Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Death of Acupuncture via MD Novella

here, I cite from an MD's reflection on recent fMRI "Phantom Acupuncture" findings:

001. in "Phantom Acupuncture" (2015-02-19) at the Neurologica Blog, MD Novella writes:

"there are two basic schools of thought when it comes to acupuncture [...a)] that the needles are stimulating a physiological response of some kind at the acupuncture points [...by way of either] a biochemical, neurological, or another known biological response or [...] the still more traditional (but actually less than a century old) belief that the needles are manipulating the life force or qi [...or b)] the other school holds that acupuncture is essentially an elaborate placebo [...and] that acupuncture points have no basis in reality [...]";

when I took the mandatory acupuncture class in ND school, it came across to me as what I then called a PARLOR trick.


 "a recent study looked at performing acupuncture on a phantom limb [...] a now well-established technique of tricking the brain into incorporating a dummy body part as if it were real [...] obviously there is no possibility of any physiological response from the needle penetrating the rubber arm. I further think it is reasonable to conclude that placing a needle into a rubber arm cannot activate acupuncture points (if they existed) or alter qi (if it existed) [...]";

and that is fascinating.  Ain't science grand, in terms of CONTROLS.  And though I teach psychology classes, I'm still amazed at how the psychological component of treatments bedevils and bedevils and bedevils.  CONFOUNDS.

"the totality of evidence strongly indicates that there is nothing specific to acupuncture. Acupuncture points don’t exist, qi does not exist, and the elaborate details of acupuncture treatment do not matter. In other words – acupuncture is an elaborate (and unnecessarily so) placebo [...]";

I feel sad for all the ND students I went to UB with who also did an LAc.

"acupuncture itself is a phantom phenomenon and should go the way of the ether and N-rays [...]";

not to be pessimistic but, unless there's a VERY LARGE class action suit, this will take at least 50 years! And I think with these kinds of findings, there COULD be such a suit in terms of consumer fraud.

002. and I'm reminded of Wohler when he synthesized urea, supposedly saying, regarding the implied refutation of vitalism due to his findings, to paraphase what may be a folk tale anyway:

'and sadly I must report the death of a beautiful idea.'  
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