further details including a summary of key findings of the project, please contact Bettina Reiter on +43 699 1717 8682 or e-mail Klicka här  All documents generated by the project are available on the website:

David Finer

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