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February 28, 2001

Methodological Issues in Trials of Acupuncture—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(8):1015-1016. doi:10.1001/jama.285.8.1015

In Reply: Dr Kaptchuk and Dr Frank question whether skilled practitioners can truly be blinded to an intervention such as acupuncture. When evaluating any intervention of unknown efficacy, particularly manual or surgical, it is prudent for skilled clinicians to administer the intervention. To do otherwise would make the interpretation of a negative result problematic—is the intervention really without benefit, or was the lack of effect due to the use of inexperienced or unskilled clinicians? For this reason, as well as ethical and legal concerns, we would not consider employing untrained individuals to administer the intervention.

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