Another Worthless Acupuncture Study

Another Worthless Acupuncture Study

If you put "Acupuncture Clinical Trial" into Pubmed there are 5562 returns dating back to 1970. 60 years of attempting to determine if acupunctures, in all its variations, works.

In that time certain characteristics of a good clinical trial have been sorted out: it should be randomized, placebo/sham controlled and, if possible, double-blind.

You would never know it from the acupuncture literature. They continue to put out worthless study after worthless study, ignoring the methodologies that give meaningful results.  Yet another delivery of a study that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike good research.

Take Investigation of 2 Types of Self-administered Acupressure for Persistent Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors in Jama Oncology.

Now we know that any intervention, no matter how ludicrous, is always superior when compared to no treatment for subjective endpoints. That methodology will almost always show benefit. But it is useless for determining if there is any therapeutic effect from the intervention. That is especially true for theatrical placebos like acupuncture.

Given that what predicts a response to acupuncture is knowledge that you are receiving acupuncture (and this is self administered) and believe that acupuncture will be effective, any study that does not take those features into consideration can at best be considered a waste of time.

Not that acupuncture researchers ever pay attention to the past. If there was ever a group that does not learn from history and lives to to repeat it, it is pseudo-medicine researchers. Probably because it is the only way they can generate a positive result.

They compared self-adminstered relaxing acupressure, stimulating acupressure, or usual care in breast cancer patients for symptoms of fatigue, sleep and quality of life.

You do not have to be psychic to know the results. Both interventions were superior to usual care. Water is wet. Fire is hot. This study is worthless.

It is almost funny if it were not so sad: the authors suggest that acupressure for fatigue needs to be evaluated with "rigorous clinical trials" and proceed to ignore the needed methodologies that led to a rigorous trial, yet another example where Why Most Published Research Findings Are False is used as a 'How To' rather than as a warning.

With no sham intervention (actually in this case there are two sham interventions) the only thing this study demonstrates is what we have know for years: people report improvement after any intervention.

And this was published in JAMA. That is the state of peer review for pseudo-medicine: Someone peered at the paper and said "It 'peers to be fine. Publish it."

Points of Interest 07/21/2016
Points of Interest 07/19/2016

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