A recent meta-analysis of acupuncture trials involving patients with headache and migraine, osteoarthritis and back, neck and shoulder pain. Twenty-nine trails met inclusion criteria for the study. True acupuncture was compared with penetrated and non-pentrating sham and the authors conclude that penetrating needles appear to elicit important physiological activity and recommend that this type of sham be avoided in acupuncture studies. (This has been a problem in previous studies attempting to demonstrate acupuncture superiority to sham-acupuncture, where the sham-acupuncture was designed to act as placebo but was in fact eliciting a physiological response).
Full text: Influence of control group on effect size in trials of acupuncture for chronic pain: a secondary analysis of an individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 4;9(4):e93739). Available here
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