What's the Latest Development?

The most rigorous and detailed analysis to date of acupuncture as a medical treatment has found that, despite questions surrounding the procedure, it does relieve chronic pain. "Financed by the National Institutes of Health and carried out over about half a decade, the new research was a detailed analysis of earlier research that involved data on nearly 18,000 patients." Scientists found that "acupuncture outperformed sham treatments and standard care when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain."

What's the Big Idea?

"Acupuncture, which involves inserting needles at various places on the body to stimulate so-called acupoints, is among the most widely practiced forms of alternative medicine in the country and is offered by many hospitals." Currently, more than three million Americans are estimated to receive acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain. Dr. Andrew J. Vickers, attending research methodologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the lead author of the study, said of acupuncture: "[Patients] are not just getting some placebo effect. It's not some sort of strange healing ritual."

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