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Selected Research Results

Research spotlights of selected studies are shown below. For a full list of published NCCIH Research to-date, see PubMed.

Spotlights for 2024

Man with service dog

Service Dog Partnerships May Benefit Military Members and Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
A new study suggests that partnering with a trained psychiatric service dog helps lower the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, anxiety, and depression in adults with military-related PTSD. The study, which was recently published in JAMA Network Open, was led by scientists from the University of Arizona, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health partially funded the research.

June 2024

Illustration of smart phone

A Mobile App-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Psychological Distress in Intensive Care Unit Survivors
A new clinical trial tested various ways of delivering a mobile app–based mindfulness intervention for individuals who had symptoms of depression after being treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) for a critical illness. The study showed that the best version of the intervention in terms of effects on psychological distress symptoms, adherence, and feasibility was a version that was fully app based. The study, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, was led by scientists at Duke University, Oregon Health & Science University, and University of Colorado (Aurora) and was partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

May 2024

image of a plant

Veterans With Chronic Pain Value Discussions With Health Care Providers About Natural Products
Veterans value discussions with health care providers about natural products (NPs); however, the perception among some veterans that providers are biased against these products negatively affects patient-provider relationships, according to a new study by researchers from the San Francisco VA Health Care System and other collaborating institutions, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The findings of this study, which was funded by a collaborative agreement through the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements, indicate that providers engaging in conversations about NPs with curiosity and respect can reinforce patient-provider relationships.

April 2024

Illustration of gamma stimulation

Multisensory Gamma Stimulation Promotes Glymphatic Clearance of Amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease Models
A recent study showed that noninvasive Gamma ENtrainment Using Sensory stimuli (GENUS) reduced the accumulation of amyloid in mice models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through the brain’s glymphatic system. The study, conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Westlake University in China, and Boston University, was partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and published in the journal Nature

February 2024

Neuron clearance of metabolic waste

Neurons Generate Synchronized Rhythmic Waves in Brain’s Interstitial Fluid To Help Clear Metabolic Waste
A new investigation provides evidence that neurons in the brain act as master organizers for clearing the brain of metabolic waste and that they do so by synchronizing their actions to create large rhythmic waves in the interstitial fluid (ISF) during sleep. The study, recently published in Nature, was conducted by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

February 2024

Illustration depicting chronic pain and pain relief skills class

Benefits of a Single-Session Pain Skills Class Last for 6 Months in People With Chronic Low-Back Pain
A single 2-hour pain relief skills class continues to reduce pain catastrophizing, pain intensity, and pain bothersomeness in people with chronic low-back pain after 6 months and is no less effective than an 8-session cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program, according to a study from Stanford University, partly funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. These results, published in the journal Pain Reports, extend the findings of a 3-month evaluation and show that the effects of the pain skills class don’t deteriorate significantly from 3 to 6 months.

January 2024

Collage of people using complementary health approaches

Use of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain by U.S. Adults Increased From 2002 to 2022
Over a 20-year period—from 2002 to 2022—U.S. adults not only increased their overall use of complementary health approaches but were also more likely to use complementary health approaches specifically for managing pain. 

January 2024