Maybe how acupuncture reduces pain sort of

from the blog Ingenious Monkey comes an article on a research project on how acupuncture might reduce pain in mice.

The author of Ingenious Monkey has asked me to clearly point out that it is only a ‘POSSIBLE biological pathway for a POSSIBLE pain reducing effect of acupuncture.’ (direct quote)

And now part of the original article:

Since you’re spending time on my blog, I’m sure you’ve already worked through your higher-priority science blogs, and must have therefore read Ed Yong’s recent post about an upcoming Nature Neuroscience study purporting to have found a physiological basis for why acupuncture works.

As Ed points out in his post, the study somewhat builds on the premise that acupuncture does indeed work, and going by quite a few reactions on Twitter and other blogs that I follow, people are upset (or want to potentially join in on the good times that somebody is having).

Moreover, Ed seems disturbed about the study’s lack of a Placebo control, and this really got me wondering: Do you need a Placebo control for animal trials? In my head at least, the Placebo effect has to do with expectations, and it’s hard for me to phantom that laboratory mice (Pinky and the Brain excluded) would have any mental concept of acupuncture that could bias results.
Googleing the issue of Placebo effects in animalsdidn’t really help a lot, so I read the original Nature Neuroscience piece instead to make up my own mind about how crude a mistake the absence of a Placebo trial for this study really was.

Turns out I think the study is very well done, and I think the Nature Neuroscience editors were right to accept it into their journal. Here’s my take on the study:….

for the rest of the original blog post go to Ingenious Monkey


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