High-quality clinical research has been defined as research that is carried out in a way that allows us to trust the results, that is, that there is a low risk of bias.1 The recent German acupuncture study2 suggests we need to add to this definition that the outcomes are discussed in a sensible and appropriate way. The authors have constructed a methodologically rigorous trial, but in interpreting their results, they seem to have forgotten why certain design features are important in clinical trials. This has resulted in inappropriate conclusions about the treatment of chronic low back pain being promoted within the pages of the Archives and through the popular media globally.
Wand BM, O’Connell N. German Acupuncture Trials for Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(9):1011. doi:10.1001/archinte.168.9.1011-a