"The Science of Acupuncture"
This excellent article on the topic of scientific studies and clinical trials on acupuncture appeared in the ST today. It is very readable, compared to say this paper which was mentioned in the article.
angry doc wonders if his readers actually read or understand the journal articles he links to; he himself confesses that he cannot understand something like:
But never mind that. What was interesting to angry doc was the author's observation on the difficulties of conducting a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial on acupuncture in China:
Part of the problem in China is choosing the patients to be studied. After all, patients come to hospitals that practice traditional Chinese medicine because they already believe in acupuncture and are likely to be using it to treat another illness. Getting such patients to accept being put into a control group where no acupuncture is applied is almost impossible. This difficulty makes random studies of the effects of acupuncture treatment on stroke patients particularly difficult in a traditional Chinese medicine hospital.
More fundamentally, however, Chinese doctors who use traditional medicine argue that outcome measures of acupuncture as a treatment for stroke should be different from conventional measures used in Western trials, because the theory of acupuncture is different. But no one has yet specified what the appropriate outcome measures for acupuncture should be.
The first paragraph makes perfect sense, but angry doc has difficulty wrapping his brain around the argument in the second paragraph. He blames it on Monday.