The exciting field of "battlefield acupuncture" involves training soldiers and medics to perform what amounts to a "theatrical placebo" involving jamming glorified thumbtacks into fellow soldiers' ears and leaving them there until they fall out.
The practice, which just keeps on expanding, is based on a handful of small, badly flawed studies. Meanwhile, the best evidence is that acupuncture itself performs no better than a placebo -- and that's the stuff that doesn't involve having a fellow soldier ineptly pierce your ear on the battlefront.
What could possibly go wrong?!
I could find no publications in the peer-reviewed medical literature to examine supporting it. Regarding the second claim, I looked up the actual study. (It’s what I do.) Let’s just say that the study is…underwhelming. Yes, it was a randomized controlled trial looking at 54 patients with acute sore throat. However, it was unblinded, a feature that renders any acupuncture trial pretty much worthless scientifically because it doesn’t account for placebo effects. Indeed, it’s a pragmatic trial. That means that the intent is to determine effectiveness under “real world” conditions; hence, no sham/placebo controls. In real medicine, pragmatic trials are used to assess the real world effectiveness of treatments already shown to be efficacious in randomized controlled clinical trials. However, given that auricular acupuncture has not been shown to be effective in such trials, doing pragmatic trials studying it is putting the cart before the horse.
Not that ever stopped acupuncturists from doing such trials before. After all, it’s the way they generate “positive” trials. After all, doing rigorous randomized controlled trials with good shame acupuncture controls generally find that acupuncture is indistinguishable from sham acupuncture.
(Image: On pins and needles, Navy doctor branches out with deployment medicine, Cpl. Paul Peterson, PD)
Captain Elle Ekman is a US Marine Corps logistics officer; in a New York Times op-ed, she describes how the onerous conditions imposed by manufacturers on the US armed forces mean that overseas troops are not permitted to fix their own mission-critical gear, leaving them stranded and disadvantaged.
Abbie Hoffman and Martin Carey arrive at The Pentagon to do a literal hand-count on how many protestors will be needed to encircle the building for a protest. On the way out they apply for, and receive, a permit to initiate an Exorcism to rid the base of its evil demons. Part one of “LEVITATION […]
The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has developed a new form of liquid metal with very strange conductive properties. Usually, when a flexible, conductive material is stressed or stretched, its electrical conductivity drops and resistance increases when it’s stress or stretched. Just the opposite, Air Force’s novel “Polymerized Liquid Metal Networks… can be strained […]
There’s no shortage of wireless chargers out there. So when one scores a Best of Innovation Award at the Consumer Electronics Show, we take notice. And, those industry nods mean good news for just about anybody with a smartphone, because the HyperCharger X Wireless Charger means there’s no excuse for losing power when you’re out […]
Once you’ve cut steak or poultry with some actual quality knives, it’s really tough to go back to those budget blades you bought at the department store a couple of decades ago. Consider that a fair warning about this 5-Piece Professional Damascus Chef’s Kitchen Set. The holiday discount makes it easy to buy for a […]
Concerned about your eyesight? You probably should be. And we’re not just talking about seniors here. Young or old, we’re all at risk of coming down with vision issues Most of us might get a vision test only once every couple of years or so when we get a new pair of glasses – if […]