Surprising acupuncture study

Studies are still giving us conflicting answers about acupuncture.  First, scientists from Britain brought good news – acupuncture seemed to be better than drugs for headache sufferers.  Now, we read in JAMA the bad news – this time from Germany.  This was a large, controlled study of 302 patients suffering from migraine.  This time there was a baseline group who didn’t get treatment, and then a group that got acupuncture, and another group that got "fake" acupuncture.  Fake acupuncture basically meant that they got needles in non-acupuncture points.  The result?  There was a decrease in migraine attacks, in the acupuncture group, and the exact same decrease in the sham acupuncture group!

So what’s the moral of the story?  Could there simply be a benefit from being pricked anywhere by needles?  Is it simply the human interaction that’s providing the benefit?  No doubt more studies are needed.

By the way, even the group that had no treatment improved, though not as much.  Maybe the best treatment is being a part of a clinical trial!  Have you volunteered lately?

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