Dr. Douglas Berger in Tokyo Comments on “Research Casts Doubt on the Value of Acupuncture” by Jeneen Interlandi

By: Jeneen Interlandi, August 1, 2016, Scientific American:

“The Acupunture Myth” [August] reminded me of this letter I sent you last year: In “Mind of the Meditator” the authors cite research which has “documented” that mindfulness reduces relapse of depression, is superior to placebo, and is comparable to antidepressants. None of these studies, however, are double-blind like a drug study is, thus allowing bias in measures of depression which are subjective. They are also not single-blind because single-blind is defined as when the subjects are blind not raters; masked raters just rate any bias reported by the subject. The study comparing to antidepressants pitted unblinded (called “single-blinded”) mindfulness vs. blinded drug groups making results uncomparable. While mindfulness may make changes in brain scans, so may running and yoga, that does not necessarily translate mindfulness into being a “documented” treatment of depression.

Douglas M. Berger, M.D., Ph.D.

U.S. Board-Certified Psychiatrist

Tokyo, Japan

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