BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7010.960 (Published 07 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:960

Acupuncture is probably the best researched of the alternative or complementary treatments, and that may explain why the list of its possible complications is long and daunting (Acupuncture in Medicine 1995;13:26-33). These range from bleeding at the needle site and drowsiness (which may affect the ability to drive) to pneumothorax and hepatitis. The authors of the review point out, however, that 3% of adults in Britain consult acupuncturists in one year, so a total of 216 reported serious complications world wide is a reassuring figure.

Newspaper advertisements were used to recruit 25 college students with eating disorders described in the “American Journal of Psychiatry” (1995;152:1279-85). Their mean age at the onset of symptoms was 14.7 years. Only four of the 25 had sought treatment, and none had benefited. Fifteen had a history of major depression either before or after the start of their eating problems.

Follow up of 37000 Danish women found to have cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, or anus between 1943 and 1990 showed that they had more than twice the rate of lung …

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