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Throughout the treatment period that followed the run-in period, greater decreases in both the 10-point arm pain scale and in symptom severity occurred each week in the sham acupuncture group compared with those in the placebo pill group. Differences were not statistically significant, however, in terms of arm function or grip strength.

"The sham device had greater effects than the placebo pill on self-reported arm pain and arm symptom severity over the entire course of treatment, but not during a two-week placebo run-in," concluded the authors. They added that placebo effects are malleable and depend on the behaviors embedded in medical rituals.

Placebo, from the Latin for "I will please," was defined in Hooper's medical dictionary of 1811 as "an epithet given to any medicine adapted more to please than benefit the patient." It is thought that the positive or negative effects experienced by patients on placebos are psychological in nature or due to unrelated factors. Much mystery remains as to why and how placebo effects occur in individuals. "A better understanding of the psychological and physical basis of placebo effects may lead to new ways to treat chronic pain," said Ted Kaptchuk, OMD.

Abstract 256 Sham Device vs. Inert Pill: A RCT Comparison of Two Placebo Treatments for Arm Pain due to Repetitive Use
Kaptchuk TJ, Stason,WB, Davis RD, Legedza ATR,. SchnyerRN, . Kerr CE, Ph.D. Stone DA, Nam,BY, Kirsch I, Goldman RH.

ORAL PRESENTATION 302
May 26, 2006
Salon 8

Presenting Author: Claudia Witt, MD
University Medical Center Charit, Berlin

Addition of Acupuncture to Routine Care for Patients with Osteoarthritis Is More Effective than Routine Care Alone

While a recent randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee showed that the treatment provided significant benefits for patients compared with sham acupuncture (Witt et. al. Lancet 2005;366:136-143), the
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25-May-2006


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