Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Frequently Asked Questions
15. What are some examples of NIH-sponsored studies of CAM therapies for heart disease?
A large, nationwide study will find out whether chelation therapy is safe and effective in treating heart disease. Chelation uses a chemical called EDTA to remove heavy metals from the body.
Researchers are conducting studies of how meditation and related practices affect heart disease. One study is looking at whether a technique called mindfulness-based stress reduction can help patients who have decreased blood flow to the heart.
In another study, researchers are focusing on ways that garlic might prevent blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack. Research shows that garlic can thin the blood in a manner similar to aspirin. An earlier study found that garlic does not seem to lower LDL, the "bad cholesterol" that increases heart disease risk.
Part of a large study called the Ginkgo Evaluation in Memory study (GEM) found that ginkgo was not effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing the incidence of hypertension, or preventing heart attacks or strokes. The study did show some evidence in a small number of patients that ginkgo may help prevent peripheral arterial disease.