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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Diabetes and Endocrinology - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Physiology - Science Policy

Assessing the Quality of Reports about Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture Treatment on Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Published: Monday, July 02, 2012
Author: Chen Bo et al.

by Chen Bo, Zhao Xue, Guo Yi, Chen Zelin, Bai Yang, Wang Zixu, Wang Yajun


To evaluate the reports’ qualities which are about randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture treatment on Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN).

Methodology/Principal Findings

Eight databases including The Cochrane Library(1993–Sept.,2011), PubMed (1980–Sept., 2011), EMbase (1980–Sept.,2011), SCI Expanded (1998–Sept.,2011), China Biomedicine Database Disc (CBMdisc, 1978–Sept., 2011), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI, 1979–Sept., 2011 ), VIP (a full text issues database of China, 1989–Sept., 2011), Wan Fang (another full text issues database of China 1998–Sept., 2011) were searched systematically. Hand search for further references was conducted. Language was limited to Chinese and English. We identified 75 RCTs that used acupuncture as an intervention and assessed the quality of these reports with the Consolidated Standards for Reporting of Trials statement 2010 (CONSORT2010) and Standards for Reporting Interventions Controlled Trials of Acupuncture 2010(STRICTA2010). 24 articles (32%) applied the method of random allocation of sequences. No article gave the description of the mechanism of allocation concealment, no experiment applied the method of blinding. Only one article (1.47%) could be identified directly from its title as about the Randomized Controlled Trials, and only 4 articles gave description of the experimental design. No article mentioned the number of cases lost or eliminated. During one experiment, acupuncture syncope led to temporal interruption of the therapy. Two articles (2.94%) recorded the number of needles, and 8 articles (11.76%) mentioned the depth of needle insertion. None of articles reported the base of calculation of sample size, or has any analysis about the metaphase of an experiment or an explanation of its interruption. One (1.47%) mentioned intentional analysis (ITT).


The quality of the reports on RCTs of acupuncture for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is moderate to low. The CONSORT2010 and STRICTA2010 should be used to standardize the reporting of RCTs of acupuncture in future.