Friday, February 7, 2014

Acupuncture is Pseudoscience?

There was a study conducted recently that exposed acupuncture as pseudoscience. It found the placebo effect may be the cause of any relief experienced from acupuncture. Researchers studied forty-seven women being treated with aromatase inhibitors. This is a medication for breast cancer that causes the user to experience symptoms of menopause along with muscle and joint pain. Twenty-three of these women received acupuncture for relief while the rest received sham acupuncture where needles are placed randomly but not actually inserted. After the eight weeks of this, all patients reported relief especially when it came to the hot flashes. Because of this, it seems the placebo effect is responsible for the relief. How else would one explain the relief experienced by the women who did not receive acupuncture?
In class we have talked a lot about the placebo effect so far. We have also discussed how if people believe they will get better because of the steps they are taking then they usually will. It seems this kind of thinking may actually go along with acupuncture which has been around for a while. It would be interesting to perform similar studies on a more varied group to see if the placebo is consistently a factor. It is still believed to work because it is a traditional way to find relief in many cultures.


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