What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you

 

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Ask for evidence

 

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Keep Libel out of Science

 

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"There is now unanimity that the benefits, if any, of acupuncture for analgesia, are too small to be helpful to patients...The best controlled studies show a clear pattern – with acupuncture the outcome does not depend on needle location or even needle insertion. Since these variables are what define "acupuncture" the only sensible conclusion is that acupuncture does not work. Everything else is the expected noise of clinical trials, and this noise seems particularly high with acupuncture research. The most parsimonious conclusion is that with acupuncture there is no signal, only noise." Professor David Colquhoun, DC Science (30th May 2013)

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"...after decades of research and more than 3000 trials, acupuncture researchers have failed to reject the null hypothesis, and any remaining possible specific effect from acupuncture is so tiny as to be clinically insignificant. In layman's terms, acupuncture does not work – for anything. This has profound clinical, ethical, scientific, and practical implications. In my opinion humanity should not waste another penny, another moment, another patient – any further resources on this dead end. We should consider this a lesson learned, cut our losses, and move on." Steven Novella, MD, Science Based Medicine (19th June 2013)

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Study confirms acupuncture = placebo: "Improvements occurred from baseline, but acupuncture has no specific efficacy over either placebo. The individual practitioner and the patient's belief had a significant effect on outcome. The 2 placebos were equally as effective and credible as acupuncture. Needle and nonneedle placebos are equivalent. An unknown characteristic of the treating practitioner predicts outcome, as does the patient's belief (independently). Beliefs about treatment veracity shape how patients self-report outcome, complicating and confounding study interpretation."  White P, Bishop FL, Prescott P, Scott C, Little P, Lewith G., Pain (December 2011)

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In addition to providing an example of acupuncture practice, this article also looks at the benefits of acupuncture (proven and purported), its potential risks, and the controversy as to its effectiveness. (Wikipedia)

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Provides information about acupuncture that is difficult or impossible to find elsewhere.

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Detailed and comprehensive 139-slide PowerPoint presentation by the late Robert Imrie, DVM. It debunks many of the myths about acupuncture, including the idea that it has been around for thousands of years. (Click on the numbers on the left-hand sidebar of the link to view the slides).

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Includes acupuncture as a system of medicine, resistance to acupuncture in China, acupuncture quackery, "acupuncture anesthesia", acupuncture clinics and failed treatment in the United States, acupuncture and pain relief, adverse effects, and acupuncture teaching. Article by Arthur Taub, MD PhD, (Task Force for Veterinary Science website)

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Four-minute video clip of the BBC2 'Alternative Medicine: The Evidence' episode on acupuncture which shows a young woman having open-heart surgery aided by acupuncture. Programme presenter Kathy Sykes does not explicitly state that the patient was also receiving three powerful conventional sedatives — midazolam, droperidol and fentanyl — along with large volumes of local anaesthetic injected into her chest. (You Tube) [See the link immediately below]

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The committee concluded that "The programme, while making reference to the clinical drugs administered to the patient in the open-heart surgery, did not accurately reflect the effect of acupuncture on each occasion that the operation was referred to and implied incorrectly that acupuncture was being used as the sole source of pain relief. It agreed that this could have misled the audience and upheld the complaint with regard to accuracy". [pdf]

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"Veterinary acupuncture is a triumph of style over substance. Fortunately, most veterinarians haven't succumbed to offering needless needles to animals, in spite of the fact that there are apparently some people eager for such "options." But when you read the next article extolling the virtues of the practice, keep in mind that you're reading a level of journalism commensurate with what's seen on the entertainment pages, information that has essentially nothing to do with good science." Article by David Ramey, Science Based Medicine (8th June 2009)

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"For many Americans, the current wave of public fascination with "complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)" can be traced to a single event: New York Times columnist James Reston's appendectomy in China during the summer of 1971, which Reston reported in an interesting and amusing article on July 26 of that year. Many of those who noticed the publicity following this event erroneously concluded that Mr. Reston had undergone "acupuncture anesthesia"." Article by Kimball Atwood, Science Based Medicine (15th May 2009)

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"A new study which randomized 638 adults to either standard acupuncture, individualized acupuncture, placebo acupuncture using tooth picks that did not penetrate the skin, and standard therapy found exactly what previous evidence has also suggested — it does not seem to matter where you stick the needles or even if you stick the needles through the skin. The only reasonable scientific conclusion to draw from this is that acupuncture does not work." Article by Steven Novella MD, Science Based Medicine (May 2009)

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"There remains no compelling evidence for any of the claims made for acupuncture. When the variables specific to acupuncture are properly isolated there is consistently no demonstrable effect…There is also a complete lack of scientific support for the underlying claims of acupuncture — for the presence of "chi" or life energy that flows through meridians that can be manipulated to influence health and illness." (May 2009)

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"…the disconnect continues. Proponents keep pretending that there is compelling evidence, or it has not been properly studied yet, or it does not have to be studied because historical anecdotes are enough — whichever argument suits the moment. Meanwhile the media keep breathlessly telling us that acupuncture is gaining ground, while the evidence is standing still. The premise of SBM [Science Based Medicine] is that support and resources should follow scientific support. In the world of CAM [Complementary and Alternative Medicine], however, support follows belief, and the science seems to be an afterthought or, worse, an obstacle." Article by Steven Novella MD, Science Based Medicine (18th March 2009)