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Two papers challenge exclusion of acupuncture in government guidelines

April 28, 2017

New Rochelle, NY, April 28, 2017-- Even as news in the United States recently highlighted the growing inclusion of acupuncture and other complementary and integrative medicine therapies in guidelines for multiple pain conditions, the exclusion of acupuncture in two British governmental guidelines is challenged in a paper and a commentary that are presently available free on The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) website until May 29, 2017.

In "The U.K. NICE 2014 Guidelines for Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Lessons Learned in a Narrative Review Addressing Inadvertent Limitations and Bias," an international team of co-authors led by Netherlands researcher Stephen Birth, PhD challenge the UK's National Institute for Healthcare Excellence (NICE) for holding acupuncture to a higher evidentiary standard than other modalities. The authors also challenge the panel's decision to focus on clinical trials with sham acupuncture, given that the sham methods are known to not be inert, thus diminishing the "effect size" of acupuncture.

In an invited JACM commentary on this guideline and another on low-back pain and sciatica that also excluded acupuncture, United Kingdom acupuncture researcher Hugh MacPherson, PhD, MBAcC also takes the NICE panel to task for also being "compromised by inconsistent application of criteria between interventions for different modalities." The commentary is entitled "NICE for Some Interventions, But Not So NICE for Others: Questionable Guidance on Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis and Low-Back Pain."

"While the authors fall short of accusing the NICE panel of intentional bias, it is dumbfounding and deeply unfortunate in a time of advancing awareness of the public harm from over-reliance on pharmaceuticals in pain treatment that NICE should choose to stack the deck against the significant evidence for acupuncture as another tool," says The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Editor-in-Chief John Weeks, johnweeks-integrator.com, Seattle, WA.
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About the Journal

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) is a monthly peer-reviewed journal published online with open access options and in print. Led by John Weeks (johnweeks-integrator.com), the Co-founder and past Executive Director of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, the Journal provides observational, clinical, and scientific reports and commentary intended to help healthcare professionals, delivery organization leaders, and scientists evaluate and integrate therapies into patient care protocols and research strategies. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Medical Acupuncture, and Journal of Medicinal Food. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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