Letter: Making a point

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was very disappointed to read your article "Acupuncture - what's the point?" (20 October). The author, Professor Edzard Ernst, has simply given an opinion and has not supported his claims with proper scientific data.

After completion of my MD, I undertook post-graduate studies in acupuncture at the Central Institute of Advanced Medical Studies in Moscow in 1982. The Department of Acupuncture has carried out several major research projects in this subject since the 1950s when China and Russia collaborated in different fields.

One of the first studies that were carried out was to establish whether acupuncture was effective. The result was amazing - acupuncture was an effective method of treatment for many ailments and the degree of effectiveness depended on the skill, training and experience of the therapist.

The greatest problem traditional medicine faces is that disciplines like acupuncture or homoeopathy cannot be studied within the parameters used by science to evaluate the modus operandi of these treatments . The American Journal of Acupuncture reports studies carried out on the subject and notably the particular effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of migraine, osteoarthritis, neurological problems, strokes, anxiety attacks etc.

Professor Ernst has been entrusted with the mammoth task of bridging the gap between conventional and complementary medicine. He holds the chair to bring out the best in this form of medicine. I am afraid that subsequent articles, which you intend to publish in your series, will bear a similar tone and ridicule the various subjects. This is an insult to all of us in the medical professions who are trying to integrate the various systems. Fortunately, there are several thousands of us in this field.

Dr MOSARAF ALI

Integrated Medical Centre

London W1

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