The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Predictors of a positive response to acupuncture for chronic pain

    Researchers in Germany searched the records from almost 10,000 patients for predictors of a positive response.

    First, the details.

    • 9,990 patients with chronic low back pain, headache, neck pain, or pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
      • Routine care
      • Acupuncture in addition to routine care
    • The 3-month change based on the SF-36 bodily pain subscale was recorded.
    • Patients’ characteristics and their interaction with treatment were reviewed to determine their effect on treatment outcomes.

    And, the results.

    • The outcome was significantly improved in the acupuncture group.
    • Predictors of outcome in both treatment groups:
      • Age
      • Education
      • Duration of illness
      • Baseline pain
      • Certain concomitant diseases
    • Patient characteristics significantly associated with a positive response to the acupuncture effect:
      • Previous positive acupuncture experience
      • Failure of other therapies before the study
      • Living in a multi-person household
      • Female

    The bottom line?

    The authors come to no definitive conclusions, except to recommend more research.

    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that past experience with acupuncture, frustration due to failed past therapy, and peer pressure to have a positive experience are factors that influence satisfaction with acupuncture in patients with chronic pain.

    6/29/11 22:08 JR

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