Nature: Measuring Rat Screams with Hierarchical Micro/Nano-Porous Acupuncture Needles

Nature: Measuring Rat Screams with Hierarchical Micro/Nano-Porous Acupuncture Needles


Harriet Hall invented the term "Tooth Fairy Science"

doing research on a phenomenon before establishing that the phenomenon exists.

Which describes the bulk of the research done on pseudo-medicines covered by this blog.

But there is another process which I have discussed before that is not quite tooth fairy science. It is the application of modern science and technology to pseudo-sciences. It is like astrologers using the very large array for casting a horoscope.

I do not (yet) have a term to describe the process, but I tend to see the papers come out of Asia where I suspect they currently have more money than sense.

As an example, I give you

Hierarchical Micro/Nano-Porous Acupuncture Needles Offering Enhanced Therapeutic Properties.

Long term readers of this blog and my writings at Science-Based Medicine know that acupuncture is a form of Condimentary medicine that is based on nonsense (there is no qi or meridians) and has no therapeutic effect beyond placebo.

The authors start with a Trumpian assertions

Acupuncture has long been accepted as an effective therapy for the treatment of many functional disorders, such as pain and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and drug abuse.

Well, no. It is clear acupuncture is Tripe, Piffle, Poppycock, Balderdash, Codswallop, Twaddle and Tosh.

They continue with

The biological basis of acupuncture still remains unclear,

Well, no, there is no biologic basis for acupuncture. See the above. They continues with another Trumpian assertion

a considerable number of studies has established a general concept that acupuncture contributes to the neurochemical balance in the central nervous system (CNS) and recovery or maintenance of homeostasis via interactions between needles and the surrounding tissue

All not true. As mentioned acupuncture does bupkis.

They do recognize that

studies suggest that employing thick needles and/or deeper insertion can act to produce increased stimuli intensity.

Yeah. Bigger needles pushed deeper do hurt more. Wow. What an insight.

So they

hypothesize that an increase in needle surface area with no significant variation in needle diameter may lead to increased interactions of surrounding tissue, leading to enhanced acupuncture stimuli.

Why would you think that? I can't figure it out from the text. What would surface area of the needle have to do with anything to do with improved effect? Something to do with (bold added)

improved possible interaction between the inserted needle and mechanoreceptors in the surrounding tissue

Well it is tooth fairy science so I really cannot expect a rational explanation. Basically they want to improve their tooth science with science and so

fabricated a new type of acupuncture needle possessing a novel surface morphology, and applied this as described in the present work. The fabrication methodology employed herein results in so-called porous acupuncture needles (PANs), with hierarchical micro/nano-scale conical pores upon the surface of conventional stainless steel acupuncture needles. The fabricated PANs exhibit approximately 20 times greater surface area than conventional needles.

20 x!

Is that better? Of course.

And to prove it they abused so rats by making they alcohol dependent and then inducing withdrawal and seeing how each type of needle affects the withdrawal tremor. That is mean.  I have taken care of alcohol withdrawal patients and it is not a process I would wish on a rat.

And they tested how the different needles affected behavior after jacking the rats up on cocaine.  At least those rats had fun.

Oh. And they measured how the rats screamed with different needles. Really. It sounds all science-y, but that is what they did.

Further comparison of the different needles was made through measurement of spontaneous pain sensation induced by acupuncture needle insertion using audible Ultrasonic Vocalizations (USVs). Prior to undergoing a USV test a rat was housed in the USV test box (70 cm × 50 cm × 60 cm; with proper air circulation, regulated temperature, and protected from sound and light) for 3 consecutive days to eliminate environmental influences. A high performance microphone (Ultrasonic USB Microphone 250 KHz, Dodotronic, USA) was attached within a hole in the center of the box ceiling 30 cm above the rat. Abisoft-SASLap Pro (Version 5.2, Avisoft Bioacoustics, Glienicke, Germany) was used to record and analyze the USVs during acupuncture treatment. For statistical analysis vocalization waveform shapes in the pain-related USV frequency range (18–35 kHz) were divided into two types: short duration (20–200 ms) and long duration (>200 ms).

Guess what? Thicker needles made the rats scream more. Science!

It would be hard to find a study with less justification and more worthless results, unless you are a big fan of rat screams.

I think the modern equivalent of N-Rays is acupuncture rat studies. They measure the existence of phenomena that do not exist but phenomena the researchers want to exist.

The authors are quite proud of themselves

Our important results suggest the motivation for future studies, such as whether the increased needle surface area enhances the conductance of neuronal impulses or initiates specific biochemical events that result in the improved therapeutic efficacy of psychiatric disorders. We believe our present results employing PANs provide researchers new insights that should help improve acupuncture efficacy.

I would less enthusiastic of both the study and the results.

Another example of peer review for pseudo-medicine. They peer at it and say

"Yep. That 'peers to be science-y. Publish.

And where was it published?

In Scientific Reports.

Part of nature.com

Nature.

Yes.

That Nature.

Sigh. Scientific doesn't mean what it used to.

My name is Nature, Scientific Reports;

Look on my Works, ye Skeptical, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare.

Ozymandias. Kind of.

Points of Interest 10/18/2016
Points of Interest 10/17/2016

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