In the Zone
November 13, 2014
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Welcome to our new "In the Zone" mobile-friendly format.  In this issue we look closer at the controversial research findings out of Australia, recently published in JAMA indicating "neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function."  At a recent symposium of the World Federation of Acupuncture Societies and the Traditional Chinese Medicine American Alliance of Alumni clinical experts and professional acupuncturists analyzed this study and found a number of unanswered questions and inconsistencies.  See more in the press release below.
Finally, scroll down to our new "In the Zone" Feature area to find out about current and upcoming TCMzone happenings, including updates on TCM business, community, herbal products, and education.  We hope you enjoy these new features! 

Acupuncturists at World Federation of Acupuncture Societies-Houston Conference call for research conducted with rigorous science and rejection of unreliable studies

Houston TX, Nov 4, 2014.
A controversial clinical study of acupuncture treatment on chronic knee pain by an Australia research group has been published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study concluded that "In patients older than 50 years with moderate or severe chronic knee pain, neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function. Our findings do not support acupuncture for these patients." (Oct 1, JAMA, Rana Hinman at el.: "Acupuncture for chronic knee pain: a randomized clinical trial"). These results immediately appeared on mainstream media such as Reuters News. During the interviews with reporters, the authors emphasized that acupuncture does not work on chronic knee pain.

On November 2nd, the Australian study became a hot topic at a symposium organized by the World Federation of Acupuncture Societies and the Traditional Chinese Medicine American Alliance of Alumni (TCMAAA) in Houston, Texas. Preliminary analysis of this study by clinical experts and professional acupuncturists has yielded a number of unanswered questions. These questions tackle the aims of the study, evaluation methods, treatment protocol, and the interpretation of trial data. The report is not only inconsistent with case reports by acupuncturists and real world feedback from patients, but also contradicts several previously published peer reviewed studies. The findings of this report are inconclusive and should, at least, remain open to debate. Distribution of the inconclusive results to the media without greater scrutiny from the medical community was premature.

The organizations of the symposium call for the conduct of more acupuncture research using rigorous scientific standards and the rejection of unreliable studies. When conducting future studies, medical researchers should select projects with the greatest clinical relevance, invite specialized acupuncturists to participate (all acupuncture treatments were performed by MD's with some acupuncture training), encourage multidisciplinary collaboration, respect traditional medical experience, and design studies with high scientific merits and relevant aims. The symposium has concluded that reliable evidences that can stand up to the rigors of scientific debate will ultimately yield the greatest benefit to both patients and medical professionals.


Symposium on Critical Issues of Acupuncture Trials

Traditional Chinese Medicine American Alliance of Alumni (TCMAAA)

World Federation of Acupuncture Societies Houston Conference, 2014



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