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Thursday, February 27th, 2014
A guest post by an Acupuncture enthusiast
It is claimed that some studies in the use of acupuncture have shown that this therapy can be effective for reducing nausea and vomiting brought on by chemotherapy and after medical or dental operations. See www.ncbi.nih.gov/pubmed/10228456 and www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809733 for example.
In addition advocates of acupuncture claim these trials also show that it may also be helpful in alleviating headaches, period pains, lower back pain and can help to ease the symptoms of addictions, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma among other conditions.
But are these so-called clinical trials valid? Below are a number of concerns raised by medical scientists and my response to these. At this point I will make it clear that I am not responding as a biomedical scientist. My response is based around how do you interpret what is truth?
Truth from the biomedical perspective of the scientist Robert T Carroll (see http://www.skeptic.com/acupunc.html) includes high calibre studies which should be “large, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials with low experimental attrition published in high quality medical journals that have been independently validated by other investigators.” (Bausell 2007)
Very few clinical trials on acupuncture fulfil any of these criteria. Carroll cites a number of examples of trials in which he points out that the number of participants were small; the drop-out rate was significant and the difference in variables between the acupuncture group, control group and the group following other medical advice too great to show valid and objective outcomes. These factors he points out skews the results in favour of acupuncture.
Unfair Clinical Trials for Acupuncture
Monday, February 24th, 2014