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106 thoughts on “NEJM and Acupuncture: Even the best can publish nonsense.

  1. weing says:

    So drugs would be developed and brought to market without any money? Let’s see. Pfizer lost close to a $1 billion trying to bring torcetrapib to market. It failed. The rules of evidence are not undermined. That people are susceptible to corruption, there is no denying it. Especially in government. I think we have to accept greed as a given. Sort of like gravity. Yes it’s involved in bringing bridges and airplanes down, but you have to live with it and work with it. I agree with lack of transparency being a problem. But money being a threat? No. Lack of money? Yes.

  2. ceekay says:

    How about that New England JOurnal article purporting to show Tai Chi is effective for fibromyalgia… Is this another NCCAM-funded “woo” study?

  3. Mark Crislip says:

    Arrrrrggghhhh. Someone beat me to the punch, true integrative medicine, combining East and West.

    Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2010 Apr;35(2):129-33.
    [Randomized controlled clinical trails on treatment of knee osteoarthritis with acupuncture combined with blood-letting therapy]
    [Article in Chinese]

    Wang SH, Xu MZ, Cui SY, Guo YQ.

    Department of Rehabilitation, Acu-moxibustion and Massage, Shenzhen Second Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Shenzhen 518034, China.
    Abstract
    OBJECTIVE: To observe the therapeutic effect of acupuncture combined with blood-letting therapy for knee osteoarthritis (KOA) and to analyze the synergism of the blood-letting therapy.

    METHODS: Sixty-three cases of KOA patients were randomized into a treatment group (n=31) and a control group (n=32). Patients of treatment group were treated with routine acupuncture at Ashi-points, Dubi (ST 35) and Neixiyan (EX-LE 4), Zusanli (ST 36), Yanglingquan (GB 34), etc. on the affected side, 3 times a week for 4 weeks, in combination with blood-letting (at the superficial veins around popliteal fossa) once a week for 4 weeks. Patients of control group were treated with routine acupuncture only. Western Ontario and McMaster Universities osteoarthritis index scores (WOMAC) and clinical therapeutic effects served as the objective indexes for evaluating the efficacy of blood-letting therapy.

    RESULTS: After the treatment, of the 32 and 31 KOA patients in control and treatment groups, 4 (12.50%) and 5 (16. 13) were under control in their symptoms, 14 (43.75%) and 17(54.84%) experienced marked improvement, 10 (31.25%) and 6 (19.35%) had an improvement, and 4 (12.50%) and 3 (9.68%) were failed, with the total effective rates being 87.50% and 90.32% respectively. No significant difference was found between the two groups in the therapeutic effect (P > 0.05). In comparison with pre-treatment, WOMAC scores, pain index, and physiological integral scores in treatment and control groups after the first and the last treatment decreased significantly (P < 0.001), and their joint stiffness index of the last treatment also lowered considerably (P < 0.001). The difference values of the integral scores between post- and pre-treatment in WOMAC, pain index, and physiological function of treatment group were remarkably higher than those of control group (P < 0.05).

    CONCLUSION: Acupuncture combined with blood-letting therapy can effectively improve KOA patients’ physiological function and reduce joint pain especially in the early stage.

  4. Chris says:

    This morning I went to give blood. I noticed an addition to the questionnaire since I last gave two months ago. It asked if I had acupuncture in the last four months.

    Since I have never had acupuncture, I did not find out what the outcome would have been if I had filled in the “Yes” box. I wonder if they let a person give, or ask them to test for hepatitis?

  5. Chris – you could have looked this up* – Now E isn’t going to want you as an assistant. :)

    The American Red Cross site says that people who have recieved acupuncture are eligible. One Ohio chapter states…

    “Piercing (ears, body), Acupuncture

    Accept as long as the piercing instruments were sterile.
    Wait 12 months if there is any question whether or not the piercing instruments were sterile and free of blood contamination.”

    http://chapters.redcross.org/br/northernohio/INFO/eligibility.html

    Another Indiana chapter states something similar (same meaning different verbiage.)

    *In case the smiley face isn’t doing it. Really I’m just funning you.

  6. Chris says:

    The funny thing was that it was a new question, and at the bottom in a box with a different background color. I was thinking that they would counter check if the blood did come up with hepatitis. I suspect someone at the Blood Bank has been reading this blog!

    The ear piercing question was there under “In the last twelve months”, but this one was in the “four months”, so that was different.

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