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Selected Research Results by Date

NCCIH funds a wide variety of research studies, primarily focusing on three areas: mind and body practices, natural products, and pain. We also conduct research at the National Institutes of Health laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland.

This page provides plain language summaries of a few of the studies that NCCIH has supported or conducted. For more information, see this full list of published NCCIH-funded research studies in PubMed.

Man getting an eye exam

New Analysis Confirms Benefit of Supplements for Slowing Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Substituting lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene in a dietary supplement that slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) increased the supplement’s effectiveness and reduced the risk of lung cancer due to beta-carotene, according to a follow-up analysis of a large clinical trial. This new report, which analyzed 10 years of data from Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

June 2022


Illustration of pain regions of the brain

New Research Shows Variation Among Individuals in Brain Representations of Pain
The brain’s processing of pain differs among people, with more individual variation in some brain regions than others, according to a new study from an international group of institutions in South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Canada, and the United States, including the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The findings of this study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, may help researchers identify potential targets for personalized assessment and treatment of pain.

May 2022


Physician talking to patient in office

National Survey Data Show an Increase in the Percentage of Physician Office Visits That Include Complementary Health Approaches Between 2005 and 2015
The percentage of office visits at which physicians provided or recommended complementary health approaches more than tripled between 2005 and 2015, according to a new analysis of data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). The analysis, which was performed by investigators from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and published in a recent issue of the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, also showed that visits that included complementary health primarily involved patients who were age 45 or older, female, non-Hispanic white, and covered by public or private health insurance.

May 2022


Physician and patient talking

Reasons Physicians Recommend or Don’t Recommend Common Complementary Health Approaches to Patients

A new analysis suggests that physicians use a combination of personal experience and scientific evidence when deciding whether to recommend complementary health approaches. The findings also suggest that physicians who recommend these approaches may have some degree of trust in the opinions of both their peers and patients regarding these approaches. Recently published in Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, the analysis was led by researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and National Center for Health Statistics and partly funded by NCCIH.

May 2022


People around a table looking at papers

Researchers Identify Best Data Source for Monitoring Chronic Pain Among Adults in the United States

According to a new review published in the Journal of Pain, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is the best single surveillance source for monitoring chronic pain data in the United States. The NHIS is an annual interview survey that collects household health data representing the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population. The review was conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH); Kaiser Permanente Washington, Health Research Institute; Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education; the Office of Pain Policy, National Institutes of Health; and Stanford University School of Medicine.

April 2022


Pregnant woman

New Analysis Shows Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Relationship Between Pregnancy and High-Impact Pain

Non-Hispanic White women in the United States are less likely to have high-impact pain when they’re pregnant than at other times in their lives, but this pattern is not seen in non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic White women, according to a new analysis of national survey data. The analysis, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, was performed by researchers from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

February 2022


woman in pain

Acute Pain Tolerance Is More Consistent Over Time in Women Than Men, According to New Research

Many researchers exclude women from pain studies because they assume that hormonal changes in women lead to more variability over time and less reliability in ratings of pain. New research, however, shows that women have higher test-retest reliability (a measure of consistency across measurements) on thermal pain measures than men, disproving the assumption used to justify including only men in pain research. The new study, published in the Journal of Pain, was partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and led by NCCIH researchers.

February 2022


illustration of person with abdominal pain

New Research Shows Changes in Brain Connectivity in Youth With Functional Abdominal Pain Disorders

Youth with functional abdominal pain disorders (FAPDs) have distinctive patterns of brain connectivity that could support the development of biomarkers and inform new treatment approaches, according to a study by researchers from Michigan State University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The study, which was partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, was published in the journal Pain.

January 2022


Illustration of a healing monolayer indicating distributed Piezo1 localization (red dots) following scratch generation (top), the development of areas of PIEZO1 enrichment (middle), and subsequent retraction of those areas (bottom).

New Study Identifies Mechanism Underlying Wound Healing and Potential Target for Speeding Healing Process
The ion channel PIEZO1, which spans cell membranes and helps convert mechanical forces into electrochemical signals, regulates skin cells called keratinocytes during wound healing and may be a target for developing medicines that speed up the healing process, according to a new study published in the journal eLife. The study, partially funded by the NIH New Innovator Award and supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), was conducted by researchers at Scripps Research and the University of California, Irvine.

November 2021


Microscopic image of Bacteroides fragilis

New Study Identifies a Mechanism by Which Certain Dietary Factors and Intestinal Bacteria Can Affect Immune Responses
Diet-induced changes in the structure of bacterial metabolites produced by the human gut symbiotic bacterium Bacteroides fragilis affect host immune regulation, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, Australia. This study, which was partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, was recently published in Nature.

November 2021