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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-pull-the-thorn dept.

Medicine 215

Pickens writes "USNWR is reporting that the needle pricks involved in acupuncture may help relieve pain by triggering the natural painkilling chemical adenosine. There are also indications that acupuncture's effectiveness can be enhanced by coupling the process with a well-known cancer drug — deoxycoformycin — that maintains adenosine levels longer than usual. Dr. Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center and her colleagues administered half-hour acupuncture treatments to a group of mice with paw discomfort. The investigators found adenosine levels in tissue near the needle insertion points was 24 times greater after treatment, and those mice with normal adenosine function experienced a two-thirds drop in paw pain. By contrast, mice that were genetically engineered to have no adenosine function gained no benefit from the treatment." Read below for some acupuncture skepticism engendered by other recent studies.
However, many remain skeptical of acupuncture claims. Ed Tong writes in Discover Magazine that previous clinical trials have used sophisticated methods to measure the benefits of acupuncture, including 'sham needles' (where the needle's point retracts back into the shaft like the blade of a movie knife) to determine if the benefits of acupuncture are really only due to the placebo effect. 'Last year, one such trial (which was widely misreported) found that acupuncture does help to relieve chronic back pain and outperformed "usual care". However, it didn't matter whether the needles actually pierce the skin [paper here with annoying interstitial], because sham needles were just as effective,' writes Tong. 'Nor did it matter where the needles were placed, contrary to what acupuncturists would have us believe.'"

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This just in (1)

DevConcepts (1194347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406004)

Old news
"Hieroglyphs and pictographs have been found dating from the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100 BCE) which suggest that acupuncture was practiced along with moxibustion."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture#Antiquity [wikipedia.org]

Re:This just in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406184)

your mother's a slut

Impressive (3, Funny)

chocapix (1595613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406018)

So, poking the skin with a sharp object triggers the release of painkillers by the body? I'm impressed.

Re:Impressive (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406226)

hehe. That's why I love habanero or bhut jolokia. Basicly the same thing. Hurt yourself to get the good old adenosine feeling.

Re:Impressive (1)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406408)

I once had a habanero laced masala dosa at a fancy eatery in SF. I thought I'd try to flaunt my 'credentials'.

Ohhh my gourd!

Anyways, lots of traditional therapies for pain relief depend upon capsaicin, some depend upon poisons such as bella donna, etc. etc.

meh

Re:Impressive (3, Interesting)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407178)

Yeah, and the therapies based on capsaicin actually work, and without serious side effects. I use capsaicin regularly, both internally and externally.

I suffer from a lot of headaches and over-the-counter medications do nothing for them. The only prescription meds that work have narcotics so they aren't really an option because of the frequency of my headaches, and I don't like the side effects as enough narcotics to kill the pain also make me high enough that everyday life--driving, working, etc... aren't really possible.

I take 2 to 4 cayenne capsules with food, depending on the heat rating of the cayenne, or eat a spicy meal with the heat coming from habenero peppers in home-made meals(say a bean burrito with 1/4 - 1/2 of a diced habenero in it), or the spices used in traditional Thai cooking in a restaurant meal(4 out of 5 stars on the heat level)--we have a very good local Thai restaurant run by a Thai immigrant who's one of the best cooks I've ever seen--and a headache severe enough to make my eyes very sensitive to light will disappear in a matter of minutes.

At those levels of heat there is no pain associated with the cure either as I eat spicy food on a regular basis, although what I think is bland most people say burns their mouth.

Re:Impressive (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406344)

And more importantly, you can easily trick the body into releasing painkillers by making the brain think it's receiving/about to receive a painful stimulus. The chakra points (or chi/ki/whatever) nonsense may be total bunk, but the placebo effect here is measurable, and could potentially be exploited in actual medicine if it's effects can be reliable induced. A reduced requirement for painkillers could be of use in 3rd world countries where aid supplies may not always be available.

Re:Impressive (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406482)

"The chakra points (or chi/ki/whatever) nonsense may be total bunk" Tell that to the Hyuuga clan and see what happens ;-P But I agree, this placebo thing is awesome, why not use it on purpose? After all, in a tablet, isn't most of it composed of non-active ingredients? Make a tablet totally made of the non-active stuff, label it "Medicinol" and give it to people. If the problem still persists, then use the real thing. Useful in weeding out the Hypochondriacs :D

Re:Impressive (1, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406536)

They're not bunk, I'm not sure how else one would explain my tendency to jump when somebody behind me is about to put their hand palm down on my shoulder. Strikes me as just as reasonable an explanation as any of the other possible ones.

Re:Impressive (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406738)

So, poking the skin with a sharp object triggers the release of painkillers by the body?
I'm impressed.

Yes, but please let's keep homeopatic on this one ok.

Don't try this with a sword, it won't be better than a needle.

Re:Impressive (1)

Ellie K (1804464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406740)

Ummm so how old is this revelation that "Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller"? 20 years, 30 years? When Nixon went to China, a God-awful long time ago, one of the journalists that came along for the trip had an appendicitis. He had a successful appendectomy, with part of the anesthesia, I believe the initial part, done with acupuncture. I read that in Newsweek. Why are we even discussing this on slashdot now in 2010?

Re:Impressive (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406784)

So Neo wasn't such a tough guy after all, with all those pins in his muscles in the first movie! He was just enjoying natural painkillers.

Re:Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406848)

This isn't news to those of use who practice Kung-Fu as a hobby.

More Effective Painkiller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406020)

Damage his nervous system so he cant feel from the neck below

Re:More Effective Painkiller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406662)

Bad treatment. Won't work. [wikipedia.org]

News for Hippies, Stuff that Smelly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406024)

Where's Cartman when you need him!

Acupuncture (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406028)

At least we know what the point is now.

An apt reminder... (5, Informative)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406040)

...for those trying to defend the scientific method saying that a pseudoscience "cannot possibly work" because "there aren't any known methods through which it could operate".

The way to disprove a non-effect is by showing it indistinguishable from chance. Not by declaring that we can't think of any possible explanations.

Re:An apt reminder... (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406110)

Anybody who follows the scientific method knows at least one mechanism for acupuncture, ie. placebo, and I don't think many would shake their heads in abject disbelief if you say "irritating some part the body will produce natural pain killers". The skepticism will appear if you start saying "it matters where you stick the needles" and stuff like that.

Real "pseudoscience" is stuff like astrology, water divining, channeling the dead, perpetual motion, expensive HiFi tweaks, etc.

Re:An apt reminder... (4, Interesting)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406338)

The skepticism will appear if you start saying "it matters where you stick the needles" and stuff like that.

Apparently, there is at least one study [scienceblogs.com] that showed sticking them at random was actually better, or at least statistically the same, as the whole qi line thing. It is sad that this thing will be twisted and misrepresented by the alternative medicine quacks and used as a 'Nya nya we told ya so,' to skeptics who already suspected that the body does release pain killers when poked full of multiple small holes.

When it comes to alternative medicine, pretty much any skeptic knows that there are three main ones which may have some merit (even if not enough to justify mainstream usage): chiropractic, because it actively affects the spine, naturopathy/herbal, because plants contain active ingredients, and acupuncture, because it actively affects the skin. What skeptics want is robust evidence indicating that these things work better that other traditional techniques, and those have simply not materialized, and until they do, color me skeptical about acupuncture as a whole, even if there is some method to the madness.

Re:An apt reminder... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406654)

There has been a large study (about 150,000 participants) about the effectiveness of acupuncture as a painkiller, and it came out quite positive for acupuncture vs. traditional painkillers. But as you mentioned -- poking anywhere on your skin without taking care of meridians and qi lines has about the same effect as following the acupuncture rules.

Re:An apt reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406894)

Citation? Was it randomized? What was the outcome measure used for effectiveness?

Re:An apt reminder... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406818)

Yeah, the problem with plants is that there is also merit to putting random substance in your mouth, wherever it came from. Some subtances have beneficial effects, so you can't dismiss it. At this point I don't believe any claims made about all-natural from the garden of Eden plant substances unless there is a study I can read. I think most claims are just repeated from what they heard from yet another person, who was doing the same thing, or like those cellphone antenna booster stickers, from people who used the substance and either imaged beneficial effects, or attributed their improvement to the substance even though there were many other possible explanations.

Re:An apt reminder... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406586)

Sigh, acupuncture is more or less just a training system for this stuff. With enough study a person can do it completely on their own using just the power of their mind. The reason why they use needles is that it's really the only way that anybody has found to show people where those places that need stimulation are.

The suggestion that this somehow makes acupuncture pseudoscience or not worthwhile is an idiotic conclusion to make. You don't hear people saying that sort of thing about Tylenol or most of the other OTC pain relievers even though they don't achieve even that level of result. Likewise we don't generally suggest that the education system needs to be tossed out because people are capable of learning completely on their own.

But really on top of that, acupuncture just isn't something that lends itself easily to scientific study. I'm not defending the lack of definitive proof, but it is important to recognize that you're dealing with individuals who react in subtly different ways to treatment. And you can't readily separate out the sources of bias in the way that you would normally want to do. Which leads a lot of the studies to be more or less worthless in terms of giving a reliable conclusion.

Re:An apt reminder... (2, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407078)

the thing is I have seen water divining work. The guy used a dowsing rod and found 4 wells for my neighbors, and 2 for my family. He even tracked the water from our neighbors well to our own. later geologists came through and mapped the entire area too. That old man was off by maybe 5%

How it works i can't answer, but I did witness it working. He was wrong once, and with that, he as off by 10 feet in depth. (he said 20' and in reality it was 30')

Re:An apt reminder... (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406130)

Because acupuncture has been poked and prodded so extensively by skeptics (pun not intended), there is now a great deal of evidence for it's effectiveness. Which is very much the scientific way: By resisting new ideas until there is undeniable evidence for them, we get a very strong protection against ideas that are wrong.

Re:An apt reminder... (1)

philgp (584302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406186)

I don't believe you - that pun surely *was* intended!

Re:An apt reminder... (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406240)

Except that most of the best evidence shows that the "chi energy", the use of needles rather than pressure, and the use of it for treatment of body parts that are nowhere near the needle are complete nonsense. So scienctific testing shows that even the stopped clock of the magical thinking surrounding acupuncture can be right twice a day, and can even predict now what that twice a day will be.

I once spent a long, sad hour with an MD who tried to tell me that acupuncture worked because the nerves it stimulates are faster than pain nerves. I tried to explain to her the concepts of phase delays: if the pain came first by more than a matter of milliseconds, the pain signal was already present in the upstream nerve junctions or in the brain, and it doesn't matter how "swift" the signal is from the acupuncture needle, so the explanation is nonsensical.

Re:An apt reminder... (1)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406694)

The magical thinking around chi alchemy is the result of Western charlatans taking what was effectively an 100% practial art and science and turned marketed it into a magical pill that heals all ills by next Tuesday. Protip: That ain't the way it works.

Re:An apt reminder... (2, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406710)

I tried to explain to her the concepts of phase delays

Note to the younger Slashdotters: Don't do this. The ladies really don't care.

Re:An apt reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406330)

You got it the wrong way. The way to *prove* an effect is by showing it distinguishable from chance. The problem with acupuncture is that it is hardto compare to a placebo (how can you fake to poke someone?) so there are no double blind studies available.

Re:An apt reminder... (3, Informative)

The Leather Duke (258767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406434)

Only, this is not acupuncture. This is just piercing the skin with needles and then twisting them to see if you get a response. There are plenty of known methods through which that could operate.

Acupuncture on the other hand supposes that the body has "meridians" and "acupuncture points" which you put needles into to manipulate the health of the body or parts of the body.

To this notion I will still say that "there aren't any known methods through which it could operate."

Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (4, Interesting)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406062)

I'd much rather have a positive effect from a placebo than from a drug that usually has nasty side-effects.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (4, Informative)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406168)

Except that you can not only get benefits, but also nasty side-effects from placebos.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406510)

But then it's not placebo, it's nocebo.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (2, Interesting)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406172)

I'd much rather have a positive effect from a placebo than from a drug that usually has nasty side-effects.

I've wondered about this. If there is an actual placebo effect, we're drastically underutilizing it in the practice of medicine. As a result, there's a whole snake-oil industry overcharging for it and misleading people about it.

It's not a bug it's a feature! (4, Insightful)

Xenna (37238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406232)

Hah, but that's the paradox!

You can't have a placebo-effect unless you claim that the therapy actually works in itself.
You can't claim that a non-working therapy works unless you a a liar.
The placebo effect works better if the treatment is costly (in terms of money or discomfort - pain from needles)

So the placebo industry can only exist if they mislead and overcharge.
It's not a bug it's a feature!

X.

Re:It's not a bug it's a feature! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406624)

It's not, you just don't call it a placebo when the person knows about it. It's a relatively common way of treating things like migraines, back pain, explosive temper and a large number of mental illnesses. It's a misconception that to make use of that effect that you can't know about it, you just don't call it a placebo when you're doing it purposely. It's sort of like why hypnosis does such a great job for pain relief even though it tends to do a lousy job of treating other things.

Re:It's not a bug it's a feature! (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406874)

> You can't have a placebo-effect unless you claim that the therapy actually works in itself.
> You can't claim that a non-working therapy works unless you a a liar.

You miss the point. For many conditions a placebo is not a nonworking therapy. So if it works you're not a liar. And placebo treatments do work 30-40% of the time for certain problems. You're only a liar if you make claims about the treatment that aren't true.

Many drugs/procedures only work well for some people and some cases.

So for a noncritical condition where a placebo has 30-40% chance of working with a low chance of side effects, vs a drug that has 50% chance of working and a higher chance of bad side effects, a doctor might choose to prescribe a placebo and ask the patient to come back after a few days to see how well it works. The doctor does not have to lie. Of course if the patient asks for the name of the drug the doctor might then have a problem. Many religious people may not even need to see a doctor to tap the placebo effect. The atheists on the other hand might find it hard to ask and get help from the FSM ;).

The drug companies probably hate the placebo effect - a fair number of their candidate drugs can barely beat it in trials :).

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406622)

I'd much rather have a positive effect from a placebo than from a drug that usually has nasty side-effects.

I've wondered about this. If there is an actual placebo effect, we're drastically underutilizing it in the practice of medicine. As a result, there's a whole snake-oil industry overcharging for it and misleading people about it.

Expensive placebos work better, and expensive wines taste better. Asking for more money is not overcharging, it's upping the placebo dosage :\

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (3, Insightful)

xlation (228159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406310)

It's bad when Jenny McCarthy and Oprah use "success" from the placebo effect to cast doubt on science-based medicine. This doubt helps other scam artists sell expensive water to a patient who could be cured by real medicine.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406376)

The nice things about actual drugs is, that you get the placebo effect for free to the real medicine. Real medication is always chemicals doing something in your body + placebo effect.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406630)

Hmm, you mean even ones like Tylenol that do basically nothing and run the risk of damaging the liver?

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (3, Insightful)

Ellie K (1804464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406836)

Hmm, you mean even ones like Tylenol that do basically nothing and run the risk of damaging the liver?

Uhh sorry, but NO, Tylenol is effective for fever and mild analgesia. It will wreak havoc on your liver if taken in excess, granted. But aspirin, ibuprofen (motrin and advil) will tear up your stomach lining if taken in excess. And analgesics like opiates have their own set of obvious drawbacks. Tradeoffs to all of them. Don't knock Tylenol. It's a bit wimpy, but with occasional usage tempered by common sense, it is effective. And it is NOT a placebo drug. WRONG.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (1)

Ellie K (1804464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406770)

I'd much rather have a positive effect from a placebo than from a drug that usually has nasty side-effects.

All drugs do NOT have nasty side-effects. And despite my seeming post to the contrary above, about receiving acupuncture as pre-surgical anesthesia, I'd much rather receive traditional Western anesthesia for my next emergency appendectomy.

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (1)

Ellie K (1804464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406802)

I'd much rather have a positive effect from a placebo than from a drug that usually has nasty side-effects.

All drugs do NOT have nasty side-effects. And despite my seeming post to the contrary above, about receiving acupuncture as pre-surgical anesthesia, I'd much rather receive traditional Western anesthesia for my next emergency appendectomy.

Actually many, or maybe all, drugs DO have nasty side effects, depending on circumstances, and at varying frequency rates. I'm ammending my prior comment. But often those rates are very, very low. I just don't take well to broad sweeping generalities. Spurious generalities? Or was that a Totse.darkbb-ism?

Re:Why is the placebo effect a bad thing? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407072)

Better not to read about its worthlessness then, isn't it?

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406068)

paw pain

Re:lol (0, Redundant)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406242)

Oh, won't somebody PLEASE think of the lab mice??

Where's your pseudoscience now! (1, Flamebait)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406074)

Now that I have your attention bear with me...

It's one thing to say "this is BS"

It's another to say "we don't know how this may work, thus it doesn't mean that it works BUT IT ALSO DOESN'T MEAN IT DOESN'T"

There are skeptics and there are "skeptics". "skeptics" make their first reaction to everything "this is BS"

"Look, arteries may not have air inside them after all" "this is BS"
"hey maybe interactions between charged particles can be abstracted by using 'a field'" "this is BS"

It's ok to be skeptic, just keep your mind open before calling BS on everything. Good thing is these people never come up with a new theory or a new experiment usually.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406116)

This is BS.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406144)

There are skeptics and there are "skeptics"

This is BS!

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406156)

Exactly. There are many things that like acupuncture that have been used medicinally for centuries. Just because we may not, at the time, understand any underlying mechanisms doesn't mean that they don't work; it just means that we don't understand the underlying mechanisms and therefore, have no proof that it works or does anything. But saying that is very different from saying that same thing doesn't work at all.

For example, we didn't understand the underlying mechanism for aspirin until 1971, but before that salicylates had been used for centuries.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406174)

For example, we didn't understand the underlying mechanism for aspirin until 1971, but before that salicylates had been used for centuries.

Exactly! Thank you!

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406262)

There are many things that like acupuncture that have been used medicinally for centuries.

Just because something is old, doesn't mean it works. There are plenty of old treatments that are either useless or even harmful. Which is why testing is the important part, you can't trust anecdotes, even if they have a long tradition.

Just because we may not, at the time, understand any underlying mechanisms doesn't mean that they don't work;

The issue isn't so much that we don't understand the underlying mechanism, but that we don't even have a clear indication that it works in the first place and you don't need to understand the workings of something to do the testing for its effectiveness.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (2, Insightful)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406312)

This isn't even a problem of not understanding the mechanisms, it's a problem of not having solid evidence that it even works. Again, see the latter part of the summary which is about existing studies that have come to the conclusion that it doesn't work at all (is reading even the summary too much to ask for on Slashdot? I guess it is). "People have been using it since a very long time ago" is not proper evidence as to its efficacy. Bloodletting was in use for centuries too, by many different peoples; today, anyone with a basic education can point out many problems with it.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (0, Flamebait)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406192)

Ugh, there's another one of these a bit up, are we going to see a flood of stupid posts like these on this thread? Did you even read the rest of the summary, particularly the part about existing studies that conflict with this one? As it is, there's not a whole lot of research on acupuncture, and much of it appears to conflict each other. As a skeptic, my first reaction is indeed "this is BS"--as long as you don't have solid evidence for your claims. Guess what is not present here at all?

If you're suddenly rushing to mock skeptics on the results of a single study, when there's plenty of existing studies that conflict with it, you either don't understand how this "science" thing works at all, or you don't really care about science and are just latching onto this to confirm your existing unfounded beliefs. Either way, you're in no position to make this sort of post. Having an open mind is good, so long as you take care to make sure it's not so open your brains start falling out.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (2, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406390)

Did you even read the rest of the summary, particularly the part about existing studies that conflict with this one?

So, what you're saying is that studies that contradict this one are more important?? That they should be taken more seriously, because everybody knows "acupunture is BS" right?!

As it is, there's not a whole lot of research on acupuncture, and much of it appears to conflict each other.

They usually don't, but it looks like that due to people exaggerating the scope of the conclusions.

If you're suddenly rushing to mock skeptics ...you either don't understand how this "science" thing works at all,

No, it's the "skeptics" that don't understand how this 'science' thing works. And worse, don't know squat about the history of science.

As the example I gave in my post, most of the initial development of electromagnetism/electricity was called BS for a long time

The discovery of Helicobacter pylori and appropriate treatment also was hampered by those 'skeptics'. But it's ok I'm sure only a few people died because of that.

Also I'm sure not a lot of people died or got maimed because that thing called X-Ray is no good as a diagnosis help.

Also, it's easier to come up with results that match previous WRONG results www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm (search Millikan)

So yeah, I'm in no position to question that, sir because obviously I don't know anything about science or history of science...

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1, Flamebait)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406464)

So, what you're saying is that studies that contradict this one are more important?? That they should be taken more seriously, because everybody knows "acupunture is BS" right?!

I'm saying they're CONFLICTING , nothing more, nothing less. It means something's up with something, and unless you've got some method of deal with this conflict (with supporting evidence, of course), it's quite early to go "LOL ALL YOU 'SKEPTICS' SURE WERE WRONG HUH"

So yeah, I'm in no position to question that, sir because obviously I don't know anything about science or history of science...

Again, you are leaping to the conclusion that skepticism against acupuncture was unwarranted based on the results of a single study which conflicts with multiple existing studies. You most certainly do not know how science works. You don't just pick and choose studies and go "welp I like the results of this one more so it's way more important than the others".

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406590)

I'm saying they're CONFLICTING , nothing more, nothing less. It means something's up with something, and unless you've got some method of deal with this conflict (with supporting evidence, of course), it's quite early to go "LOL ALL YOU 'SKEPTICS' SURE WERE WRONG HUH"

Oh, ok. But as I said, the way to solve this conflicts is to look at the scope of the conclusion. Either that, or someone messed up.

Now, I left something important out of my first post (yikes). The title is meant to be trollish and exaggerated. It's not a Nelson laugh!

Again, you are leaping to the conclusion that skepticism against acupuncture was unwarranted based on the results of a single study which conflicts with multiple existing studies.

Hum... No. Not unwarranted. But as this study shows you can always discover something new where many thought 'there was nothing there'. And that's the good thing about science.

You most certainly do not know how science works. You don't just pick and choose studies and go "welp I like the results of this one more so it's way more important than the others".

There's a field of studies called meta-analysis just for that. To see if they're picking only the studies they like.

Funny how you think you know more about science and didn't provide examples or knew about meta-analysis

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406582)

There is a tremendous amount of research. Much of it is complete scientific balderdash, a few papers written on a few case studies without double blind technique or with very vague, interview based evaluation of the results. This is, sadly, very common in medical science.

For an example, review this article on the famous "acupuncture appendectomy" during the Nixon administration.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (3, Insightful)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406244)

And it's one thing to say "adenosine is released locally by needle pricks". And another to say that there are mysterious "meridians" that run through the body and connects your pinky toe to your heart, and your left butt cheek to your kidney or whatever, and that you can cure all kinds of diseases in those "connected" organs by poking the exactly right spots with needles.

Yep, that's what at the root of accupuncture theory in TCM, not random pin poking. And this experiments doesn't even attempt to explain what's going on there. So while I'm absolutely not saying that TCM is wrong, I am saying that this experiment says very little if anything about traditional accupuncture the way it's been practiced for 4000 years. It's just a feeble attempt at quickly saying "this is NOT BS".

So we still don't know how this works or indeed if it works, we only knows some mice produce adenosine locally under certain conditions. Accupuncture if it works as claimed would have to be much deeper, this hardly penetrates the surface. (Pardon the pun.)

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (5, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406248)

There are skeptics and there are "skeptics". "skeptics" make their first reaction to everything "this is BS"

That's a load of crap. Skeptics make their first reaction to anything for which there is not sufficient evidence present "this is BS." That's a critical difference. As far as I know, acupuncture has not been exceptionally good at proving itself. It is based on the flow of some qi or whatever and claims to have all sorts of healing properties, neither of which have been proven in the least, and that is something to be rightfully skeptical about. If you make an extraordinary claim, I require extraordinary evidence. Plenty of new theories and ideas are accepted by skeptical types (for example, this was new [sciencemag.org] , but there was no skeptic backlash, because it was a reasonable claim with reasonable evidence); just because some old time quackery is rejected doesn't mean skeptics are closed minded, that's just a way to distract form a lack of evidence. Medical skeptics have long admitted that minor injuries like sticking needles into yourself may trigger some pain-killer response, and this new thing, if indeed true, confirms that, not the validity of acupuncture. In fact, another study once showed that fake acupuncture [scienceblogs.com] outperformed 'real' acupuncture. It's not about simply denying everything, it is about denying everything until a reasonable amount of evidence exists to support it.

You know, homeopathy used to 'work' too, back when mercury was a medicine, because it didn't do anything whereas medicine killed you, which may be why it is still around. Chiropractic, originally claimed to cure all sorts of things, has the same affects as a good massage. Do they get vindicated too now? Sometimes things get lucky, or traditions are held for some reason, and maybe acupuncture is one of them due to this effect, but there is still no reason to not be skeptical about redirecting your qi or whatnot, or its ability to outperform any modern science based pain killing methods (I'd go with a good hit o' weed myself, but that's a different debate). It's good to have an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.

Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406846)

There are skeptics and there are "skeptics". "skeptics" make their first reaction to everything "this is BS"

That's a load of crap. Skeptics make their first reaction to anything for which there is not sufficient evidence present "this is BS." That's a critical difference.

Problem n.1: Very few things have 'sufficient evidence' at first. That's the point of research. But then people go "there's not enough evidence so this is BS and I'm not going to research this" GOTO 10

Problem n.2. Define "sufficient evidence". Sometimes "sufficient evidence" looks like "overwhelming evidence so I'm changing my opinion to save face"

What I'm questioning is "calling BS" when the answer should be "let's research, wait for more tests before taking a stance". And I'm not even saying that about acupunture, but to lots of other things that had to "swim upstream" before being universally accepted.

Paw discomfort! (4, Funny)

seyyah (986027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406104)

Dr. Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center and her colleagues administered half-hour acupuncture treatments to a group of mice with paw discomfort.

Family-friendly euphemism for "with their paws hacked off by the grad students".

Re:Paw discomfort! (0, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406228)

Dr. Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center and her colleagues administered half-hour acupuncture treatments to a group of mice with paw discomfort.

Family-friendly euphemism for "with their paws hacked off by the grad students".

Actually, they crucified the mice on Popsicle-stick crosses.

Acupuncture (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406118)

I just downloaded Google Chrome [google.com] 3.0.192.0 for Mac [apple.com] and it crashed before I could even open a page. There is no excuse for this; my Mac Pro [apple.com] is perfect in every way with eight 2.93 GHz cores [intel.com] , 32 GB RAM, and a fresh install of Mac OS X [apple.com] Leopard v10.5.7. Ergo any crashing Google Chrome does is Google Chrome's own fault!

Why is it that Apple [apple.com] and Mozilla [mozilla.com] can do this but Google [google.com] can't? I ran Internet Explorer 8 [microsoft.com] for months before its final release, Firefox 3.5 [trollaxor.com] since its 3.1 days, and found Safari 4 Developer Preview [apple.com] more stable than Safari 3. In fact, even WebKit [webkit.org] is more stable than Chrome.

What really baffles me, however, isn't the instability [computerworld.com] I've come to expect from Google, but that Google has the audacity [bullsballs.com] to ask for personal user info to improve its browser. Is the search engine maker datamonger really so desperate for my private information that it's stooped to the level of Trojan horses [wikisource.org] to get it?

They should ask me that when it doesn't crash on launch.

Everything Google does is just another way to sieve personal data away for targeting ads. This kind of Big Brother [google-watch.org] crap is more repulsive than the fat [trollaxor.com] programmers [shelleytherepublican.com] that make it possible. Google, with its deep pockets and doctoral scholars [nytimes.com] , thinks that by holding user data hostage it can maneuver around Apple and Microsoft [microsoft.com] . While this may be true, I'm not willing to be a part of it.

In using Google's search [google.com] , Gmail [google.com] , Chrome [apple.com] or whatever else the faceless robot [tfwiki.net] of a company invents, the user is surrendering their personal information to a giant hivemind [google.com] . No longer are their personal preferences some choice they make; they're a string of data processed by a Google algorithm: Google dehumanizes [wikipedia.org] its users!

So while Google is arrogant enough to paint spyware shiny so it can parse our browsing habits, the least they could do is make sure it doesn't crash. If Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla can get their preview releases right, why can't Google? And now they're making their own operating [scobleizer.com] systems [pcworld.com] ?

Get real, Google! I'll use your crashing codebloat when my Mac is cold and dead and I'm looking for handouts. Until then, quit mining [goatse.info] my personal data!

My Brain Pain Increased by Two-Thirds ... (2, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406136)

after wondering how they measure

mice with normal adenosine function experienced a two-thirds drop in paw pain

CC.

Re:My Brain Pain Increased by Two-Thirds ... (3, Funny)

elewton (1743958) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406164)

Tiny, mousey emoticons.

Re:My Brain Pain Increased by Two-Thirds ... (1)

Scytheford (958819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406224)

As much as I would like to believe this, I think the truth would be closer to measuring levels of stress hormones before and after.

Re:My Brain Pain Increased by Two-Thirds ... (2, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406204)

after wondering how they measure

"mice with normal adenosine function experienced a two-thirds drop in paw pain"

By facial expression.

http://www.google.fr/search?hl=fr&q=facial+expression+mice+pain+&meta= [google.fr]

Re:My Brain Pain Increased by Two-Thirds ... (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406214)

Watching how they walk immediately after treatment would show if there was an effect. Now how they quantify it I don't know.

Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (0, Flamebait)

vorlich (972710) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406394)

Acupuncture gained its present foothold in the subconscious of fools shortly after Mao took over China in 1949. The Communist party of China had promised everyone health care, but were in fact unable to deliver proper science-based medicine to the vast population. "Bicycle Doctors" were encouraged to promote herbal and traditional Chinese medical treatments to save money and hide the absence of proper drugs.

Not only did this let a thousand flowers of nonsense bloom and condemn thousands of Brown Bile Bears to inhumane torture, it also convinced gullible Western visitors that the Chinese had some miraculous medical treatments unknown and unexplained by modern science. Pretty much like the gullible Western visitors who went to the Soviet Union shortly after the revolution and declared that they had been to the future and it worked. This research is just another example of flying-saucer-science intended to sucker people into believing that paying out heaps of money for snake-oil is a good idea.

So just to be clear: acupuncture is a cult, a pseudo-science without basis in fact, just like its home companions homeopathy, yoga and Reiki.

I'm not going to provide links since the muppets who reply to say that their great grandmothers survived World War One and Two, smoked liked a chimney, drank like a fish, had unprotected sex with 9 thousand partners, consumed vast quantities of lard, fast food and chips, never ate fruit and attributed their excellent health to homeopathy, acupuncture and Reiki, will do those for you.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406652)

So just to be clear: acupuncture is a cult, a pseudo-science without basis in fact, just like its home companions homeopathy, yoga and Reiki.

Ah! You think Yoga has no basis in fact? There's some very toned and flexible hotties out there proving you wrong.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406884)

Ah! You think Yoga has no basis in fact? There's some very toned and flexible hotties out there proving you wrong.

Well, ridiculous health claims (eg, treating autoimmune disorders, etc) associated with yoga are pseudo-science.

Similarly:

Chiropractic care for the treatment of back issues? Fact. Chiropractic care for the treatment of asthma? Pseudo-science.
Homeopathic treatment of dehydration? Fact. Homeopathic treatment of basically anything else? Pseudo-science.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32407132)

Chiropractic care for asthma when your asthma is caused by pressure and irritation to the lungs based on your crooked ass posture: Fact.

Not that I ever had asthma officially, I just had a few symptoms before I went to the chiropractor to fix my back after a car accident. He re-aligned my spine and mentioned that my posture from the way I sit in front of a computer had altered my spine in a way that was making it hard to breathe. About 6 weeks of twice a week treatment made a world of difference. So in short, yes. Chiropractic care to enable you to breathe deeper would probably be a helpful treatment for an asthmatic. Not the cure, or even the only treatment by a long shot, but definitely a quality of life treatment

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (3, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407164)

Chiropractic care for asthma when your asthma is caused by pressure and irritation to the lungs based on your crooked ass posture: Fact.

No, it's not. It's bullshit. Show me a single study that proves chiropractic care treats asthma, and I'll show you a flawed study.

And as an aside, anyone who believes "asthma is caused by pressure and irritation to the lungs based on your crooked ass posture" has no fucking clue what asthma actually is.

Not that I ever had asthma officially

Ah. I see. So you feel you can make concrete statements about asthma treatment when you've never actually been diagnosed with it. Well, I'll definitely take your opinions seriously...

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407152)

Ah! You think Yoga has no basis in fact? There's some very toned and flexible hotties out there proving you wrong.

Well, ridiculous health claims (eg, treating autoimmune disorders, etc) associated with yoga are pseudo-science.

Ok, yes, there's True Believers that will tell you yoga cures cancer, feeds the poor and plugs the gulf of mexico's oil hole. But there is significant merit in the practice of Yoga for health benefits, even if it doesn't protect us from asteroid strikes.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406968)

Ah! You think Yoga has no basis in fact? There's some very toned and flexible hotties out there proving you wrong.

Um... This is slashdot, after all.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407168)

Ah! You think Yoga has no basis in fact? There's some very toned and flexible hotties out there proving you wrong.

Um... This is slashdot, after all.

Touché.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

Admiralbumblebee (996792) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406750)

How is yoga a pseudoscience? I was not aware there was even any attempted 'science' aspect to it at all, and my family is very active in yoga practices. Perhaps there are cultish groups that use and promote yoga, but unless I'm missing something very major yoga itself is not a pseudoscience.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

rtorlas (546400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407016)

I don't especially care to be called a fool. I was dragged to an acupuncturist by my wife. I had no doubts that it was a waste of time and money. However, I walked out of there pain free for the first time in 10 years. I don't care what skeptics think. I don't care what the mechanism is. I just know in my case it worked and am thankful for it.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

rtorlas (546400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407108)

BTW, I had been to many, many traditional doctors who couldn't even diagnose the cause much less provide any relief. None of the drugs they gave me helped at all.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407186)

And now, because we understand the mechanism of action upon which acupuncture is based, scientists may be able to develop more effective treatments, either by optimizing acupuncture treatment, or creating new treatments that make use of the same mechanism.

You should be thanking science, here. We now understand more about the world than we did before, and the result may be improved medicine for people such as yourself.

Re:Acupuncture cult pseudo-science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32407018)

Do you honestly believe that something that people have been using for centuries would have no positive effect at all?

how dare they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406416)

how dare slashdot support such a dirt, nasty habit as intravenous drug use??? Prescription abuse is much safer! Now, where is my vicodin/morphine combo?

Do you honestly believe that something that has be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406438)

Do you honestly believe that something that has been used for thousands of years would have no positive effect at all?

Re:Do you honestly believe that something that has (1)

dstar (34869) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406638)

Um... yes?

Many things have been used for thousands of years. Many of those things have no positive effect. Many of *those* things are actively harmful.

You sound like a woman my wife had an argument with a decade or so ago, who insisted it was perfectly safe to give her children belladonna (and, yes, I *do* mean 'deadly nightshade') "because it's natural".

Re:Do you honestly believe that something that has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406648)

I never discount the ability of idiots to rationalize.

fp 3Itch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406574)

or m4ke loud noises

The problem is that every person is unique (1, Informative)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406588)

Similar pains in different people are triggered by different energetic imbalances. Oriental medicine has five elements, five rhythms that run through a person: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal (Air). Each meridian has characteristics of one of the elements.

But westerners who study acupuncture try to use the same points in their trials, when the study should be designed to address the individual's specific imbalances.

I've met a few mystics in the last few years, and my experience says that people who "scoff" at the notion that acupuncture is quackery are idiots. YMMV.

Acupuncture (1, Troll)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406598)

I compare acupuncture and qigong to time travel. Imagine if you were a time traveler and you wanted to convince someone who never *directly experienced* it that it was real. It isn't possible. The only way is to feel it yourself.

Acupuncture is based on lines of tendons and fascia "meridians" connecting between extremities and organs. Now "chi" at it's simplest level is nothing more than stimulating certain groups of nerves at will. And chigong is studying your internal alchemy to differentiate between the many different plexuses of nerves. For example I can concentrate on the arch of my foot up the inside of my thigh and stimulate my kidneys and adrenals. Tell me it's psuedoscience, so what? It's real to me. You just kind of have to shrug at skeptics, because they refuse to experience they can never be "convinced".

The book that really made it click for me was ironically a Qigong for Women book I think by Ferraro. But the teachers with the most complete work are Mantak Chia (internal) and Yang Jwing-Ming (external). Any book by either of those two will teach you the true science of chi, but you have to experience it for it to mean anything. All I'll say is they cure cancer with qigong, search for the studies its real; and if I got cancer I wouldn't be poisoning myself with radiation I'd be doing kungfu.

Re:Acupuncture (2, Informative)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406658)

To make it clear what acupuncture is: It was believed that directly massaging another person with your hands drains your energy over the long term, leading to a shorter life. The needles were introduced to eliminate the need for this contact. Also the acupuncture/qigong meridians along with the 5 phase theory are the practical result of several thousands of years of Chinese culture. P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L. Yes, you can call it psuedo science, but you would be ignoring the many many many instances of real people affected in real ways.

Re:Acupuncture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32407020)

Exactly! People must remember that there are more people in human history that has been treated with acupuncture than with antibiotics. And up to today antibiotics have killed more people than acupuncture... That is PRACTICAL, FACTUAL. Millions of people felt relieved of several sorts of "sufferings" by that practice. That is factual and when you think that medicine objective should be to relieve people of suffering, than you must rethink a few things.

People should be less arrogant and more interest (3, Interesting)

stein.dagostini (1676452) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406664)

I was too a very skeptical person, until I got a hormonal production disorder (I really don know its name in english, maybe later i can find a translation) that Western medicine said was impossible to cure and had to be countered with massive doses of neutralization of hormone medicines that would basically cripple me completely forever. I gave a shot and tried acupuncture since even death was better than those side effects. In 2 months the disorder was completely under control without any changes in my life but acupunture. The exams shown a reduction on the hormone production of more than 70%. I tough, ok that must be coincidence... stoped the treatment. Few months later the issue was back. Restarted the treatment and 1 month later was all under control again.... Even the doctors said to me, forget western medicie and stick to what is working. Since then I tried acupuncture for a lot of things, including issues that western medicine never was able to cure me like allergic reactions etc. I am still quite skeptical about almost everything, but I was faced with undeniable evidence that it has some VERY interesting results. People should spend less time trying to proof its or its not BS and more time trying to understand how to make people life better! And I pity the poor should that had the same diagnostics as me and went for the western "fully scientific" treatment. Medicine should be about saving people and making them feel better! Not about having reason about anything! Fool is the one that speaks without having real experience about it. Fool is the one that condems others to suffering just because the better path doe snot match his own beliefs. That is basically the same thing as religious fundamentalist.

Storm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32406778)

A little bit off topic, but if you've ever ranted about what crap new age medicine is, you'll get a chuckle out of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0W7Jbc_Vhw [youtube.com]

Induced Pain (1)

LordAzuzu (1701760) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406832)

I hate reading when scientists induce pain in animals to "try" to relief it.

Re:Induced Pain (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32407092)

Then I advise you to avoid medical journals. Would you rather they induce pain in you then try to relief it?

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