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Summaries of recent papers
  1. Adrian White1,
  2. Michael Meinen2,
  3. Amer Sheikh3
  1. 1Primary Care Group, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, UK
  2. 2Denton Park Health Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Ashford Health Centre, Ashford Hospital, Ashford, Middlesex, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adrian White, Primary Care Group, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, N21 ITTC Building, Tamar Science Park, Plymouth PL6 8BX, UK; Adrian.white{at}

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Papers on osteoarthritis


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Case series (n=3).

The chimpanzee colony at Michale E Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Bastrop, Texas, USA is ageing, showing an increase in osteoarthritis (OA). The authors hypothesised that acupuncture could benefit these non-human primates.


Three chimpanzees aged 40–45 years with at least 3 years history of OA were successfully trained by using positive reinforcement techniques (since repeated sedation was impractical) to voluntarily participate in acupuncture treatments for stifle OA. Training was aimed at sitting stationary for 10 min against the cage mesh and becoming desensitised to needles. ST34, ST35 and ST36 were used weekly, attaching dental floss to the needles to avoid losing them if the animals moved. Two animals were trained to have bilateral treatment. Any existing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication continued unchanged.

A mobility scoring system was used by three to five observers to assess locomotion on a scale of eight descriptors every 3 months. Observers knew which chimps would receive acupuncture but were blinded to the actual timing of the course of treatment.


The two chimpanzees S and J (figure 1) with the most severe OA showed significant (p<0.05) improvement in mobility after acupuncture treatments. Chimp Y was less severely affected and showed no change. Acupuncture therapy resulted in improved mobility and the training sessions also served as enrichment for the animals, as demonstrated by their voluntary participation in the training and treatment sessions.

Figure 1

Chimp mobility scores (1=best) (based on Magden, et al. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 2013;52:475–80).


Acupuncture proved effective, and all statistical tests were one-tailed (!). See also Image of Acupuncture in this issue.

De qi in knee OA

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