Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

The Medical Journal of Australia is Scammed by Acupuncturists

Also to be posted on ResearchBlogging.org when they relaunch the site.
 

Acupuncture has been thoroughly studied in high quality studies. The result is that we know, yes we know, that acupuncture is just an elaborate placebo – a scam. A reputable journal is claiming that low quality evidence contradicts what we know and we should ignore the high quality evidence.[1]

So why did the Medical Journal of Australia fall for this? Are their reviewers incompetent, dishonest, or is there some other reason for misleading their readers with bad research?

What is acupuncture?

You stick special needles into magic qi spots on the patient’s body, in order to affect the body’s magic energy. Not mitochondrial energy. Not any real measurable energy, but some psychic powers, some Stephen King kind of energy.

Any competent/honest researcher would compare acupuncture with a valid placebo. What is a valid placebo? A valid placebo is one that the patient believes is the treatment being studied. If the treatment comes in a pill, you provide a pill that is indistinguishable from the pill, but without the active ingredient. If the treatment is to jab you with needles, you provide an experience that is indistinguishable from the needles, but without influencing any mechanism of action the proponents claim makes the needles work.
 


 

How do we get people to believe they are being stabbed with needles in magic qi spots, without actually stabbing them with needles in magic qi spots? Use toothpicks at spots that acupuncture specialists specify are definitely not magic qi spots.

Every study of acupuncture that has used a valid placebo has failed to show benefit over placebo.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8]

Does this study use a valid placebo?

No. This study uses jargon and misdirection to distract us from the only important part of this study.

This study is just propaganda.

It doesn’t matter where you put the needles.

It doesn’t matter if you use needles.

All that matters is that you believe in voodoo.

We already knew that acupuncture is merely fancy voodoo, with the needles going into the patient, rather than the doll. These researchers want us to ignore the high quality evidence and pretend that the man behind the curtain is as great and powerful as he initially claims to be.

Footnotes:

[1] Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial
Marc M Cohen, De Villiers Smit, Nick Andrianopoulos, Michael Ben-Meir, David McD Taylor, Shefton J Parker, Chalie C Xue and Peter A Cameron
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (11): 494-499. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00771
Abstract from MJA

Free Full Text in PDF format from MJA

[2] A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain.
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, Erro JH, Ichikawa L, Barlow WE, Delaney K, Hawkes R, Hamilton L, Pressman A, Khalsa PS, Deyo RA.
Arch Intern Med. 2009 May 11;169(9):858-66. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.65.
PMID: 19433697

Free Full Text from PubMed Central

[3] Acupuncture for treatment of persistent arm pain due to repetitive use: a randomized controlled clinical trial.
Goldman RH, Stason WB, Park SK, Kim R, Schnyer RN, Davis RB, Legedza AT, Kaptchuk TJ.
Clin J Pain. 2008 Mar-Apr;24(3):211-8.
PMID: 18287826 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[4] Sham device v inert pill: randomised controlled trial of two placebo treatments.
Kaptchuk TJ, Stason WB, Davis RB, Legedza AR, Schnyer RN, Kerr CE, Stone DA, Nam BH, Kirsch I, Goldman RH.
BMJ. 2006 Feb 18;332(7538):391-7. Epub 2006 Feb 1.
PMID: 16452103 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from PubMed Central.

[5] Another acupuncture study misinterpreted
Science Blogs – Respectful Insolence
Orac
May 13, 2009
Article

[6] Acupuncture in the ED
Steven Novella
Neurologica
Article

[7] Emergency acupuncture! (2017 edition)
Science Blogs – Respectful Insolence
Orac
June 20, 2017
Article

[8] On the pointlessness of acupuncture in the emergency room…or anywhere else
David Gorski
Science-Based Medicine
July 25, 2016
Article

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Comments

  1. The article is an example of appalling science. The MJA has made itself look like the marketing arm for acupuncturists.

    How could this article be published?

    -the results show acupuncture actually didn’t work (rescue treatment higher)

    -the authors promoted the results of this study three years ago in the tabloid media, well before publication.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/health/acupuncture-as-effective-as-drugs-in-treating-pain-trial-shows-20140329-35qec.html

    Quite difficult to do a back flip and come up with different conclusions when the “results” have been marketed!

    Is this the quality expected of a NHMRC trial?

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