Research: MANHEIMER and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 127

Abstract

MANHEIMER and co-workers, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine, Kernan Hospital Mansion, Baltimore, MD 21207, USA, have reviewed (34 references) published reports of acupuncture trials.

Background

Systematic reviewers generally evaluate randomized controlled trials (RCTs) based on the published reports. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the description of methods in the published reports is an accurate and complete reflection of study procedures used.

Methodology

The authors of 51 RCTs included in a systematic review of acupuncture for chronic pain were sent a brief survey that included questions related to the following three important study quality dimensions: (1) generation of allocation sequence, (2) allocation concealment, and (3) blinding of outcomes assessor.

Results

35 of 51 authors responded (response rate 68.6%). Of 35 studies described as randomized in published reports, associated survey responses indicated that 4 actually used quasi-randomized methods. Among published reports with missing information on these quality dimensions, 27 of 32 studies used adequate methods for the generation of allocation sequence, 13 of 34 used adequate allocation concealment and 2 of 10 were blinded, according to survey responses. Survey responses generally confirmed information about randomization and blinding already described in investigators' RCT publications.

Conclusion

Surveying RCT investigators uncovered some information about study quality dimensions not described in published reports. Manheimer E, Ezzo J, Hadhazy V, Berman B. Published reports of acupuncture trials showed important limitations. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 59 (2): 107-113, Feb 2006. LIU and colleagues, Gerontological Department, The First Hospital affiliated to Tianjin College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 314 West Anshan Avenue, China, have found that acupuncture ameliorates oxidative damage in the brains of rats who have had strokes. Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of acupuncture on cognitive deficits and oxidative stress in cerebral multi-infarction rats. Methods: Behavioural animal study. Results: The results showed that acupuncture treatment attenuated memory impairment induced by cerebral multi-infarction, as evaluated by shortened escape latency and increased swimming time of rats with memory impairment in the target quadrant. The data additionally suggested that acupuncture treatment ameliorated oxidative injuries induced by cerebral multi-infarction by increasing the activities of the enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in the hippocampus. Further investigation revealed that acupuncture treatment significantly increased the expression of superoxide dismutase in the hippocampus of the impaired rats. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that acupuncture can exert beneficial effects on the brains of rats that have experienced strokes. Liu CZ, Yu JC, Zhang XZ, Fu WW, Wang T, Han JX. Acupuncture prevents cognitive deficits and oxidative stress in cerebral multi-infarction rats. Neuroscience Letters 393 (1): 45-50, Jan 23, 2006

References

Surveying RCT investigators uncovered some information about study quality dimensions not described in published reports. Manheimer E, Ezzo J, Hadhazy V, Berman B. Published reports of acupuncture trials showed important limitations. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 59 (2): 107-113, Feb 2006.

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