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    Acupuncture Works To Reduce Menopause Hot Flashes - Meta-analysis
    By News Staff | July 14th 2014 02:17 PM | 54 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    2,500 years after acupuncture - inserting needles into the body to control energy flow - was first used by the ancient Chinese, it remains in the realm of alternative medicine.

    Some people swear by it, just like some swear by Atkins Diets and homeopathy, but alternative medicine does not become real medicine unless it survives double-blind clinical trials, and acupuncture can't beat placebos in those. As a substitute, we get a meta-analysis of randomized, clinical trials. A new meta analysis in Menopause indicates that acupuncture can affect the severity and frequency of hot flashes for women in natural menopause.  

    Their search of previous studies uncovered 12 studies with 869 participants that met the specified inclusion criteria to be included in this current study. While the studies provided inconsistent findings on the effects of acupuncture on other menopause-related symptoms such as sleep problems, mood disturbances and sexual problems, they did conclude that acupuncture positively impacted both the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

    Women experiencing natural menopause and aged between 40 and 60 years were included in the analysis, which evaluated the effects of various forms of acupuncture, including traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture (TCMA), acupressure, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture and ear acupuncture.

    Interestingly, neither the effect on hot flash frequency or severity appeared to be linked to the number of treatment doses, number of sessions or duration of treatment. However, the findings showed that sham acupuncture could induce a treatment effect comparable with that of true acupuncture for the reduction of hot flash frequency. The effects on hot flashes were shown to be maintained for as long as three months.

    Although the study stopped short of explaining the exact mechanism underlying the effects of acupuncture on hot flashes, a theory was proposed to suggest that acupuncture caused a reduction in the concentration of β-endorphin in the hypothalamus, resulting from low concentrations of estrogen. These lower levels could trigger the release of CGRP, which affects thermoregulation.

    "More than anything, this review indicates that there is still much to be learned relative to the causes and treatments of menopausal hot flashes," says NAMS executive director Margery Gass, MD. "The review suggests that acupuncture may be an effective alternative for reducing hot flashes, especially for those women seeking non- pharmacologic therapies."

    A recent review indicated that approximately half of women experiencing menopause-associated symptoms use complementary and alternative medicine therapy, instead of pharmacologic therapies, for managing their menopausal symptoms.




    Comments

    "However, the findings showed that sham acupuncture could induce a treatment effect comparable with that of true acupuncture for the reduction of hot flash frequency. "

    Translation - acupuncture is a placebo. To put it another way, it doesn't work.

    You should be ashamed of your incorrect and highly misleading headline.

    Hank
    It is a meta analysis and did conclude it works. Maybe you should read past the headline before commenting:
    2,500 years after acupuncture - inserting needles into the body to control energy flow - was first used by the ancient Chinese, it remains in the realm of alternative medicine.

    Some people swear by it, just like some swear by Atkins Diets and homeopathy, but alternative medicine does not become real medicine unless it survives double-blind clinical trials, and acupuncture can't beat placebos in those.

    I did read past the headline. In fact I quoted a piece 2/3 the way down the article, so perhaps you are the one who isn't reading. The meta analysis certainly did not conclude it works. It concluded that there was an improvement but that the same improvement was achieved in the control group. In a real clinical trial, that means it didn't work.

    Not sure what the point was of the bit you quoted - it just confirms what I was saying, namely that " acupuncture can't beat placebos." But thanks for quoting it anyway.

    So ironic that in Hank's quote, he supports Skeptico's point. You nailed it Skeptico and if people think that placebos are medicine, then accupuncture away. If you want treatment that works, maybe pick a proven therapy. Just sayin'.

    Hank
    Except in 1,500 articles here and in a whole book and in pieces every major media outlet I never once said that placebos are medicine. So please document where you invented that goofball assertion.
    You effectively said acupuncture was medicine, i.e. it works. But the meta-analysis you are describing flat-out says that acupuncture is equivalent in effectiveness to placebo. Ergo, if acupuncture is "medicine", so must be placebo. See why we might be confused?

    Hank
    I said nothing of the kind. Not ever, not "effectively", not now. This is a fabrication you are creating as part of some weird agenda I am unaware of - but when people start to make up stupid nonsense about me, alarm bells go off.
    So am I reading incorrectly? The first two words of the title of this article are "acupuncture works". Which it doesn't, at least not better than sham/placebo; correct? So in the medical/scientific sense, it does not "work". This is a science website?

    Hank
    I am not surprised you are puzzled about what a science website is, given your penchant for hyperbole, exaggeration and then outright fabrication in your comments.  You think science websites exist for idiots to write snark and sarcasm.  Any anonymous moron on the Internet can do that.
    So I'm not incorrect? Thanks for verifying

    The headline should probably read "Acupuncture no better than sham for menopausal hot flashes -- meta-analysis" in order to read more accurately. You do note in your article that acupuncture can't beat sham/control in double-blind studies; this just doesn't seem to be vibing with your tag-line and subsequent discussion.

    It is a meta analysis and did conclude it works.

    The text of the meta-analysis said it works. The data shows that sham acupuncture works just as well. If Pfizer tried to sell you a new pill that works "just as well as placebo", would you take it?

    The data shows that it doesn't matter where you put the needle. It doesn't matter if you penetrate the skin. It doesn't matter if you use needles or toothpics. But it does matter if the practitioner is nice or not. Once you take away skin penetration, needling location and even needles, what is left that is "acupuncture"?

    Why is there a double-standard for acupuncture where "working as well as placebo" means it "works", but such a standard for Big Pharma is unacceptable? And note that I'm not asking for Big Pharma to be able to sell products that work no better than placebo - I'm asking for people to evaluate acupuncture with the same standard of evidence that one would use anywhere else. Just seems like hypocrisy to me.

    Hank
    Some people swear by it, just like some swear by Atkins Diets and homeopathy, but alternative medicine does not become real medicine unless it survives double-blind clinical trials, and acupuncture can't beat placebos in those.
    There was precisely one acupuncture fan who bothered to comment. Everyone else is just bitching because press release claims about acupuncture are not banned on the Internet in some sort of Big Brother rage. 

    Yours is the only comment that is rational so you are to be applauded for asking the right question and doing without the weird posturing.
    Loved the book BTW, but I do wish it'd drawn on more of the scientific literature and less on blog posts a la Ben Goldacre or Paul Offit. At the same time, they were all blogs that I read and love, so...

    I read my comments and others above as being very close, if not identical, in meaning, though differing in tone. But it's the internet, a Rorschach test for whatever we want to project onto it.

    Hank
    Agreed.

    On the book, that is probably a common debate in publishing. While there are a few blog posts out of 600 citations (and even one Wiki link) that was because a lot of the literature is not available to read, and the publisher wanted sources people could look up. So we ended up using a lot of newspaper and magazine articles and even blog posts about things instead of the primary sources to try and make it more open for the public to fact check. Anything open, government papers and such, we were able to link.
    Ah, a facet of publishing I wasn't aware of. And thinking about it, I believe my reaction mostly came to some of the most interesting statements where I went "Wow, that's cool - what's the reference?" And I vividly recall seeing Respectful Insolence as the answer several times (though, of course, memory is more fallible than reliable). So it certainly doesn't reflect a systematic assessment of all the footnotes, much more likely a reflection my own interests.

    I hope you used a permanent link to a specific wikipedia page version, otherwise link rot is an inevitability ;)

    Hank
    It was for something simple, a calculation of beef calories versus gasoline calories, in dismissing that 'it takes a gallon of gas to make a pound of beef' environmental myth. The real references were in textbooks.

    The only really weird one was when I had written an article using primary research here - and someone a newspaper had basically ripped it off. In keeping with not self-citing I had to cite someone who had clearly read my article - and hadn't even bothered to include a link back to me.  :-)
    You actually are quite uninformed here as to what "placebo" is. It is a mass misconception that "placebo effect" means something doesn't work. The placebo effect actually proves that the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. This is most relevant in the field of acupuncture - sadly, to fit acupuncture into the realm of "double blind studies" (which you would understand are horribly flawed if you spent any time in medical schools and in research classes (I have for instance) they had to come up with "sham acupuncture" which is completely flawed, because there's no way to fake it. The needles affect nerves, hormones and tissues in different places and cause the body to react and heal itself. For many conditions, such as menopausal hot flashes, it doesn't matter where in the body the needles go, they produce the desired effect. The text you quoted said that these patients ALL GOT BETTER. regardless of where the needles went. That doesn't prove it doesn't work, it proves that you can't recreate the idea of a "placebo" with acupuncture. it's not a pill, it's a manual manipulation of the body.

    Actually it is you who is misinformed. The placebo effect is mostly misreporting, regression to the mean, confirmation bias. Regardless, if a drug company were to market a drug as "works" (per the headline) and yet was actually no better than placebo (as with this trial), would you think that was OK? Should the drug company be allowed to sell the drug while claiming it works? If not, why is this acceptable for acupuncture?

    The placebo effect actually proves that the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself.

    Completely true, and trials where the placebo effects are the same as the intervention indicates that all of the credit should go to the body's remarkable ability to heal itself - not the intervention.

    So in the case of this meta-analysis, the headline should be "acupuncture's ability to treat menopause symptoms actually the body's ability to heal itself". That would be a much more accurate headline than "acupuncture works".

    No I wouldn't, and I should have made more clear the difference in placebo consideration in acu vs drugs...because drugs have many side effects. Statins, for instance, went down in efficacy after about 5 years across the board because the original hype wore off. The "placebo effect" made those drugs more effective....

    But in the case of acupuncture, the fact that even people who got needles in 'unofficial' locations all GOT BETTER, hardly proves that something doesn't work. All that proves is that the placement of needles in unofficial locations is not a good control. You can't tell 800+ women who saw a decrease in the severity and/or frequency of hot flashes that it doesn't work. As both an acupuncturist and a masters level research student, I have personally helped cut the frequency of their hot flashes in half after the first treatment, as well as analyzed many studies involving acupuncture, your apprisal is exactly the kind of misconception that makes us shake our fist at the person who developed "sham acupuncture". It's not a sham, it's a terrible control because it still affects the endocrine and nervous systems.

    one of those makes a peripheral reference to what might fall into the category of "side effect": namely temporary dizziness and numbness and bruising. the first two going away within minutes, and bruising in normal time. All the rest of those are accidents mostly perpetrated by people who have no business putting needles in people, for instance the first article: a "licensed massage therapist" is not a licensed acupuncturist. they are trained in how to needle in the chest to avoid puncturing a lung. In this country they want to allow physical therapists to needle people. personally, I'd rather have someone who went through 4 years of school for acupuncture than an MD who watched how-to videos over a few weekends or physical therapists who read how in a book only.

    So if dizziness, numbness and bruising occur for drugs, then we get to ignore them too?

    If acupuncture training focussed solely on avoiding needling locations that could be potentially dangerous, infection control and totally ignored the magical nonsense associated with traditional Chinese medicine (i.e. qi, meridians, needling specific points, lengthy diagnostic interviews based on spurious anatomy and physiology - all the stuff that doesn't matter about acupuncture) I would have less of a problem with it. But it doesn't. The "real" acupuncturists you seem to set apart from people who learn about acupuncture over a weekend spend years learning about needling locations, and given the complete lack of sterilization procedures or gloves used in most pictures of acupuncture, apparently none learning about infection control. Further, this article searched Chinese databases, suggesting that Chinese practitioners were involved (and found 35 deaths). One might note that this is the "no true Scotsman" logical fallacy - you are essentially saying that even though people were getting acupuncture, anybody who got hurt wasn't getting real acupuncture. Would you be willing to extend this argument to medicine? Would you argue that since "real" medicine wouldn't injure a patient, any doctor who kills a patient wasn't a "real" doctor? You would quite neatly reduce the rates of medical error from millions down to zero with such an approach.

    Also, one would assume that the former president of South Korea went to a "real" acupuncturist, what with being from a country where acupuncture is a traditional discipline.

    Look - if someone is getting stuck with acupuncture needles, after seeking out someone to deliver acupuncture, and gets it from someone claiming to provide acupuncture, woudln't you say that they are getting acupuncture? I would. And given the consistent failure of acupuncture to prove itself superior to sham acupuncture (of either the needling location or retractable needle kind) and the existence of known adverse effects including infection and death, don't you think a rational approach would be to spend all the time focussing on what really matters - sterile technique and avoiding lungs, nerves and blood vessels? Or simply to use sham needles rather than real ones? Or simply using non-penetrating massage?

    Even if serious rare events are rare, isn't it worth trying to reduce or eliminate them, particularly given the fact that the main factors that lead to serious and minor events don't actually seem to matter?

    With all due respect, and kindness, I have to point out that everything you said above , regarding the training we receive, what we study, what qi and meridians etc are, is completely wrong. The base knowledge you are basing your statement on is flawed. And while it's too lengthy for an internet comment, if you had any interest, there are some surprising things in the world for you. It's not "magic". In the briefest most basic way: it's just the way Eastern and western ways of thinking differ. The west knows about qi too. They just have many different names for it.

    I won't be back to this page, but I see a lot of blind adherence to singular points of view here. It's worth remembering that in the west, "the scientific method" produces far more wrong answers than right ones. Right treatment and medical expertise changes every few years.

    It's a big world. There are a lot of ideas. Don't close yourselves off. And feel free to never try anything you don't want to.

    The west knows about qi too. They just have many different names for it.

    Is it vitalism? Which was discredited several hundred years ago? Or perhaps the "human energy field" that Emily Rosa proved humans can't actually feel when blinded? Or some sort of nonspecific hormonal effects from skin penetration? In which case - why do we see them when the skin isn't penetrated, and why not use this fact to design an acupuncture protocol that specifically avoids needling areas that can lead to serious medical complications, like the torso?

    I won't be back to this page, but I see a lot of blind adherence to singular points of view here.

    Are you sure you aren't just flouncing off because you can't find a response to the quite reasonable questions being asked and you find that disconcerting?

    It's a big world. There are a lot of ideas. Don't close yourselves off. And feel free to never try anything you don't want to.

    One must keep an open mind, but not so open that one's brain falls out. I've an open mind to acupuncture having effects beyond placebo, but so far the evidence, particularly the best evidence in well-controlled trials, keep telling us that nothing about the acupuncture protocol matters beyond having a nice person ask you questions and then thinking you got "real" acupuncture. And for that matter, what kind of acupuncture? Tibetan? Chinese? Japanese? French? Russian? Korean?

    Asking for evidence isn't closing one's mind, it's simple, basic fact checking and rational skepticism that, in this case, protects you from the slight but real risks of infections, pneumothorax, cardiac tamponade, bruising, dizziness, and above all the very real possiblity of wasting your money on an elaborate placebo.

    But in the case of acupuncture, the fact that even people who got needles in 'unofficial' locations all GOT BETTER, hardly proves that something doesn't work. All that proves is that the placement of needles in unofficial locations is not a good control.

    Your mind is closed to what studies are actually showing, and you are just making ad hoc excuses for the failure of your preferred magic healing system. If needling in the "wrong" place produced the same result as needling in the "right" place, this shows that all the special precise places (approx 2,000 IIRC) acupuncturists use, are irrelevant. In other words, chi and meridians almost certainly do not exist and acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo.

    You can't tell 800+ women who saw a decrease in the severity and/or frequency of hot flashes that it doesn't work.

    Of course you can. That's exactly what you can tell them, if your mind is not closed to the evidence. The easiest person to fool is yourself. We have made great strides in understanding health and diseases since we stopped using the "it worked for me" method and invented randomized studies with controls. This website has the word "science" in its name. it should report on good science not wishful thinking and anecdotes from people with an agenda.

    ...your apprisal is exactly the kind of misconception that makes us shake our fist at the person who developed "sham acupuncture". It's not a sham, it's a terrible control because it still affects the endocrine and nervous systems.

    If it is not possible to have a control then you don't know that it works. This is just basic scientific methodology, and your magic healing system doesn't get a free pass

    But in the case of acupuncture, the fact that even people who got needles in 'unofficial' locations all GOT BETTER, hardly proves that something doesn't work. All that proves is that the placement of needles in unofficial locations is not a good control.

    Your mind is closed to what studies are actually showing, and you are just making ad hoc excuses for the failure of your preferred magic healing system. If needling in the "wrong" place produced the same result as needling in the "right" place, this shows that all the special precise places (approx 2,000 IIRC) acupuncturists use, are irrelevant. In other words, chi and meridians almost certainly do not exist and acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo.

    You can't tell 800+ women who saw a decrease in the severity and/or frequency of hot flashes that it doesn't work.

    Of course you can. That's exactly what you can tell them, if your mind is not closed to the evidence. The easiest person to fool is yourself. We have made great strides in understanding health and diseases since we stopped using the "it worked for me" method and invented randomized studies with controls. This website has the word "science" in its name. it should report on good science not wishful thinking and anecdotes from people with an agenda.

    ...your apprisal is exactly the kind of misconception that makes us shake our fist at the person who developed "sham acupuncture". It's not a sham, it's a terrible control because it still affects the endocrine and nervous systems.

    Shaking your fist? Always a compelling scientific argument. Unfortunately by "shaking your fist" rather than responding with evidence, you reveal yourself to be a true believer, totally immune to any contradictory evidence. If it is not possible to have a control then you don't know that it works. This is just basic scientific methodology, and your magic healing system doesn't get a free pass

    LOL. As you wish. there's no magic here.

    "but alternative medicine does not become real medicine unless it survives double-blind clinical trials, and acupuncture can't beat placebos in those. As a substitute, we get a meta-analysis of randomized, clinical trials. A new meta analysis in Menopause indicates that acupuncture can affect the severity and frequency of hot flashes for women in natural menopause."
    The second sentence should say that, as a substitute, we actually get told about comparisons to no treatment rather than placebo. The last quoted sentences tellingly fails to say "compared to what". Maybe acu-hammer on toe works even better, though it might not work as well if you do it yourself. North American Menopause Society needs help.

    How a science blog can lead an article with that headline is beyond me... Unscientific, irresponsible, and frankly sad.

    If you want to know how a real science source covers a story like this, read Scieb=nce Based Medicine today. Their conclusion:

    Yet again we see that the clinical data with acupuncture studies is essentially negative. In this case acupuncture does not work for menopausal symptoms. Proponents of acupuncture, however, turn the logic of science and clinical trials on its head by bizarrely concluding that no difference between treatment and control means the control works also (rather than the usual interpretation that the treatment does not work).

    Source: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/acupuncture-for-menopausal-symptoms/...

    Lack of dose response, similarity in efficacy to sham acupuncture, and probable conflict of interest (or at the very least cultural bias) make this study more useful as an example of a poorly conducted study than as support for acupuncture. Sadly, something tells me it will be used more for the latter.

    Yup, I actually used rbutr to add the SMB article as a rebuttla to this article;

    http://rbutr.com/rbutr/WebsiteServlet?requestType=showLink&linkId=4075190

    Hank
    Why wouldn't you just link to the original press release, though?  I like Science Based Medicine, they gave my book a rave review, but by claiming to be more rational and skeptical and then not even linking to the actual press release, much less the study, you make them look like they don't know the difference between the two. And they certainly do.
    Why wouldn't you just link to the original press release, though? I like Science Based Medicine, they gave my book a rave review, but by claiming to be more rational and skeptical and then not even linking to the actual press release, much less the study, you make them look like they don't know the difference between the two.

    What on earth are you talking about. I linked to SBM because the guy explained what the study actually showed (unlike the author or this post). The SBM page had a link to the study.

    I think what Hank is saying, and I could be wrong, but I think what he is saying is "don't complain to me, I didn't write the study. Complain to the publisher, or in the comments of the study itself, or the press release that accompanied the study, but I don't know why you would complain here."

    Hank
    I don't even think the title is inaccurate, though I don't mind taking the heat for it. Number of acupuncture sites that have linked to it? Zero. Because they read it for what it really says, Acupuncture Claims To Cure X According To A Meta-Analysis. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Then the first two paragraphs debunk acupuncture.

    The only people upset about it are anti-acupuncture people, who think carrying this press release at all deserves condemnation. It's ironic that people who claim to be much more scientifically literate than acupuncture and magic soap believers seem to lack the science literacy and reading comprehension of acupuncture people, who clearly see this for what it is. And what it isn't.


    I linked to this because it indirectly refutes this article. You're right that I should ALSO use it as a rebuttal to the press release, and will do so now.

    My action of linking the SBM article as a rebuttal has nothing to do with their views and so no one should take my action as an indication that they don't know the difference b/w the two

    by claiming to be more rational and skeptical and then not even linking to the actual press release, much less the study

    The very first sentence of the SBM article links to the pubmed page for Chiu et al. and further down it links to this Science 2.0 page. I'm not sure if you missed the pubmed link, or if there is some reason you feel a pubmed link is inferior to the abstract found on the publisher's webpage.

    Hank
    I haven't read it, I have no reason to read it, I am certain I have said whatever they say a hundred times. I was simply asking why someone who put it as a rebuttal to a press release here, rather than use the original press release or the study. While we only have one acupuncture zealot who commented here, we have had a lot of anti-acupuncture zealots ranting about it being here. 

    One weird little kook even said I was endorsing acupuncture, which is just unhinged.

    Someone coming from outside and reading these comments would think NCCAM and its supporters are positively enlightened compared to the pitchforks-and-torches approach of acupuncture critics. 
    Does acupuncture work to reduce menopause hot flashes?

    Hank
    I don't think it works for anything but bilking people out of their money.  Thanks for proving my point that most people commenting haven't even read the press release much less the study or any of the comments where this has been addressed 10 times.  I can feel the IQ of anyone reading this dopey comment plummet in real time. Maybe that proves ESP works.
    My question was rhetorical. I know you don't believe acupuncture works (pssst, I also read your book, on SBM's recommendation...) I think the big pushback is the title of the article. Perhaps "meta-analysis claims..." Would have been more appropriate. I expected you to be beyond ad hominems.

    Hank
    I see it now. 

    If you read these comments for a few days, you would lose patience with someone implying once again that you endorse acupuncture also.

    But you bought my book so...thanks. :-)
    It seems worth pointing out that the article is by "News Staff", not Hank (Dr. Campbell?) so blaming him for the title or report's content seems an exercise in misplaced frustration.

    Someone coming from outside and reading these comments would think NCCAM and its supporters are positively enlightened compared to the pitchforks-and-torches approach of acupuncture critics.

    Well it is the internet. This is where evil goes to thrive, make friends and breed. It's far easier to pick a side and criticize on the basis of tone rather than nuance when you don't have someone's face to look at. Skeptics are no more immune to this reality than any other jumped-up ape with more cortical surface area than one knows what to do with. Most forget this fact at their peril, sadly.

    I was simply asking why someone who put it as a rebuttal to a press release here, rather than use the original press release or the study.

    I explained that in my first comment here, which was:
    You should be ashamed of your incorrect and highly misleading headline.
    If you are associated with thie website in any way, then you should be directing your anger at whoever wrote the headline of this article, or whoever decided to post it at all and not at people pointing out that the headline is wrong.
    And if you are annoyed about people misunderstanding you, you should perhaps consider that your own bad writing is to blame. your response to me was:

    It is a meta analysis and did conclude it works. Maybe you should read past the headline before commenting:

    You are saying the study did conclude acupuncture works. How people were supposed to realize that meant that you didn't think acupuncture works, is a mystery to me.

    It seems to me that Hank Campbell does not realize that this title "Acupuncture Works To Reduce Menopause Hot Flashes - Meta-analysis" will be used by accupuncturists as "another prove that acupuncture works".

    Quacks often give huge lists on their websites of so-called proof or they flood discussions with links.
    They know hardly anyone is going to click it and really read it. If they do click they see the title confirming what they expected to find.
    See? Its on science20.com, now doesn't that sound really reliable?

    Change the title Hank.

    Richard King
    “Some people swear by it, just like some swear by Atkins Diets and homeopathy, but alternative medicine does not become real medicine unless it survives double-blind clinical trials, and acupuncture can't beat placebos in those.”

    Would that be in the way kidney transplants and heart transplants, for example, became “real medicine” via “double-blind clinical trials”, or anaesthetics, or the medication that my wife and daughter were prescribed, while pregnant, but for totally different reasons, conditions, having been through RCTs on hundreds of other pregnant women to verify efficacy and safety? I am well aware that real, practical medicine is somewhat different to theoretical and “laboratory” practice, as is my own profession.

    Double blind trials are not what they are generally cracked up to be. Trials and science generally are very dependant on the knowledge and capabilities of those carrying out the trials are many of those in the complementary and alternative medicine field are flawed from the start because those involved assume an understanding that they do not possess. As a result, an assumed “control”, for example, is not a control at all, or at least far from a guaranteed one.

    A few years ago I became aware of non-penetrating forms of acupuncture, which somewhat complicates the notions surrounding the use of the usual types of “sham acupuncture” in trials “Bothered by hot flashes? Acupuncture might be the answer, analysis suggests”, Science Daily, 14th July 2014 (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081201082353.htm).

    I note a number of comments from self-styled skeptics types and similar, anonymous ones at that, along very well worn skeptic lines and phraseology that, in common with similar approaches all over the Web, are hardly worth taking seriously, let alone ranking in the higher echelons of science, or anything else much for that matter. One of those included a reference to the “Science Based Medicine” take on his story, as published here on “Science 2.0”, written by Steve Novella. Having read several items on the “Science Based Medicine” site, over the years, including those by Steve Novella, I would not take any of it particularly seriously, including his contributions; there is to much self certitude and talking down to people from the usual skeptic “materialistic mainstream knows all” point of view, with the general thrust of the “science” stuck at school level, along with a tendency to fit results and interpretations to fit already held ideas about “what is”. Science 2.0 does not have quite the broad mix of views that were prevalent when I first came across it, several years ago, but it is still a great deal better than Science Based Medicine; that does not take a great deal of effort to achieve but this site does it without even trying, it does not need to. Science 2.0 has its drawbacks, all sites do, but it is a long way from being stuck in the materialistic skeptic rut that many science sites are and I write that despite the complete lack of understanding and the underplaying of my own profession of engineering on this site.

    While, at times, I am not in agreement with the way Hank Campbell puts things I am fully in accord with his blunt responses to the anonymous commenters above; mainstream types do seem to have an agenda to push, rather vigorously, their notion of science, which, in practice, is a rather bog standard level of science, come what may, with all “evidence” and “reasoning” adjusted to meet that end.

    One of those mainstream critics uses the term “quacks”, apparently to refer to those not of mainstream thinking. In practice a quack is a person who claims more knowledge and experience than they actually have. That is frequently the situation with skeptics and mainstreamers generally; they are the ones who claim knowledge they do not have, far more frequently than those they criticise and abuse as supposed “quacks”.

    For example:
    “According to the Oxford International Dictionary the word was first used in 1638. A quack was defined as follows: (1) an ignorant pretender to medical skill, (2) one who professes to have knowledge or skill concerning subjects of which he is ignorant” (http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1996/articles/1996-v11n04-p187.shtml).

    Definition (2) certainly applies to many skeptic and mainstream types; many of them do not even show enough of themselves for others to see if they have any relevant knowledge, or not.

    My knowledge and experience of medicine is at laymen level, plus a bit extra, due to involvement in some elements of non-mainstream medicine and membership of the Scientific and Medical Network (SMN), in which something like two-thirds of the members are medically qualified. I am aware of and accept rather more than the mainstream as to what constitutes us as individuals, as do members of the SMN in general, among many others, and, therefore, also aware that there is a self-healing mechanism. Not only that I have a good general idea of its nature because some non-mainstream approaches “deliberately set out to activate it”, for want of a better way of putting it. That is one of the reasons mainstream science has difficulty in differentiating certain non-mainstream approaches from that which is called placebo; there is little, if any, difference between “placebo” in the “science sense” and the “mechanism” triggered, enhanced, by at least some non-mainstream methods of healing.

    The same critic who does not have the courage to show himself/herself also writes “It seems to me that Hank Campbell does not realise that this title, "Acupuncture Works To Reduce Menopause Hot Flashes - Meta-analysis", will be used by accupuncturists as "another prove that acupuncture works".” Maybe, though many would go into more detail as to why they believe it works. However, the converse would, more than likely to almost certainly, be the case, given the number of skeptic missives I have read; if the outcome of the study had been such for the title of and article to have been "Acupuncture Does Not Work To Reduce Menopause Hot Flashes - Meta-analysis" would be used by skeptics as "another proof that acupuncture does not work".”

    Skeptics, mainstreamers, have their views and all “reasoning”, “logic”, etc., leads from whatever evidence there is to those views; similarly, with “logical fallacies” which are applied to non-skeptics but never seems to apply to skeptics.
    I do not know you or what you are.
    I want to judge your opinion, not your reputation.

    So judge my opinion, not my name.

    A good rule of thumb: the more quotation marks you use around words, the less you are actually saying.

    Richard King

    Although the above comment was not directly linked to my contribution it was immediately below it and seems to refer to a particular aspect of it. On the assumption that presumed linkage is correct:

    1) The use of quotations marks in an integral part of English grammar and my general standard of English is at the Grammar School and university level of the 1950s/1960s. As a born and bred Englishman it is also my native language, so I am not likely to take much, if any, instruction in the use of English; certainly not from someone anonymous.

    2) A genuinely good rule of thumb is to not put any weight whatsoever on comments by cowardly individuals who hide their identity. There are an inordinate number of such intervals among the self-styled skeptics, though even those who do identify themselves rarely know what they are talking about anyway.

    If the linkage is incorrect, presumably you will say so, though, if you do, try having a stiff drink, or something similar and pluck up the courage to come out of your shell.

     

    Congrats! You managed a whole post without resorting to those pesky and confusing quotation marks everywhere, and your writing reads much better because of it...good work. Now if you could just drop the unnecessary numbering of sentences, we'd really be getting somewhere. But alas, you can't win them all.

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