Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Cover image for Vol. 21 Issue 2

Edited By: Edzard Ernst, Peninsula Medical School, UK

Online ISSN: 2042-7166

Virtual Issue: 20 Years of FACT

Edzard Ernst

In 1995, when we started FACT, it was an initiative purely by my research team at Exeter. Our idea then was that, after doing all our regular research to keep us informed about the most recent developments, publications and trends in the area of alternative medicine research, we might as well go one small step further and share our findings with the rest of the research community. The idea seemed simple enough, its realisation, however, was far from it. After our initial enthusiasm had waned a bit, we realised that the task we had set ourselves amounted to a lot more than a little hobby, and we looked for a publisher, recruited an international editorial board and gradually diversified the type of articles printed in our journal.

Since these early days, the field of alternative medicine has, of course, changed profoundly. Consequently, FACT needed to adapt. Many changes were the consequence; they included creating an on-line version of FACT, being published by one of the world’s foremost publishers of medical journals, WILEY, finding many more active editorial board members from across the globe, and shifting the emphasis from publishing just summaries/commentaries to more original articles and reviews.

The most important change, however, occurred at a deeper level. Considering that dozens of journals in the area of alternative medicine exist, and that most of these publications are woefully uncritical, I have long felt the need to create a counterbalance to this embarrassingly lop-sided situation. A field such as alternative medicine, I feel, cannot be called mature without a journal embracing internal and external criticism. Therefore I have gradually instilled as much analytic thinking and critical analysis into FACT as seemed possible. I am convinced that this is what the field of alternative medicine needs and what might eventually create progress.

Today, we can all be proud of what we have achieved. In 2013, FACT published articles originating from 26 different countries. Our journal is available in more than 2,700 institutions and in addition, via philanthropic initiatives, in 3,600 institutions of developing countries. In order to celebrate these and all the many other achievements, we have decided to publish this free ‘VIRTUAL ISSUE’ with articles from previous issues.

To determine which articles should go into this VIRTUAL ISSUE, we asked all current members of the editorial board to name those papers from the last 20 years which they liked best. The contents of this VIRTUAL ISSUE is thus democratically chosen by the editorial board. I hope you find it interesting, stimulating and perhaps even thought-provoking.

Edzard Ernst, Editor-in-Chief of FACT
Laing Chair in Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, UK

Virtual Issue Articles

In praise of the data-free discussion. Towards a new paradigm
Edzard Ernst

RCTs for CAM
Edzard Ernst

A true history of acupuncture
David Ramey and Paul D Buell

Should medical students be taught about CAM?
Marja J Verhoef and David Colquhoun

Homoeopathy: relic of the past or medicine of the future? (Marking Samuel Hahnemann's 250th anniversary)
David Colquhoun and Martien Brands

Systematic reviews of RCTs in homeopathy A focused appraisal
Robert T Mathie

Patients' use of CAM: results from the Health Survey for England 2005
Katherine J Hunt and Edzard Ernst

Serious adverse events after spinal manipulation: a systematic review of the Korean literature
Byung-Cheul Shin, Myeong Soo Lee, Tae-Yong Park and Edzard Ernst

Integrated medicine: smuggling alternative practices into rational medicine?
Edzard Ernst

Chiropractic for the prevention and/or treatment of sports injuries: a systematic review of controlled clinical trials
Edzard Ernst and Paul Posadzki

A randomised controlled trial comparing the impact of yoga and physical education on the emotional and behavioural functioning of middle school children
Sara C Haden, Leslie Daly and Marshall Hagin