A study paid for by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has determined that Acupuncture can help women get pregnant while undergoing IVF treatments. In fact, it may increase their odds of getting pregnant to 65%!
The study was a meta-analysis of 7 studies, three of which said accupuncture was helpful ion achieving pregnancy, three that said it might be helpful and one said not so much. But here’s a little math for you:
when a=meta-analysis, b=acupuncture, c=National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine;
a+b+c=your study sucks
IVF success rates are unbelievably misleading in general. I don’t even know how many factors go into assessing such statistics, but I do know there are different methods of IVF, different types of infertility, and different age groups taken into account. Hell, even the word “pregnancy” when it comes to being pregnant can mean a number of things – it can mean that there was a baby born, there was a fetal heartbeat detected or that you just peed on a stick and it came up positive.
A woman could miscarry at 5 weeks and still be counted as a “pregnancy”. I doubt the couple who has been trying for 5 years to get pregnant and is dropping $10,000 a month for treatments would consider that a “success”, but statistics being statistics, they just might get tallied in the “win” column.
So what does 65% pregnancy rate mean? It’s slightly less informative than telling you I had a sandwich today for lunch.
Fortunately the USAtoday article includes this disclaimer:
However, Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director of infertility treatment at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said other studies, reported at recent medical meetings and not included in the published analysis, did not find it helped.
“The jury is still out,” he said, but added, “It’s unlikely that acupuncture does any harm.”
Oh wait, did i say “fortunately”? Oh I meant, “In an attempt to continue pandering to an audience that probably believes in crap-based medicine while attempting to keep an ounce of credibility the USAtoday article includes this pseudo-disclaimer.”
It’s unlikely acupuncture does any harm? How about infections from dirty needles, “puncture of body cavities and vital organs”, going home from a session with needles still in you because your acupuncturist forgot to take them out, or needles breaking while inside you? And that list came from the guys who think acupuncture is good!
These alties have a great business sense. If I could ignore my conscience, I would love to start a business where I just have to pretend I know some stuff about magical pins, and market it to people who are so desperate for a child, they will try anything. Especially people who are unlikely to let a few hundred dollars a month come between them and having a family. If they’d ask me how it works, I’d just tell them that it probably increases blood flow to the uterus (but I wouldn’t tell them that stabbing also increases blood flow to parts of the body). I could tell them that their chances are going to be increased to better than a coin-flip and if things don’t work out this month, they should still come back to me… because sometimes a uterus can be stubborn and uncooperative, you know, kind of like women.