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An independent review of NCCIH-funded studies of chiropractic

PainSci » bibliography » Ernst et al 2011
Tags: treatment, chiropractic, spinal adjustment, manual therapy, controversy, debunkery, spine

Two articles on PainSci cite Ernst 2011: 1. The Chiropractic Controversies2. Does Spinal Manipulation Work?

PainSci commentary on Ernst 2011: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

Dr. Edzard Ernst is a highly qualified critic of sloppy researchers in alternative medicine. In this review of The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) studies of chiropractic therapy, he finds that “their quality was frequently questionable. Several randomized controlled trials failed to report adverse effects and the majority was not described in sufficient detail to allow replication.” But if NCCIH cannot produce the best quality studies of alternative medicine, who can? No organization has ever been better funded (or motivated) to validate alternative therapies.

Ernst concludes: “It seems questionable whether such research is worthwhile.”

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

To promote an independent and critical evaluation of 11 randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of chiropractic funded by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCIH). Electronic searches were conducted to identify all relevant RCTs. Key data were extracted and the risk of bias of each study was determined. Ten RCTs were included, mostly related to chiropractic spinal manipulation for musculoskeletal problems. Their quality was frequently questionable. Several RCTs failed to report adverse effects and the majority was not described in sufficient detail to allow replication. The criticism repeatedly aimed at NCCIH seems justified, as far as their RCTs of chiropractic is concerned. It seems questionable whether such research is worthwhile.

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: