The autumn of acupuncture

Published:October 28, 2011DOI:
      Clinical papers dealing with acupuncture frequently open with the assertion that the efficacy of this remedy is a generally accepted fact. Acupuncture, so it goes, is a very old treatment (and has, therefore, “passed the test of time”), is being used by millions of patients in many countries, is taught in several Western universities, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends it in a variety of conditions. In short, a series of circumstances at first sight capable of giving sufficient support to a cure.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment


        • White A.R.
        • Filshie J.
        • Cummings T.M.
        Clinical trials of acupuncture: consensus recommendations for optimal treatment, sham controls and blinding.
        Complement Ther Med. 2001; 9: 237-245
        • MacPherson H.
        • Altman D.G.
        • Hammerschlag R.
        • et al.
        Revised standards for reporting interventions in clinical trials of acupuncture (STRICTA): extending the CONSORT statement.
        PLoS Med. 2010; 7: 1-11
        • Singh S.
        • Ernst E.
        Trick or treatment? Bantam Press, 2008: 68

        • Madsen M.V.
        • Gøtzsche P.C.
        • Hròbjartsson A.
        Acupuncture treatment for pain: systematic review of randomised clinical trials with acupuncture, placebo acupuncture, and no acupuncture groups.
        BMJ. 2009; 338: a3115
        • Cherkin D.C.
        • Sherman K.J.
        • Avins A.L.
        • et al.
        A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for low back pain.
        Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169: 858-866
        • Glantz S.A.
        Primer of biostatistics. 4th edition. McGraw-Hill, 1977: 407
        • Goodman S.N.
        Towards evidence-based medical statistics. 2: the Bayes factor.
        Ann Intern Med. 1999; 130: 1005-1013
        • Matthews R.
        Significance levels for the assessment of anomalous phenomena.
        J Sci Explor. 1999; 13: 1-7
        • Sellke T.
        • Bayarri M.J.
        • Berger J.O.
        Calibration of p values for testing precise null hypotheses.
        Am Stat. 2001; 55: 62-71
        • Pandolfi M.
        • Carreras G.
        Recent trends in medical statistics: their relevance to evidence-based medicine and to complementary alternative medicine.
        Eur J Ophthalmol. 2011; 21: 1-4
        • Popper K.R.
        Conjectures and refutations. Rutledge, 1963: 37
        • Ji-Sheng Han
        Acupuncture and endorphins.
        Neurosci Lett. 2004; 361: 258-261
        • Vul E.
        • Harris C.
        • Winkielman P.
        • Pashler H.
        Puzzlingly high correlations in fMRI studies of emotion, personality, and social cognition.
        Perspectives on Psychological Sciences. 2009; 4: 274-290
        • Cho Z.H.
        • Chung S.C.
        • Jones J.P.
        • et al.
        Visual cortical activations on fMRI upon stimulation of the vision-implicated acupoints and corresponding brain cortices using functional MRI.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1998; 95: 2670-2673
        • Cho Z.H.
        • Chung S.C.
        • Wong EK
        • Lee H.J.
        • Min B.I.
        Retraction. New findings of the correlation between acupoints and corresponding brain cortices using functional MRI.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2006; 103: 10527
        • Beissner F.
        • Henke C.
        Methodological problems in fMRI studies on acupuncture: a critical review with special emphasis on visual and auditory cortex activations. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. vol 2011. 2011 (Article ID 607637)
        • Ernst E.
        • Myeong Soo Lee
        • Tae-Young Choi
        Acupuncture: does it alleviate pain and are there serious risks? A review of reviews.
        Pain. 2011; 152: 755-764