A National Institutes of Health panel on November 5 issued a consensus statement declaring there is clear evidence that acupuncture helps alleviate nausea from chemotherapy and anesthesia. The statement indicated the need for more and better research into how acupuncture works and acknowledged that some studies show the practice helps alleviate pain, while other studies show no conclusive effects. "There is a paucity of high-quality research assessing efficacy of acupuncture compared with placebo or sham acupuncture," says David J. Ramsey, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the panel's chairman. Traditional explanations for how acupuncture works say patterns of energy flow called Qi are necessary for optimal health. The panel recommends that researchers find explanations based in Western science, not Eastern belief, to validate this remedy used by an estimated million Americans. Methodological problems with "sham" acupuncture-treating controls by placing needles in the wrong spot-exist because the misplaced needles...

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