Objectives To investigate the quality of reporting for randomised controlled trials of acupuncture for neurological disorders conducted in China before and after the implementation of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and Standards for Reporting Interventions in Controlled Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) guidelines.
Methods The quality of reporting for included papers was assessed against a subset of criteria adapted from CONSORT and STRICTA. CONSORT and STRICTA were developed in 1996 and 2001, respectively. Thus, for the date of publication we selected 2-year periods, at 5-yearly intervals: 1994–1995; 1999–2000; 2004–2005 and 2009–2010. These selections cover the periods before the publication dates of both guidelines (1996, 2001) and at least 3 years afterwards, and provide reasonably up-to-date data. We calculated the total score for each guideline and compared reported differences during different date ranges.
Results For CONSORT items (maximum score 8), there was evidence of a slight improvement in reporting between 1994–1995 and 1999–2000 combined (2.5±0.6) and 2004–2005 and 2009–2010 combined (3.0±0.9) (difference 0.5, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.8). For STRICTA items (maximum score 17), there was evidence of a slight improvement in reporting between 1994–1995 and 1999–2000 combined (8.9±1.8) and 2004–2005 and 2009–2010 combined (10.3±1.6) (difference 1.4, 95% CI 0.9 to 1.9).
Conclusions The quality of reporting for studies of acupuncture for neurological disorders has generally improved since the implementation of STRICTA and CONSORT guidelines.
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