Research: ERNST and WHITE, D

Listed in Issue 26

Abstract

ERNST and WHITE, Department of Complementary Medicine, Postgraduate Medical School, University of Exeter UK write that although laboratory studies demonstrate that acupuncture may produce physiological effects, clinical studies of acupuncture are often inconclusive . The authors assert that randomised controlled trials are the best way to test for the specific therapeutic effectiveness of a particular treatment modality. Difficulties in clinical acupuncture research include: diversity of forms of therapy; individualised treatments; binding; choosing a credible control procedure; selection of suitable endpoints; and traditional diagnosis . Furthermore, enthusiasm of acupuncture proponents may bias the research they are performing.

Background

Methodology

Results

Conclusion

The authors state that none of these difficulties is insurmountable. They list examples of rigorous trials and offer suggestions in order to improve acupuncture research.

References

Ernst E and White AR. A review of problems in clinical acupuncture research. Am J Chin Med. 25(1): 3-11. 1997.

Comment

As Complementary therapies become more widespread and accepted as effective and safe means of treatment, so will each therapy massage, acupuncture, herbal medicine become subjected to a greater degree to rigorous and critical evaluation. These evaluations and examinations will, in the end, greatly benefit the safe and effective practice of these therapies which will ultimately help patients treated.

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