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Distinguishing between statistical and clinical significance in a meta-analysis of acupuncture for obesity: avoiding miscommunication of study findings
  1. Samuel P Trethewey
  1. Clinical Research Team, Oak Tree Surgery, Liskeard, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Samuel P Trethewey, Oak Tree Surgery, Liskeard, UK; s-trethewey{at}doctors.org.uk

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I was interested to read the abstract of a recent systematic review and meta-analysis, published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, which concluded: “The review suggests that acupuncture is an effective therapy for simple obesity rather than a placebo effect. This potential benefit needs to be further evaluated by longer-term and more rigorous RCTs”.1 Whilst I must commend the authors for attempting to progress our understanding of potential therapies for the treatment of obesity in adults, I have several issues with this paper. Aside from the methodological considerations, as highlighted in a recent letter to the editor,2 I would like to draw attention to the wider issues surrounding the communication of the results of this study.

In the abstract by Zhong et al,1 the authors state: “When compared with sham acupuncture, acupuncture showed obviously effect in BMI reduction (MD=1.0 kg/m2, 95% CI=0.6 to 1.4, p<0.001). There was also significant reduction in body weight (MD=1.85 kg, 95% CI=0.82 to 2.88, p<0.001), WC (MD=0.97 cm, 95% CI=0.24 to 1.71, p=0.01) and body fat mass percentage (MD=1.01, 95% CI=0.25 to 1.77, p<0.05)”. My …

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Footnotes

  • Contributors SPT was the sole contributor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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