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Acupuncture for depression: state of the evidence
  1. Hugh MacPherson
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hugh MacPherson, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York YO24 1DG, UK; hugh.macpherson{at}york.ac.uk

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Acupuncture is widely used by people with chronic conditions, whether they have self-referred or been referred by medical practitioners. According to a national survey in the UK reported by Hopton et al, psychological problems are the third most common reason for patients to seek acupuncture after musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.1 According to an earlier UK survey of general practitioners (GPs), respondents identified depression as an area where there is an ‘effectiveness gap’ in primary care2; depression was identified as the second most problematic condition to treat after musculoskeletal conditions. Moreover, depression is a growing problem which is set to become the second leading cause of disease burden worldwide by 2020, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study.3 So it is highly concerning that up to 60% of patients do not respond adequately to pharmacological antidepressant treatment4 and …

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