The Difference Between Reporting and Realty.

The Difference Between Reporting and Realty.

At one time I thought that the B students when into journalism. Now? I sometimes think they didn't even graduate college.

For example, take the reporting on The Use of Acupuncture for Pain Management in Pediatric Patients: A Single-Arm Feasibility Study.

  • A preliminary study on 55 children who received 8 acupuncture sessions for chronic pain.
  • No sham comparison.
  • No blinding of the patients or the practitioners
  • Only subjective endpoints, pain, nausea and quality of life.

And as would be expected, as occurs in all, I repeat ALL, such studies of pseudo-medicines, the patients reported improvement. Intervening always has benefit. If you do snail therapy, the patients will report feeling better, as demonstrated by Penn and Teller.

To prove efficacy of an intervention it has to be double blind and placebo controlled. Anything less tells you nothing, nothing, about efficacy. And when you do quality studies of acupuncture and other pseudo-medicines that meet those criteria, they fail. Every time.

The response to the acupuncture by these children is exactly what one would expect from a theatrical placebo. This study says nothing about the efficacy of acupuncture. Nothing. Nor about acupuncture's safety.

But let's say you are a website and writer and have zero critical thinking skills, as in Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?

First, start with a picture showing horrible infection control: bare hands on the needles. I can see why the child in the picture is unhappy. He sees an MRSA infection in his future.

Besides the fact that the Chinese do not use acupuncture on their children as they know better, the article says

A new study finds massive benefits.

No. It doesn't.  No massive benefits here.

There is a growing body of evidence that acupuncture, the traditional Chinese technique of inserting hair-thin needled into strategic points on the body, is safe with no adverse effects.

Only if you do not bother search PubMed for the growing body of evidence of acupuncture complications.  And acupuncture has

some real benefits.

To the cash flow of the acupuncturist,  Clinical benefits can be seen only as long as the study quality stinks on ice.

offers solid proof that acupuncture is something parents should consider for their kids.

as long as your definitions of 'solid proof' is completely lacking in clinical and intellectual rigor.

says study author Angela Johnson, a licensed acupuncturist. "Now we have proof that, when done by an expertly trained provider, acupuncture is very low risk. When you weigh the pros and cons, it's a very safe and effective thing to at least try."

No pros to acupuncture if one reads the literature carefully.  And no conflict of interest, oh no, nothing to see here, keep moving.

Above all, though, it's imperative to find an acupuncturist who's licensed and has the proper credentials.

Licensed and credentialed nonsense is still nonsense.

This is similar to all the reporting on all the news outlets on the web concerning this study.

The disconnect from the trivial and unimpressive results of the study and the bombastic reporting is remarkable. But that seems to be the journalistic standard.

Points of Interest 12/29/2015
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