New and Future Directions in Integrative Medicine Research Methods with a Focus on Aging Populations: A Review

Lindsey M. Knowles, Perry Skeath, Min Jia, Bijan Najafi, Julian Thayer, Esther M. Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This review discusses existing and developing state-of-the-art noninvasive methods for quantifying the effects of integrative medicine (IM) in aging populations. The medical conditions of elderly patients are often more complex than those of younger adults, making the multifaceted approach of IM particularly suitable for aging populations. However, because IM interventions are multidimensional, it has been difficult to examine their effectiveness and mechanisms of action. Optimal assessment of IM intervention effects in the elderly should include a multifaceted approach, utilizing advanced analytic methods to integrate psychological, behavioral, physiological, and biomolecular measures of a patient's response to IM treatment. Research is presented describing methods for collecting and analyzing psychological data; wearable unobtrusive devices for monitoring heart rate variability, activity and other behavioral responses in real time; immunochemical methods for noninvasive molecular biomarker analysis, and considerations and analytical approaches for the integration of these measures. The combination of methods and devices presented in this review will provide new approaches for evaluating the effects of IM interventions in real-life ambulatory settings of older adults, and will extend the concept of mobile health to the domains of IM and healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-476
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


  • Aging populations
  • Heart rate variability
  • Integrative medicine
  • Stress response
  • Sweat biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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