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 CME
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 214-216

A trial design that generates only ''positive'' results


Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
E Ernst
Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.41806

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In this article, we test the hypothesis that randomized clinical trials of acupuncture for pain with certain design features (A + B versus B) are likely to generate false positive results. Based on electronic searches in six databases, 13 studies were found that met our inclusion criteria. They all suggested that acupuncture is effected (one only showing a positive trend, all others had significant results). We conclude that the 'A + B versus B' design is prone to false positive results and discuss the design features that might prevent or exacerbate this problem.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow