Bibliometric analysis of randomized trials in complementary medicine
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Objective: To determine the following features of randomized trials in complementary medicine: the extent to which they are indexed on Medline, the journals in which they are published, dates of publication, the therapies and conditions most commonly the focus of study. Design: Bibliometric analysis of the registry of randomized trials of the Cochrane Collaboration field in Complementary Medicine. Outcome measures: The number of trials in each category. Results: There were 3774 randomized trials on the registry of which 3072 (81%) were indexed on Medline. However, only about a third of these references could be easily found with a Medline search. Trials were published in a total of 965 different journals. Most trials (84%) were published in a conventional medical journal. The number of trials is increasing rapidly, having approximately doubled every 5 year period since 1965. There was a large variation in the number of trials for different complementary therapies. There were a high number of trials in acupuncture (554), herbal medicine (804) and meditation and relaxation techniques (643) but few trials in aromatherapy (47) and osteopathy (18). There were many trials in cardiovascular disease (501), musculoskeletal disorders (386) and surgery-related symptoms (293), but few in fatigue disorders (11). Conclusion: Medline is an incomplete source of randomized trials in complementary medicine. Searching of Medline could be significantly enhanced by changes to keywords and improved data on type of publication. The conditions and therapies subject to trials in complementary medicine do not provide an accurate reflection of clinical practice.