Clinical Trials and Meta-Clinical Trials for Mood Disorders

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A good portion of us (particularly those with treatment-resistant depression) wait with baited breath for the results of a clinical trial. While we web-surf through the progress of various clinical trials, let’s not forget the usefulness of the meta-clinical trials. These are surveys or studies of multiple, separate clinical trials.

Because the meta-clinical trial examines the results of multiple trials, it can be more convincing than just a single clinical trial examining limited patients with limited study design. Further, when conducted by researchers from an entirely different background from ours, we stand to gain more insight.

For instance, the results of one meta-clinical trial published in the Journal of Affective Disorders was conducted by Chinese researchers from the Institute of Medical Sciences at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Researchers H. Wang and colleagues conducted this updated study to more closely assess the beneficial effects of acupuncture in depression therapy. H. Wang and colleagues, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Institute of Medical Sciences. Wang and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Affective Disorders (Is acupuncture beneficial in depression: a meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials?

If you want to find more information, you can go to The Journal of Affective Disorders, 2008;111(2-3):125-34). Simply click on:

Doctors and researchers have debated the usefulness of acupuncture on depression for the last two decades. Heaven knows this debate will continue. Because of cultural differences, no doubt western (American, British and European) results will differ from eastern (asian) for another two decades. Definitive answers will remain elusive. Opening yourself up to other approaches will no doubt increase your awareness and help you keep your (most likely) western doctor on his or her toes. Because treatment of mood disorders is so incredibly specific, you may respond to the eastern approach more than the western or vice versa. Your body and mind deserve a shot at both. 

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