Nature Neuroscience are about to publish a study that attempts to explain the biological basis of mouse acupuncture. If you’re checking in case you have accidentally slipped between universes, don’t worry, you haven’t. It’s just that this one has gone a bit strange.
The full paper is not out until later today and will eventually appear here, so I will reserve my full judgement (because, you never know, mouse acupuncture might be the next cure for cancer) but Not Exactly Rocket Science has read the paper and has a report of the bizarre study.
Apparently, it attempts to show a ‘biological basis’ for acupuncture by putting needles into mice at ‘traditional acupuncture points’ and then looks at the biochemical effects, particularly the release of a chemical called adenosine and riffs on the apparent ‘pain relieving effects’ from there.
The trouble is, no-one has reliably shown that acupuncture is more effective than placebo, and secondly, the Nature Neuroscience study itself apparently had no control condition, so you can’t even tell whether the effect in this study was specifically due to ‘acupuncture’ or not.
Just in case Ed at Not Exactly Rocket Science has got it completely wrong, I’ll have whatever he’s smoking, and if he hasn’t, I’ll have whatever they’re smoking in the Nature Neuroscience office.