Risks of acupuncture range from stray needles to pneumothorax, finds study

Re: Risks of acupuncture range from stray needles to pneumothorax, finds study

17 September 2012

The truly fascinating think that I learned from the response from MacPherson & Lewith id that "Over one million sessions of acupuncture are provided each year in the NHS".

This is a mind-boggling waste of money because acupuncture does not work to any useful extent. The latest confirmation of this comes from the study by Vickers et al, which was cited by MacPherson & Lewith to reach the opposite conclusion. It hardly matters whether it is correct that acupuncture is better than sham (as concluded by Vickers et al, contrary to much other evidence that shows no difference).

What really matters is that Vickers et al showed that the difference is far too small to be of the slightest clinical interest. Did MacPherson & Lewith read only the abstract of the paper?

Competing interests: None declared

David Colquhoun, Professor

UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

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