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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2020, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (2): 89-91.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.01.007

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Controversial conclusions from two randomized controlled trials for acupuncture's effects on polycystic ovary syndrome or in vitro fertilization support

Sherman Gua,b(), Arthur Yin Fanc,d   

  1. a
    Federation of Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Societies of Australia Ltd (FCMA), Melbourne, Victoria 3150, Australia
    b
    Knox Chinese Healing & Myotherapy, Wantirna South, Victoria 3152, Australia
    c
    American TCM Association, Vienna, VA 22182, USA
    d
    McLean Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC, Vienna, VA 22182, USA
  • Online:2020-03-10 Published:2020-01-21

Two reports of trials investigating the potential effect of acupuncture in increasing live birth rate (LBR) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or those undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) were published by Journal of American Medical Association in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The trial investigators did not recommend acupuncture for the women with PCOS or IVF based on their findings. This paper raises the concern that the findings that acupuncture did not increase LBR for women with PCOS or undergoing IVF may be the result of methodological flaws in the studies and unintended bias such as use of an invalid control intervention and underestimation of the true acupuncture effect. Therefore, their findings may not be a valid reflection of acupuncture’s effect in improving LBR in women with these clinical conditions.

Key words: Acupuncture, Randomized controlled trial, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Fertilization in vitro, Traditional Chinese medicine

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