Background: Public interest in and demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services have increased in recent years throughout the Western world. The aim of the study was to assess trends in publications on CAM in the medical literature between 1963 and 2012 and to compare them with overall trends in publications on medical issues.
Methods: A search of the literature was conducted on CAM and integrative medicine using the PubMed and Google Scholar search engines with key search terms.
Results: Articles on CAM began to appear in the medical literature 50 years ago. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of publications. On PubMed the increase was from 15,764 to 144,288 articles from 1963 to 2012. In the decade between 1963 and 1972 publications on CAM comprised 0.81 % of all the articles appearing in PubMed. Over the course of the 50 years, the percentage increased more than twofold to 1.92 % from 2003 to 2012. On Google Scholar there were 27,170 citations related to CAM between 1963 and 1972. This increased to 2,521,430 between 2003 and 2012.
Conclusions: Over the last 50 years there has been an increase in scientific publications on CAM in general, and on specific CAM treatments in particular.
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