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Dinesh Gyawali, a doctoral student in physiology, recently received a grant from the Cochrane Collaboration to help subsidize expenses associated with his project to systematically review research on the effect of Ayurvedic preparations on cardiovascular risk factors, specifically high cholesterol.

“It’s a good encouragement that this study was funded,” Mr. Gyawali said. “There has been very little systematic review of Ayurvedic research. This will be a stepping stone toward establishing Ayurveda as evidence-based medicine.”

Mr. Gyawali’s research will entail systematically identifying and gathering published randomized controlled trials, which are considered to be the most rigorous clinical research design.

He will then use specific criteria to assess the quality of each study. And then, if there are enough studies available, he will combine the data from multiple studies to determine whether a particular Ayurvedic preparation is effective.

This combining of data, or meta-analysis, is essential to establishing whether a medical treatment actually works. Meta-analyses published by the Cochrane Collaboration are highly regarded.

Mr. Gyawali said others were competing for this grant and he was pleased his study was selected. The grant is from the Cochrane group focused on complementary and alternative medicine, which is based at the University of Maryland.

He will also conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on Ayurvedic treatments of hypertension.

Mr. Gyawali is an Ayurvedic vaidya (doctor). He offers consultations at the clinic on campus as well as teaching courses on Maharishi AyurVeda(SM).

Jim Karpen is a writer by trade, with a special focus on technology. He has a Ph.D. in English and studied the impact of the computerization of language. In addition to writing for iPhone Life magazine, he has also been writing a column about the Internet for the Iowa Source since 1994. He also edits and publishes the MUM Review.