The production of a medical research paper is beset with problems from inception to publication. If the subject involves acupuncture, the problems can seem surprisingly great even for an established university research department.
Most acupuncture reports from China are anecdotal in nature and reviewing the Western literature shows that difficulty in definition of techniques has allowed invasive and non-invasive acupuncture to be used interchangeably, with consequent inaccuracy in the reported results. Because of the physical nature of the treatment, not all accepted criteria for clinical trials are achievable and ethical committees may therefore be reluctant to grant approval. Even publication has been made difficult by scepticism from peer reviewers, although a more enlightened attitude is now gaining ground.
If acupuncture is to become an accepted treatment, scientific evaluation by experienced research teams and perseverance in gaining publication for the results is vital.
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