Lege Artis Medicinae

[The role of acupuncturists’ qualifications in randomized controlled trials of acupuncture]

ORAVECZ Márk, MÉSZÁROS Judit, YU Funian, HORVÁTH Ildikó

MAY 02, 2018

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2018;28(03)

[BACKGROUND - Randomized controlled trials (RCT) of acupuncture show heterogeneity in several ways. Acupuncture interventions used for the same conditions are greatly variable and so are study designs. METHOD - We evaluated the most frequently cited randomized controlled trials of acupuncture based on traditional Chinese medicine by examining practitioner background using elements of the “STandards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture”. The extracted data was compared with international guidelines and standards of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture education. RESULTS - We identified 5 heterogenous educational systems with contact training hours ranging from 120 to 3000. The educational criteria set by 93.75% of the reviewed trials did not meet the standards of the World Health Organization guidelines for acupuncture education or the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies standard for Chinese medicine education. Education in traditional Chinese acupuncture is internationally heterogeneous and this heterogeneity was found to be underreported in 87.5% of these trials, not provided for in study design. DISCUSSION - The generalizability and external validity of the reviewed trials may be questioned regarding the participating practitioners’ training background. In the future, a similar evaluation of systematic reviews could help further elucidate the issue of educational heterogeneity in traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture trials.]

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