Stephen Straus's Impossible Job

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Science  02 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5471, pp. 1568-1570
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5471.1568

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Alternative medicine--loosely defined as treatments and practices not commonly taught in medical schools, not generally used in hospitals, or covered by insurance companies--is big business. Scientific rigor is sorely needed in this enormously popular but largely unscrutinized field. Now Stephen Straus, who was recruited last fall to head up the National Institutes of Health's new National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, is facing what may be a superhuman task: evaluating unconventional treatments--and pleasing both believers and skeptics.