Pivotal factors concerned in design of acupuncture clinical research: From two articles in JAMA

Two randomized controlled trials of acupuncture concerning polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) were published simultaneously in the 24th issue, 2017 of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). A trial involving PCOS indicated that active acupuncture did not increase live birth compared with sham acupuncture; meanwhile, another trial referring to SUI showed that electroacupuncture resulted in less urine leakage compared with sham electroacupuncture. With an eye to the negative and positive results of acupuncture, three pivotal factors should be contemplated: (1) proper illness for acupuncture, that is, a problem need to be solved in current medical science, and acupuncture may really work for it; (2) proper pre-studied primary outcome, which is better be objective and repeatedly measurable to reveal the therapeutic effect of acupuncture truly and objectively; (3) proper sham control, which can blind the patients to the upmost extent with minimal biological effects. Through the publication of clinical trials of acupuncture in high-impact journals in recent years, researchers should have confidence in their clinical trials by pondering over these three pivotal factors.

Chinese journal of integrative medicine. 2017 Oct 28 [Epub]

Jia-Ni Wu, Zong-Shi Qin, Zhi-Shun Liu

Department of Acupuncture, Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100053, China., Department of Acupuncture, Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100053, China. .

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