Scientists query study saying ear acupuncture aids weight loss
But the drug isn’t likely to result in important reductions in weight, said lead researcher Marian McDonagh. Childhood obesity is a significant health problem in the United States, with nearly 18 percent of kids between 6 and 19 years old classified as obese. Metformin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat type 2 diabetes in adults and children over 10 years old, but doctors have used it “off-label” to treat obese kids who don’t have diabetes, according to background information included in the study. McDonagh’s team analyzed 14 clinical trials that included nearly 1,000 children between 10 and 16 years old. All were overweight or obese. Based on data in adults, weight reductions of 5 percent to 10 percent are needed to decrease the risk of serious health problems tied to obesity, the researchers said.
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“It is hard to think of a treatment that is less plausible than ear acupuncture,” said Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at Britain’s University of Exeter. A summary statement about the study, conducted by Korean researchers, said it compared three approaches in a total of 91 people – acupuncture on five points on the outer ear, acupuncture on one point, and a sham treatment as a control. It said participants were asked to follow a restrictive diet, but not one designed to lead to weight loss, and not to take any extra exercise during eight weeks of treatment. Its results suggested significant differences were apparent after four weeks, with the active treatment groups receiving acupuncture on one or five points having lower body mass index scores compared with the sham treatment group, where there was no such reduction. Weight also differed significantly after four weeks in both active treatment groups compared with the sham treatment group, the researchers reported in the journal, which is one of 50 specialist titles published by British Medical Journal group.
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