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Establishing Efficacy in Chronic Stable Conditions: Are 'N = 1 Study' Designs or Case Series Useful?
The aim of this overview is to discuss the usefulness of two research tools often advocated in complementary medicine: the n = 1 study and case series. These methodologies are defined and their advantages and disadvantages are outlined. It is concluded that both designs have advantages and disadvantages. For testing the efficacy/effectiveness of complementary therapies neither design will lead to conclusive, generalizable results. Yet both methodologies can be valuable adjuncts to other types of investigation.