By contributing your experience to this study you will be helping in the search for better therapeutic approaches to the serious illnesses affecting many patients. Reporting your experience could lead to more research on and more availability of promising new treatments.
The use of CAM is on the rise in the United States. While many people turn to these therapies in an effort to maintain good health, others are using CAM, most often in conjunction with conventional medicine, for serious illness. Such CAM use often occurs when the prognosis is not good and conventional medicine has failed to halt disease progression.
Given the large number of patients using these modalities, it is not surprising that patients and health care providers frequently hear anecdotal reports of how a particular CAM modality appeared to be useful in a particular case. This anecdotal evidence based on single cases is inadequate to prove a cause and effect relationship, especially since there are usually other factors (like conventional medical treatment) that could be responsible for the good result. Furthermore, an occasional patient makes an unexpected recovery using no documented therapies at all. On the other hand there is concern that a number of cases of dramatic improvement, and even cure, might not be receiving adequate attention from the medical community, which is often unfamiliar with, and sometimes not open to, CAM modalities. In order to find hopeful avenues for research and new treatments, we are collecting a series of case reports in which CAM has apparently led to significant improvements in serious illness. Unlike single reports this collection gives us some ability to sort through the various possible factors responsible for improvement or recovery. We are particularly interested in cases of apparent cure.
So why participate??.... in order to add your case to others in a search for stronger evidence of therapeutic effect. To help in this effort, please report your experience to us in a brief form on this web site. This can be done anonymously. You may also want to give us permission to reach you for further discussion of your case. At that time we will ask you to sign a consent form approved by the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Institutional Review Board. In this way we can work with you to obtain documentation of the illness and the benefit obtained from use of CAM modalities. All information will be kept strictly confidential and in no instance will any reports on this study include patient names or other identifying information.