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expert reaction to study on acupuncture for side effects of radiation treatment in head and neck cancers

 A study, published in JAMA, reports on on acupuncture for side effects of radiation treatment in head and neck cancers.

 

Prof Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, said:

“This two-centre study shows that real acupuncture is better than usual care but not significantly better than sham acupuncture in controlling the symptoms of xerostomia. The most interesting aspect of this trial, in my view, is the fact that the findings differ remarkably between the US and the Chinese centre. We know from previous research that acupuncture studies from China are notoriously unreliable. In essence, the trial confirms that acupuncture is little more than a theatrical placebo.”

 

‘Effect of True and Sham Acupuncture on Radiation-Induced Xerostomia Among Patients With Head and Neck Cancer’ by M. Kay Garcia et al. was published in JAMA Network Open at 16:00 UK time on Friday 6th December. 

DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.16910

 

Declared interests

None received. 

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