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Evid Based Med 18:31 doi:10.1136/eb-2012-100665
  • Therapeutics
  • Randomised controlled trial

Mock treatments and real acupuncture affect osteoarthritic pain similarly: patients who believe in a treatment they are receiving have less pain

  1. M McDonough Suzanne
  1. Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Centre, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Suzanne McDonough
    Room 1F118, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Centre, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey Co Antrim, BT37 0QB, UK; s.mcdonough{at}ulster.ac.uk

Commentary on:

Context

There has been increased interest in explaining the placebo effect given findings of no difference between placebo and true needle acupuncture.1 ,2 A lack of difference may be explained by an ‘enhanced’ placebo effect given the ritual nature of acupuncture and it is known that the placebo effect can be altered by the therapeutic context (eg, by the device itself as well as patient and therapist–patient interactions).3

Methods

This elegant trial by White and colleagues is very timely. The design is innovative, using a mixed methods approach to explore therapeutic contextual factors that might explain …

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