Clinical Research Programs
Trials at Rios Nete will follow carefully delineated clinical and ethical protocols in (1) conducting medical research on patients’ progress and outcomes and (2) safely utilizing plant medicines. Given that concepts of health and sickness differ between conventional and traditional medicine, standard research methodologies will be adapted to account for both perspectives. The pioneering nature of this research entails clinical study design shaped more by practice-based evidence than by evidence-based practice.
Conducting standard clinical trials, which call for isolating variables and often administering placebos, is widely considered unethical practice for seriously ill patients and at odds with the integrative methodology of Amazonian medicine. Further, though a cohort of patients may have the same disease, their physical and psychological frameworks are distinct from one another and will call for their own set of plant treatments and therapeutic activities.
Accordingly, many clinical trials at the center will be designed according to a “black box” framework, wherein a number of patients with the same illness (as diagnosed according to the criteria of conventional medicine) will receive any mix of therapies the healers and doctors recommend. Patient outcomes will be the focus, and can be broken down into “single-case studies,” which delineate and compare types/dosages of plants given to individuals, the rates of their progress, inter alia.
Whether participating in a specific clinical trial or outside of one, Rios Nete will thoroughly document the diagnosis, treatment plans, and measurable biological and psychological changes in each patient, which will provide much-needed data for consideration by the international medical community and will likely serve as the basis for further research programs.