Letter: If it works, what's the problem?

Last updated 12:00 26/02/2013

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OPINION: If Matthew Amos (Letters, Feb 22) believes blinded and adjusted studies are the ultimate criteria for evaluation of therapies such as acupuncture, then knee surgery for arthritis and SSRI antidepressants are examples of common medical procedures that have been shown to be no better than placebo, and are therefore not legitimate.

Vaccinations of under two year-olds would have to be scrapped because they have never been tested for safety or effectiveness.

As most controlled trials are funded by drug companies, he would be hard-pressed to find unbiased, reliable testing, as new studies show that the funding of trials significantly affects the results.

Controlled trials themselves have serious flaws.

For example, the minds of the participants and the observers cannot be controlled, and this too has a significant effect on outcomes.

Trials should ask if the procedure being tested improves homeostasis (normal, self- sustained function without harmful side-effects) not merely suppresses symptoms.

Placebo has been shown to have the potential to slash health costs by one-third, so why the hangup over its use?

CLYDE BURKE

Nelson

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