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May 12, 2004

Ethical Issues in Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2192-2194. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2193-c

To the Editor: Dr Miller and colleagues1 categorized the acupuncture study by Smith et al2 as "negative" because the difference between sham and active acupuncture treatments was not statistically significant. Lewith and Vincent,3 however, argued that sham acupuncture is a weak active treatment, as suggested in this case by the lag in antinausea effect between the sham and the 2 active treatments. Women receiving the highest dose of acupuncture (ie, the traditional acupuncture group) reported significantly less nausea throughout the trial. Women receiving the next highest dose of acupuncture reported significantly less nausea from the second week in the trial, while women receiving the lowest dose of acupuncture (ie, sham acupuncture) reported significantly less nausea from the third week in the trial.

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