Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine / 2021 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2021 |Article ID 3469122 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/3469122

Ying He, Yuxi Li, Juan Li, Ning Li, Yonggang Zhang, Nian Li, "Analysis of the Most-Cited Systematic Review or Meta-Analysis in Acupuncture Research", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2021, Article ID 3469122, 14 pages, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/3469122

Analysis of the Most-Cited Systematic Review or Meta-Analysis in Acupuncture Research

Academic Editor: Hongcai Shang
Received09 Jun 2021
Revised01 Aug 2021
Accepted18 Aug 2021
Published16 Sep 2021

Abstract

Objectives. The aim of the current study was to analyze the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses in the field of acupuncture research. Methods. The Web of Science Core Collection was used to retrieve lists of 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses in the field of acupuncture research. Two authors screened literature, extracted data, and analyzed the results. Results. The citation number of the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses varied from 65 to 577; they were published between 1989 and 2018. Fourteen authors published more than 1 study as the corresponding author and 10 authors published more than 1 study as the first author. In terms of the corresponding authors, Edzard Ernst and Linde Klaus published the most systematic reviews/meta-analyses (n = 7). The USA published most of the systematic reviews or meta-analyses (n = 24), followed by England (n = 23) and China (n = 14). Most institutions with more than 1 study were from England (4/13). The institutions with the largest numbers of most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were the Technical University of Munich in Germany, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the USA (n = 8), the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in England (n = 6), and the University of Exeter in England (n = 6). The journal with the largest number of most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses was the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (n = 20), followed by Pain (n = 6). Conclusion. Our study reveals that the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses in the acupuncture research field are mostly from high impact factor journals and developed countries. It will help researchers follow research hot spots, broaden their research scope, expand their academic horizons, and explore new research ideas, thereby improving the quality of acupuncture research.

1. Introduction

Acupuncture is an important therapy in the traditional medicine of China and has been practiced for thousands of years [1]. It is defined as the insertion of one or several needles into the skin at particular sites for therapeutic purposes [1, 2]. The acupuncture research has shown impressive development during the past decade, and published articles have reflected its evolution [3, 4].

The Science Citation Index was initiated at the Institute for Scientific Information by Eugene Garfield, which is now owned by Clarivate Analytics [5]. It maintains a systematic ongoing measurement of citation counts for scientific journals and articles. The citation number of an article by other articles is widely considered as an important parameter to measure its relevance in the field of knowledge [6, 7]. Citation analysis can be used to identify studies that have influenced a given field, and a highly cited paper is usually seen as a landmark in any medical discipline, and it may influence further research and clinical practice [8]. In addition, the top-cited articles are often written by leading experts who can offer insight into future directions of the discipline and indicate the growth of particular fields [9].

Several recent studies have identified and analyzed citation classics and most-cited articles in various medical fields including gastric diseases [8], antibiotics [10], obstetrics and gynecology [7], and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [11]. However, to the best of our knowledge, no comprehensive studies reported the most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses in acupuncture research, especially using the Web of Science database. Thus, we performed the current study to identify the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses published in journals in the field of acupuncture research.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Search Strategy

The Web of Science Core Collection was searched for the 100 most-cited systematic reviews/meta-analyses using the following search terms: (Acupuncture [Topic] OR Acupuncture [Title]) AND (systematic review [Topic] OR meta-analysis [Topic] OR systematic review [Title] OR meta-analysis [Title]). The last search was performed on May 5, 2021. The results were screened and ordered by the total number of citations, and the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were included for data analysis.

2.2. Data Collection and Analysis

The 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were exported into one electronic datasheet and analyzed. Data were inserted into an Excel database (Excel 2010, Microsoft), and a descriptive statistical analysis was performed by Excel software. Structural visualization and analysis of the 100 most-cited studies were performed using VOSviewer 1.6.66 (https://www.vosviewer.com/, Leiden University Centre for Science and Technology Studies). For each study, the characteristics of the study such as the number of citations, ranking, authorship, title, year of publication, published journal, publication type, and topic categories were assessed by two authors. If the authors of an article had more than one affiliation, the department, institution, and country of origin were defined by the first affiliation of the first author.

3. Results

The search results included more than 1,500 systematic reviews or meta-analyses. After screening the titles and abstracts, the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were selected for data analysis. Table 1 shows the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses; they are ranked according to the number of citations. The total citation numbers of all 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were 13,459, varying from 65 to 577. Fifteen systematic reviews or meta-analyses had been cited more than 200 times. The most-cited systematic review/meta-analysis was Acupuncture, which was written by Vickers et al. in Arch. Intern. Med. published in 2012 with the citation number of 577 [12]. The second systematic review/meta-analysis was “Do certain countries produce only positive results? A systematic review of controlled trials” written by Vickers et al. published in Control Clin Trials in 1998 with the citation number of 425 [13]. The third systematic review/meta-analysis was “Is acupuncture effective for the treatment of chronic pain? A systematic review” written by Ezzo et al. published in Pain in 2000 with the citation number of 293 [14].


RankingArticleDiseaseCitation

1Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172(19):1444–1453.Chronic pain577
2Vickers A, Goyal N, Harland R, Rees R. Do certain countries produce only positive results? A systematic review of controlled trials. Control Clin Trials. 1998; 19(2):159–166.Controlled trials425
3Ezzo J, Berman B, Hadhazy VA, Jadad AR, Lao L, Singh BB. Is acupuncture effective for the treatment of chronic pain? A systematic review. Pain. 2000; 86(3):217–225.Chronic pain293
4Huang W, Pach D, Napadow V, et al. Characterizing acupuncture stimuli using brain imaging with FMRI--a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. PLoS One. 2012; 7(4):e32960.Brain imaging with fMRI272
5Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E. Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain [published correction appears in Ann Intern Med. 2005 Jun 7; 142(11):950–1]. Ann Intern Med. 2005; 142(8):651–663.Low back pain261
6Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Deyo RA, Shekelle PG. A review of the evidence for the effectiveness, safety, and cost of acupuncture, massage therapy, and spinal manipulation for back pain. Ann Intern Med. 2003; 138(11):898–906.Back pain252
7Furlan AD, van Tulder MW, Cherkin DC, et al. Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005; (1):CD001351. Published 2005 Jan 25.Low back pain246
8Cummings TM, White AR. Needling therapies in the management of myofascial trigger point pain: a systematic review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001; 82(7):986–992.Myofascial trigger point pain238
9Hróbjartsson A, Gøtzsche PC. Is the placebo powerless? Update of a systematic review with 52 new randomized trials comparing placebo with no treatment. J Intern Med. 2004; 256(2):91–100.Randomized trials237
10Green S, Buchbinder R, Hetrick S. Acupuncture for shoulder pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005; (2):CD005319. Published 2005 Apr 18.Shoulder pain230
11Chen W, Yang GY, Liu B, Manheimer E, Liu JP. Manual acupuncture for treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials [published correction appears in PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e91110]. PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e73764. Published 2013 Sep 12.Diabetic peripheral neuropathy220
12Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009; (1):CD001218. Published 2009 Jan 21.Migraine213
13Furlan AD, van Tulder M, Cherkin D, et al. Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain: an updated systematic review within the framework of the cochrane collaboration. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2005; 30(8):944–963.Low back pain206
14Bjordal JM, Johnson MI, Ljunggreen AE. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can reduce postoperative analgesic consumption. A meta-analysis with assessment of optimal treatment parameters for postoperative pain. Eur J Pain. 2003; 7(2):181–188.Postoperative pain203
15Vickers AJ. Can acupuncture have specific effects on health? A systematic review of acupuncture antiemesis trials. J R Soc Med. 1996; 89(6):303–311.Antiemesis202
16Bisset L, Paungmali A, Vicenzino B, Beller E. A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials on physical interventions for lateral epicondylalgia. Br J Sports Med. 2005; 39(7):411–422.Lateral epicondylalgia198
17Madsen MV, Gøtzsche PC, Hróbjartsson A. Acupuncture treatment for pain: systematic review of randomized clinical trials with acupuncture, placebo acupuncture, and no acupuncture groups. BMJ. 2009; 338:a3115. Published 2009 Jan 27.Pain195
18Lee A, Done ML. The use of nonpharmacologic techniques to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting: a meta-analysis. Anesth Analg. 1999; 88(6):1362–1369.Postoperative nausea and vomiting187
19Bjordal JM, Johnson MI, Lopes-Martins RA, Bogen B, Chow R, Ljunggren AE. Short-term efficacy of physical interventions in osteoarthritic knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2007; 8:51. Published 2007 Jun 22.Osteoarthritic knee pain186
20Ezzo J, Hadhazy V, Birch S, et al. Acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review. Arthritis Rheum. 2001; 44(4):819–825.Osteoarthritis of the knee171
21Moffet HH. Sham acupuncture may be as efficacious as true acupuncture: a systematic review of clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2009; 15(3):213–216.Clinical trials168
22Tough EA, White AR, Cummings TM, Richards SH, Campbell JL. Acupuncture and dry needling in the management of myofascial trigger point pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pain. 2009; 13(1):3–10.Myofascial trigger point pain167
23White A, Foster NE, Cummings M, Barlas P. Acupuncture treatment for chronic knee pain: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2007; 46(3):384–390.Chronic knee pain165
24Garcia MK, McQuade J, Haddad R, et al. Systematic review of acupuncture in cancer care: a synthesis of the evidence. J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31(7):952–960.Cancer care163
25Ernst E, White AR. Prospective studies of the safety of acupuncture: a systematic review. Am J Med. 2001; 110(6):481–485.Safety of acupuncture161
26Sun Y, Gan TJ, Dubose JW, Habib AS. Acupuncture and related techniques for postoperative pain: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Br J Anesth. 2008; 101(2):151–160.Postoperative pain160
27Ernst E. Acupuncture - a critical analysis. J Intern Med. 2006; 259(2):125–137.A critical analysis160
28van Tulder MW, Cherkin DC, Berman B, Lao L, Koes BW. The effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of acute and chronic low back pain. A systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1999; 24(11):1113–1123.Acute and chronic low back pain160
29Ernst E, White AR. Acupuncture for back pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 1998; 158(20):2235–2241.Back pain159
30Manheimer E, Cheng K, Linde K, et al. Acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010; (1):CD001977. Published 2010 Jan 20.Peripheral joint osteoarthritis151
31Eric M, Klaus L, Lixing L, M BL, M BB. Meta-analysis: acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee. Ann Intern Med. 2007; 146(12).Osteoarthritis of the knee148
32Smith LA, Oldman AD, McQuay HJ, Moore RA. Teasing apart quality and validity in systematic reviews: an example from acupuncture trials in chronic neck and back pain. Pain. 2000; 86(1–2):119–132.Chronic neck and back pain147
33Vickers AJ, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. J Pain. 2018; 19(5):455–474.Chronic Pain146
34Furlan AD, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and safety of selected complementary and alternative medicine for neck and low-back pain. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:953139.Neck and low back pain145
35White AR, Ernst E. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for neck pain. Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999; 38(2):143–147.Neck pain144
36Meissner K, Fässler M, Rücker G, et al. Differential effectiveness of placebo treatments: a systematic review of migraine prophylaxis. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(21):1941–1951.Migraine140
37Geeganage C, Beavan J, Ellender S, Bath PM. Interventions for dysphagia and nutritional support in acute and subacute stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; 10:CD000323. Published 2012 Oct 17.Acute and subacute stroke139
38Ahn AC, Colbert AP, Anderson BJ, et al. Electrical properties of acupuncture points and meridians: a systematic review. Bioelectromagnetics. 2008; 29(4):245–256.Acupuncture points and meridians139
39Johnson M, Martinson M. Efficacy of electrical nerve stimulation for chronic musculoskeletal pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pain. 2007; 130(1–2):157–165.Chronic musculoskeletal pain137
40Kietrys DM, Palombaro KM, Azzaretto E, et al. Effectiveness of dry needling for upper-quarter myofascial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013; 43(9):620–634.Myofascial Pain136
41Melchart D, Linde K, Fischer P, et al. Acupuncture for recurrent headaches: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials [published correction appears in Cephalalgia 2000 Oct; 20(8):762–3]. Cephalalgia. 1999; 19(9):779–765.Recurrent headaches133
42Khadilkar A, Odebiyi DO, Brosseau L, Wells GA. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) versus placebo for chronic low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008; 2008(4):CD003008. Published 2008 Oct 8.Chronic low back pain132
43Wu P, Mills E, Moher D, Seely D. Acupuncture in poststroke rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Stroke. 2010; 41(4):e171-e179.Poststroke rehabilitation129
44Lao L, Hamilton GR, Fu J, Berman BM. Is acupuncture safe? A systematic review of case reports. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003; 9(1):72–83.Safe122
45Lee A, Fan LT. Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009; (2):CD003281. Published 2009 Apr 15.Postoperative nausea and vomiting120
46Ernst E, White A. Life-threatening adverse reactions after acupuncture? A systematic review. Pain. 1997; 71(2):123–126.Adverse reactions120
47Dincer F, Linde K. Sham interventions in randomized clinical trials of acupuncture--a review. Complement Ther Med. 2003; 11(4):235–242.Sham interventions117
48Linde K, Niemann K, Schneider A, Meissner K. How large are the nonspecific effects of acupuncture? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Med. 2010; 8:75. Published 2010 Nov 23.The nonspecific effects of acupuncture115
49Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008; 336(7643):545–549.Pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation115
50Zhang ZJ, Chen HY, Yip KC, Ng R, Wong VT. The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture therapy in depressive disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. 2010; 124(1–2):9–21.Depressive disorders114
51Prady SL, Richmond SJ, Morton VM, Macpherson H. A systematic evaluation of the impact of STRICTA and CONSORT recommendations on quality of reporting for acupuncture trials. PLoS One. 2008; 3(2):e1577. Published 2008 Feb 13.Acupuncture trials113
52Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009; (1):CD007587. Published 2009 Jan 21.Tension-type headache110
53Kalichman L, Vulfsons S. Dry needling in the management of musculoskeletal pain. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010; 23(5):640–646.Musculoskeletal pain109
54Smith CA, Hay PP, Macpherson H. Acupuncture for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010; (1):CD004046. Published 2010 Jan 20.Depression106
55Ezzo JM, Richardson MA, Vickers A, et al. Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006; (2):CD002285. Published 2006 Apr 19.Nausea or vomiting106
56Trinh KV, Graham N, Gross AR, et al. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006; (3):CD004870. Published 2006 Jul 19.Neck disorders106
57Patel M, Gutzwiller F, Paccaud F, Marazzi A. A meta-analysis of acupuncture for chronic pain. Int J Epidemiol. 1989; 18(4):900–906.Chronic pain106
58Yuan J, Purepong N, Kerr DP, Park J, Bradbury I, McDonough S. Effectiveness of acupuncture for low back pain: a systematic review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008; 33(23):E887-E900.Low back pain104
59Jindal V, Ge A, Mansky PJ. Safety and efficacy of acupuncture in children: a review of the evidence. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2008; 30(6):431–442.Children104
60Ernst E, Lee MS, Choi TY. Acupuncture: does it alleviate pain and are there serious risks? A review of reviews. Pain. 2011; 152(4):755–764.Alleviate pain102
61Trinh KV, Phillips SD, Ho E, Damsma K. Acupuncture for the alleviation of lateral epicondyle pain: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004; 43(9):1085–1090.Lateral epicondyle pain102
62Berman BM, Ezzo J, Hadhazy V, Swyers JP. Is acupuncture effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia?. J Fam Pract. 1999; 48(3):213–218.Fibromyalgia100
63Sze FK, Wong E, Or KK, Lau J, Woo J. Does acupuncture improve motor recovery after stroke? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Stroke. 2002; 33(11):2604–2619.Recovery after stroke96
64Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016; 2016(6):CD001218. Published 2016 Jun 28.Migraine95
65Liu L, Huang QM, Liu QG, et al. Effectiveness of dry needling for myofascial trigger points associated with neck and shoulder pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015; 96(5):944–955.Neck and shoulder pain94
66White A, Cummings M, Barlas P, et al. Defining an adequate dose of acupuncture using a neurophysiological approach--a narrative review of the literature. Acupunct Med. 2008; 26(2):111–120.Neurophysiological93
67Kwon YD, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006; 45(11):1331–1337.Peripheral joint osteoarthritis93
68Asher GN, Jonas DE, Coeytaux RR, et al. Auriculotherapy for pain management: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2010; 16(10):1097–1108.Pain90
69Cho SH, Lee JS, Thabane L, Lee J. Acupuncture for obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009; 33(2):183–196.Obesity89
70Lim B, Manheimer E, Lao L, et al. Acupuncture for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006; (4):CD005111. Published 2006 Oct 18.Irritable bowel syndrome89
71Ernst E, Pittler MH. The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating acute dental pain: a systematic review. Br Dent J. 1998; 184(9):443–447.Acute dental pain88
72Lee A, Chan SK, Fan LT. Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point PC6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015; 2015(11):CD003281. Published 2015 Nov 2.Postoperative nausea and vomiting87
73Cao H, Pan X, Li H, Liu J. Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2009; 15(11):1171–1186.Insomnia86
74Casimiro L, Barnsley L, Brosseau L, et al. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005; (4):CD003788. Published 2005 Oct 19.Rheumatoid arthritis84
75Park J, Hopwood V, White AR, Ernst E. Effectiveness of acupuncture for stroke: a systematic review. J Neurol. 2001; 248(7):558–563.Stroke84
76Corbett MS, Rice SJ, Madurasinghe V, Slack R, Fayter DA, Harden M, Sutton AJ, Macpherson H, Woolacott NF. Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep; 21(9):1290–8.Osteoarthritis of the knee82
77Zhang J, Shang H, Gao X, Ernst E. Acupuncture-related adverse events: a systematic review of the Chinese literature. Bull World Health Organ. 2010; 88(12):915–921C.Adverse events81
78Adams D, Cheng F, Jou H, Aung S, Yasui Y, Vohra S. The safety of pediatric acupuncture: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2011; 128(6):e1575-e1587.Pediatric acupuncture80
79Yamashita H, Tsukayama H, White AR, Tanno Y, Sugishita C, Ernst E. Systematic review of adverse events following acupuncture: the Japanese literature. Complement Ther Med. 2001; 9(2):98–104.Adverse events75
80Lee H, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Acupuncture for the relief of cancer-related pain--a systematic review. Eur J Pain. 2005; 9(4):437–444.Cancer-related pain74
81Brosseau L, Milne S, Robinson V, et al. Efficacy of the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a meta-analysis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002; 27(6):596–603.Chronic low back pain74
82Linde K, Niemann K, Meissner K. Are sham acupuncture interventions more effective than (other) placebos? A re-analysis of data from the Cochrane review on placebo effects. Forsch Komplementmed. 2010; 17(5):259–264.Placebo effects73
83Dowswell T, Bedwell C, Lavender T, Neilson JP. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for pain relief in labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009; (2):CD007214. Published 2009 Apr 15.Pain relief in labour73
84Lam M, Galvin R, Curry P. Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013; 38(24):2124–2138.Nonspecific chronic low back pain72
85Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I, et al. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; 2013(7):CD007410. Published 2013 Jul 30.Menopausal hot flushes71
86Yeung WF, Chung KF, Poon MM, et al. Acupressure, reflexology, and auricular acupressure for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sleep Med. 2012; 13(8):971–984.Insomnia71
87Mayhew E, Ernst E. Acupuncture for fibromyalgia--a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2007; 46(5):801–804.Fibromyalgia70
88Manyanga T, Froese M, Zarychanski R, et al. Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14:312. Published 2014 Aug 23.Osteoarthritis68
89Cheuk DK, Yeung WF, Chung KF, Wong V. Acupuncture for insomnia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; (9):CD005472. Published 2012 Sep 12.Insomnia68
90Hurlow A, Bennett MI, Robb KA, Johnson MI, Simpson KH, Oxberry SG. Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; 2012(3):CD006276. Published 2012 Mar 14.Cancer pain68
91Vas J, Perea-Milla E, Méndez C, et al. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for chronic uncomplicated neck pain: a randomized controlled study. Pain. 2006; 126(1–3):245–255.Chronic uncomplicated neck pain67
92Streitberger K, Ezzo J, Schneider A. Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting: an update of clinical and experimental studies. Auton Neurosci. 2006; 129(1–2):107–117.Nausea and vomiting67
93Gattie E, Cleland JA, Snodgrass S. The Effectiveness of Trigger Point Dry Needling for Musculoskeletal Conditions by Physical Therapists: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2017; 47(3):133–149.Musculoskeletal conditions66
94Li H, He T, Xu Q, et al. Acupuncture and regulation of gastrointestinal function. World J Gastroenterol. 2015; 21(27):8304–8313.Gastrointestinal function66
95Lee JH, Choi TY, Lee MS, Lee H, Shin BC, Lee H. Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review. Clin J Pain. 2013; 29(2):172–185.Acute low back pain66
96Leo RJ, Ligot JS Jr. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture in the treatment of depression. J Affect Disord. 2007; 97(1–3):13–22.Depression66
97Zhang SH, Liu M, Asplund K, Li L. Acupuncture for acute stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005; (2):CD003317. Published 2005 Apr 18.Acute stroke66
98Wu MS, Chen KH, Chen IF, et al. The Efficacy of Acupuncture in Post-Operative Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150367. Published 2016 Mar 9.Postoperative pain65
99Zhou J, Peng W, Xu M, Li W, Liu Z. The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for patients with Alzheimer disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015; 94(22):e933.Alzheimer’s disease65
100MacPherson H, Maschino AC, Lewith G, et al. Characteristics of acupuncture treatment associated with outcome: an individual patient meta-analysis of 17,922 patients with chronic pain in randomized controlled trials [published correction appears in PLoS One. 2013; 8(12).Chronic pain65

As to the authors, the results showed that there were 14 corresponding authors who published more than one study and 10 authors who published more than one study as first authors. In terms of the corresponding authors, Edzard Ernst and Linde Klaus published the most studies (n = 7). The author with most studies as the first author was Edzard Ernst who published 6 studies. Table 2 summarised the characteristics of the authors.


AuthorNameNumber of studies

Corresponding authorErnst E7
Linde K7
Manheimer E5
Vickers AJ3
Lee A3
Hrobjartsson A2
Lee H2
Trinh KV2
White A2
Liu JP2
Furlan AD2
Ezzo J2
Brosseau, L2
Bjordal JM2

First authorErnst E6
Linde K5
Furlan AD3
Lee A3
Vickers AJ3
Manheimer E3
Trinh KV2
White A2
Bjordal JM2
Ezzo J2

As shown in Table 3, the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were from 16 countries, respectively. The USA ranked first with 24 studies, followed by England (n = 23) and China (n = 14). When considering the average citation, the average citations of the Chinese authors were less than authors from other countries.


AddressesNumber of studiesTotal citationsAverage citationNumber of studies in each ranking
50–99100–149150–199200–249250–299300–349350–399400–449450–499500–549550–599

USA243,920163410531
England233,15813786521
China141,299931121
Canada111,237112551
Germany101,3351343511
Australia4721180121
Denmark243221611
Netherlands12062061
Norway238919511
South Korea3229763
Japan175751
Ireland172721
Spain167671
Israel11091091
Switzerland11061061
North Ireland11041041

Table 4 shows institutions that published at least two most-cited studies. There were four institutions from England that published at least two most-cited studies, including the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, the University of Exeter, the University of York, and Research Council for Complementary Medicine. As for the number of most-cited studies, the Technical University of Munich in Germany and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the USA all ranked the first with eight studies; the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in England ranked the second with seven studies.


CountryInstitutionNumber of studies

Canada8
University of Ottawa4
McMaster University2
Institute for Work & Health2

China7
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine2
University of Hong Kong3
Chinese University of Hong Kong2

England17
Universities of Exeter and Plymouth6
University of Exeter6
The University of York3
Research Council for Complementary Medicine2

Germany10
Technische Universität München8
Nordic Cochrane Centre2

South Korea2
Kyung Hee University2

USA10
University of Maryland School of Medicine8
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center2

Table 5 shows the published year of the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses. Most of these studies were published in 2009 (n = 9) and 2010 (n = 9), and 8 studies were published in 2005, 2008, and 2013.


YearNumber of studyTotal citationAverage citation

19891106106
19961202202
19971120120
19983672224
19995724145
20002440220
20015729146
2002217085
20034694174
20042339170
200581,365171
20067688103
20076772129
20088960120
200991,221136
20109968108
2011218291
201271,340192
2013879599
20142288144
2015431278
2016216080
201716666
20181146146

The 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were published in 50 journals (Table 6). Two systematic reviews or meta-analyses were from stroke and were cited with an average of 133 times, which was in the moderate level. Among the 50 journals, impact factors (2020) of 5 journals were higher than 10, including Annals of Internal Medicine, British Journal of Sports Medicine, British Medical Journal, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and JAMA Internal Medicine.


JournalAbbreviated nameArticles included in top 100 citedTotal citationsAverage citation/articleImpact factor (2021)

Archives of Internal MedicineArch. Intern. Med.2736368NA
Annals of Internal MedicineAnn. Intern. Med.366122021.316
Archives of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationArch. Phys. Med. Rehabil.23321663.097
Anesthesia and AnalgesiaAnesth. Analg.11871874.307
Arthritis and RheumatismArthritis Rheum.1171171NA
American Journal of MedicineAm. J. Med.11611614.528
Alternative Therapies in Health and MedicineAltern. Ther. Health Med.11221220.939
Acupuncture in MedicineAcupunct. Med.193932.127
Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic & ClinicalAuton. Neurosci-Basic Clin.167672.2
British Journal of Sports MedicineBr. J. Sports Med.119819812.021
British Medical JournalBMJ231015530.22
BMC Musculoskeletal DisordersBMC Musculoskelet. Disord.11861861.878
British Journal of AnaesthesiaBr. J. Anaesth.11601606.881
BioelectromagneticsBioelectromagnetics11391392.277
BMC MedicineBMC Med.11151156.783
British Dental JournalBr. Dent. J.188881.306
Bulletin of the World Health OrganizationBull. World Health Organ.181816.962
BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineBMC Complement. Altern. Med.168682.831
Controlled Clinical TrialsControl Clin. Trials1425425NA
Cochrane Database of Systematic ReviewsCochrane Database Syst. Rev.202,3601187.893
Clinical Journal of PainClin. J. Pain166662.891
CephalalgiaCephalalgia11331334.867
Complementary Therapies in MedicineComplement. Ther. Med.2192962.064
Journal of Internal MedicineJ. Intern. Med.23971996.874
Journal of the Royal Society of MedicineJ. R. Soc. Med.12022025.239
Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineJ. Altern. Complement Med.33441152.105
Journal of Clinical OncologyJ. Clin. Oncol.116316332.959
Journal of PainJ. Pain11461464.62
JAMA Internal MedicineJAMA Intern. Med.114014018.654
Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical TherapyJ. Orthop. Sports Phys. Ther.22021013.839
Journal of Affective DisordersJ. Affect. Disord.2180903.891
Journal of the American Board of Family MedicineJ. Am. Board Fam. Med.11091092.663
The Journal of Family PracticeJ. Fam. Pract.11001000.693
journal of NeurologyJ. Neurol.184843.958
Journal of Pediatric Hematology OncologyJ. Pediatr. Hematol. Oncol.11041041.016
PainPain68661445.481
PLoS onePLoS One57351472.742
SPINESPINE56161232.646
European Journal of PainEur. J. Pain34441483.49
RheumatologyRHEUMATOLOGY55741155.605
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative MedicineEvid.-based Complement Altern. Med.11451451.812
StrokeStroke22251137.194
International Journal of EpidemiologyInt. J. Epidemiol.11061067.708
International Journal of ObesityInt. J. Obes.18989NA
Osteoarthritis and CartilageOsteoarthritis Cartilage182824.79
PediatricsPediatrics180805.359
Forsch KomplementarmedForsch. Komplement.med17373NA
Sleep MedicineSleep Med.171713.035
World Journal of GastroenterologyWorld J. Gastroenterol166663.669
Medicine (Baltimore)Medicine (Baltimore)165651.552

The cocitation of the 100 top-cited studies is shown in Figure 1. The most frequent cocited study was about quantifying heterogeneity in a meta-analysis (n = 31) published by Controlled Clinical Trials in 1996. The most frequent cocitied source was Pain (n = 280). Edzard Ernst from the University of Exeter in England was the most frequent cocitied author (n = 70).

4. Discussion

Acupuncture is undoubtedly valuable in Chinese traditional medicine. It is effective, especially in reducing chronic pain, such as cervical spondylosis and the management of low back pain [1517]. In the field of acupuncture research, citation of studies varied. The most-cited studies ranked the highest position and could show research ability and development in different countries and institutions. Thus, analyzing the most-cited studies would help future studies.

The numbers of citations of the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses were considerable. The data indicated that the researchers in the medical field give huge attention to acupuncture. Our results showed the top researches of acupuncture, investigating the distribution of authors, countries, institutions, year, and journals. The study showed that authors from the USA published most studies among the 100 most-cited studies. Although China is the birth land of acupuncture, the number of Chinese studies was only 14. Traditional Chinese clinicians might always focus on the clinical practice, ignoring the research, especially the study using modern scientific methods [18]. On the contrary, western researchers were proficient in research methods. So when they develop great interests in this field, they could perform studies with high quality.

The institutions revealed that researchers in famous research-based universities or hospitals made huge efforts to investigate the principle and effectiveness of acupuncture, such as Technische Universität München, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Acupuncture was the traditional therapeutic method with large varieties of clinical practice, especially in China and other East Asian countries, which suggest that more attention should be paid to China in international journals.

In terms of journals, the number of systematic reviews or meta-analyses from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was the largest (n = 20) because this journal is dedicated to publishing systematic reviews. Besides, some highly influential journals, such as Annals of Internal Medicine, BMJ, and Journal of Clinical Oncology, also published some studies in this field. It is undoubted that papers published in highly influential journals would be cited more because of the great reputation of these journals; thus, we should publish more studies in highly influential journals.

In terms of the cocitation of the 100 most-cited studies, the results indicated that the most-cited studies were published in Pain; this might be related to the limitation of understanding on acupuncture by foreign researchers. Hence, it suggested that editors and authors should choose other interesting research topics of studies in the future.

It should be noted that Chinese researchers contributed 14 papers, and some Chinese authors were really outstanding. Jian-Ping Liu from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine published 1 study in PLoS One [19] and Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine [20]. Lee Anna from the Chinese University of Hong Kong published 2 studies in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [21, 22]. Sze, FKH from Shatin Hospital in Hong Kong published 1 study in Stroke [23], while Huang Qiang-Min from Shanghai University of Sports in Shanghai published 1 study in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation [24]. It should be noted that acupuncture was used most widely in China; due to language constraints, some excellent Chinese studies might not be cited, which might bias the conclusion of this study. The strengthening of exchanges and cooperation with international institutions and institutions had been identified as a priority in the acupuncture field. Hence, the acupuncture researchers should pay attention to the research in high-impact institutions and published high-impact researches in a timely manner, in order to promote interinstitutional cooperation and exchanges.

There were some limitations of our study. Our electronic search was performed in the Web of Science Core Collection. As a result, the bias of searching cannot be avoided [25]. In addition, a number of studies conducted by Chinese researchers were published in Chinese journals and have not been included in the current study, so the results should be explained with caution.

In conclusion, our study revealed that the 100 most-cited systematic reviews or meta-analyses in the acupuncture research field are mostly from high impact factors journals and are mostly from western counties. It will help researchers follow research hot spots, broaden their research scope, expand their academic horizons, and explore new research ideas, thereby improving the quality of acupuncture research.

Data Availability

The original data used to support the findings of this study are included within the article.

Disclosure

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Authors’ Contributions

The corresponding author attests that all listed authors meet authorship criteria. Yonggang Zhang, Ning Li, and Nian Li provided ideas and designed the manuscript. Ying He and Yuxi Li collected and analyzed data. Ying He and Yonggang Zhang wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Juan Li, Ning Li, Yonggang Zhang, and Nian Li revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 82004213) and the Project of Sichuan Provincial Department of Science and Technology (no. 2021YFH0191).

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Copyright © 2021 Ying He 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.


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