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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 185034, 12 pages
Research Article

The Nonpenetrating Telescopic Sham Needle May Blind Patients with Different Characteristics and Experiences When Treated by Several Therapists

1Division of Nursing Science, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, 581 85 Linköping, Sweden
2The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences (Vårdal Institute), Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
3Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Osher Centrum, Karolinska Institute, Retzius väg 8, plan 3, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
4Department of Oncology, Lund University Hospital, 221 85 Lund, Sweden
5Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Linköping University, 581 85 Linköping, Sweden
6Division of Clinical Cancer Epidemiology, Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
7Division of Clinical Cancer Epidemiology, Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska Academy, 513 45 Gothenburg, Sweden
8Centre of Surgery, Orthopedics and Oncology, Department of Oncology, Linköping University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden

Received 1 December 2010; Revised 10 February 2011; Accepted 10 March 2011

Copyright © 2011 Anna Enblom et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Little is known which factors influence the blinding in acupuncture studies. Aim. To investigate if blinding varied between patients with different characteristics receiving verum or sham acupuncture. Methods. We randomised cancer patients to verum ( ) or sham acupuncture ( ) with a nonpenetrating telescopic sham needle for nausea. Level of blinding was compared between different sub-groups of patients using Bang's blinding index (BI) ranged to 1 ( all state the opposite treatment, all identify treatment). Results. Most patients in the verum (74 of 95; 78%, BI 0.72) and the sham (68 of 95; 72%, BI ). acupuncture group believed they had received verum acupuncture. The probability for a patient to believe he/she received verum acupuncture was related to the received needling type ( ) and to the patient's belief in received treatment effects ( ). Hospital ( ), therapist ( ), previous acupuncture experience ( ), occurrence of nausea ( ), gender ( ), and age ( ) did not affect blinding. Conclusions. Blinding was successfully achieved irrespective of age, gender, acupuncture experience, treatment effect, or in which hospital or by which therapist the patient received treatment. Patients with higher belief in the effect of the treatment were more likely to believe they had received verum acupuncture.