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October 12, 1984


Author Affiliations

Sebastopol, Calif

JAMA. 1984;252(14):1856. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350140015014

To the Editor.—  I wish to comment on the trial of auriculotherapy conducted by Melzack and Katz. I do not believe that this trial can be accepted as a definitive evaluation of the potential merits of this approach to pain control. There are a number of grounds on which issue can be taken with the authors' deduction that because they could not demonstrate pain relief of greater degree than that obtained from placebo, auriculotherapy has no role in the attempt to treat chronic pain.The first issue relates to the questionable assumption of a satisfactory homogeneity of the patient and control groups. While individuals may have a global diagnosis of low-back pain, there may in fact be a number of different causes provoking this diagnosis, all requiring different approaches to proper therapy.A second issue relates to the placebo chosen in the study. While it is true that the placebo