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[escepticos] Acupuncture does work, U.S. panel decides
Aquí mando esto por si a alguien le interesa.
Saludos, Carlos Ungil
Acupuncture does work, U.S. panel decides
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Plenty of evidence exists that acupuncture
works in some cases, and insurers should consider paying for it, a
U.S. panel of experts said Wednesday.
The panel, organized by the National Institutes of Health, decided
the ancient Chinese treatment helped to ease the nausea suffered
after cancer chemotherapy and after getting anesthetic for an
They said evidence also showed it helped the nausea some pregnant
women get and post-operative dental pain.
``We actually did decide that there were a number of situations where
in fact it does work,'' panel chairman David Ramsay, president of the
University of Maryland, told a news conference. ``It is time to take
The panel also said acupuncture might work either with traditional
Western medicine or as an adjunct to it in other areas. These
included addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual
cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia (general muscle pain), low back
pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma.
``We need more high quality research to validate what appears to be
useful for the millions of Americans that have used acupuncture in
this country,'' Ramsay said.
One area in which no study showed acupuncture worked was
in helping people stop smoking. ``That doesn't mean for sure we know
it doesn't work,'' said Marjorie Bowman, a family practitioner at the
University of Pennsylvania. Perhaps the right approach had not been
found yet, she added.
But the panelists, who included doctors who had and had
not used acupuncture, acupuncturists and experts in the areas treated
by acupuncture, said they had been very thorough in their
investigation. They spent two days plowing through studies on
acupuncture and heard from an array of experts.
``We bent over backwards to be careful,'' Ramsay said. He
said not only did acupuncture work for many people, especially in
pain relief, but there was some evidence of how it worked.
``Some links have now been found between the stimulation
of these points in the skin and the things we know to be involved
in pain,'' Ramsay said.
``Considerable evidence supports the claim that opioid peptides
(natural body chemicals that ease pain) are released during
acupuncture and that the analgesic effects of acupuncture are at
least partially explained by their actions,'' the panel's final
report read. ``Stimulation by acupuncture may also activate the
hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum
of systemic effects.'' Both glands are responsible for secreting
The group looked at traditional acupuncture, which involves the
insertion of needles at fixed points into the skin. They did not have
enough research to look at acupuncture methods using lasers.
The panelists said they found no evidence either for or against the
existence of qi -- the energy flows that form the basis for
``It doesn't matter whether qi exists,'' said Lawrence Kushi, an
epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. He added that studies
often showed whether drugs worked without examining the underlying
Most panel members said they had started out skeptical
about acupuncture, but said they were impressed about its lack of
``I honestly thought that what we were looking at with acupuncture
was a very subtle and sophisticated system for expanding the placebo
effect,'' said Daniel Moerman, an anthropologist and expert in
addiction at the University of Michigan.
The placebo effect shows that many people physically
respond to dummy medication, perhaps for psychological reasons.