Pseudo-medical lipstick on a pig

Pseudo-medical lipstick on a pig

I was wandering the Oxford English Dictionary and found a new definition for worthless: "Noun. A clinical efficacy trial with no blinding, no placebo, and only subjective endpoints derived from patient self-reporting."

The OED is a stickler for examples of usage, so they pointed to Effect of Perineal Self-Acupressure on Constipation: A Randomized Controlled Trial in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The study is out of UCLA, Yale and Southwestern Law School !?!

Usual care or perineal acupressure for constipation. Perineal acupressure. Where did perineal acupuncture come from? I don't know.


The introduction has a discussion on the potential benefits of perineal massage and pressure, which can alter perineal muscles, increase rectal tone (wouldn’t that increase constipation?) and perhaps aid in defecation.  It did for this study.

Then they jump to testing

"perineal self-acupressure, which consists of a patient repeatedly applying external pressure to the perineum."

Why acupressure? Why the acu? They make no mention of meridians or chi, which suits me fine.

There is an acupoint in the perineum in Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine and it is not used for constipation, but rather it

Regulates Yin

• For yin deficient headaches

• Cold penis - a condition usually but not always associated with a lack of sexual desire

• Amenorrhoea and irregular menses

• Heat in the chest • Pain in skin of the body, especially of abdomen and perineum

• Impotence, infertility and sterility, possibly frigidity

• Calms the Mind: used for mania but can be used in less extreme conditions

The perineal points have nothing to do with constipation. So why the acu? Because tarting up a lousy study with pseudo-medicine to give it more cachet and press than it deserves? That is my theory.

This is not an isolated example.  A study adds acu and now it gets far more attention than one that doesn't. We saw this with  Dopamine mediates vagal modulation of the immune system by electroacupuncture.

Virtually anything can get the acu designation if desired, and then more attention. I give antibiotics through acupuncture IV's. Much cooler than regualar IV's. I can publish a study on my outcomes for cellulitis using acupuncture IV's. I'll tell half the patients they are getting acupuncture IV's and half will get standard IV's. I predict better satisfaction in the acupuncture IV cohort.

Maybe we jump on the bandwagon as well to get more press: The Acu-Society of Acu-Science-Based Acu-Medicine?

Points of Interest 12/06/2014
Points of Interest 12/02/2014

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