Meta Analyses and Systematic Reviews

The final section of our archives, has gathered Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews relating to Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine used with fertility patients (mostly IVF) and for conditions related to reproductive health. A systematic review collects and summarises evidence and a meta-analysis applies statistical methods to summarise the results of these studies. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis are considered to be the highest quality evidence because their strict inclusion criteria can reduce bias and produce more reliable findings. Each Meta analysis typically analyses pooled data collected from thousands of women.

Because the number of Systematic Reviews has grown so rapidly (reflecting the large number of trials in the area) there is now a Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews!

Most of the early research that was published in English language medical journals concerned the treatment of IVF patients with acupuncture administered on the day of Embryo Transfer. The randomised controlled trials (RCTs) collected for analysis started back as far as 2002 and by 2008 a Meta-analysis of 7 eligible RCTs  was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal. This first meta-analysis generated a lot of excitement among IVF clinicians and their patients and encouraged more research to follow.

While all the meta-analyses listed here include only eligible RCTs chosen with strict inclusion criteria, the heterogeneity and risk of bias in some trials has lead many authors to suggest that more RCTs are required before any specific recommendations are made to patients regarding treatment.

Another important proviso we must add here, is that many trials did not administer the optimal number of acupuncture treatments and few used acupuncture as it used traditionally (ie highly individualised treatments).

To comply with AHPRA advertising guidelines we have removed the plain English summaries of the findings of these Meta-analyses along with all abstracts and PDFs. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any information about any of these publications.

Here is a summary list of some of the relevant meta analyses published over the last 12 years…….

Read More