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Does acupuncture have more widespread application? Ask the person who's been needled. That's what the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is doing by soliciting the public's ideas for its research programs through 2009.

In response to growing interest in alternative medical techniques such as mind/body interventions, diet and nutrition, herbal remedies, osteopathy, chiropractic, energy healing, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy and folk therapies, Congress set up the center in 1998 to study these practices. It already has contributed much to NIH's Combined Health Information Database, notably in the areas of dietary supplements and vitamins. Its site, at www.nccam.nih.gov, describes its research programs and offers a way for the public to comment on its forthcoming second five-year research plan.

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