Acupuncture Exam

DC's Improbable Science has posted a pdf file of the exam given to those studying medical acupuncture at the University of Salford. Fans of acupuncture have long been lobbying for it to get more respect from the medical community, but as the DC Science blog points out, this exam appears to be nothing but gobbledygook. Here are several of the questions that exam takers must answer:


Posted on Wed Jul 29, 2009


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My Hovercraft is full of eels.

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Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Wed Jul 29, 2009  at  02:48 PM
Really. The Microsoft Cert exams are as much gobbledegook to anyone who hasn't studied for them.
Posted by Originalsim  on  Wed Jul 29, 2009  at  04:18 PM
Yeah, probably within its own context it all does fit together and make sense. I could say, "Which of the following explains the physical relationships between charms and stranges?", and that would be meaningless to most people who lacked the context of it. So making fun of it for not being coherent is a bit silly. It just means that you don't know enough about the subject to see or understand the coherency.

On the other hand, I really do doubt that acupuncture works any better than does a placebo, and suspect that much of its theoretical basis (which I don't really know much about) is probably flawed. I don't doubt that it can have beneficial results, I just doubt that the results are as much as claimed and caused by the reasons that they give. I expect it's one of those situations where you just feel better because you think you're supposed to.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Jul 29, 2009  at  10:20 PM
Ooops, sorry I thought this was the Hoax museum site, not some hippy, wanky, New Age site...

I'm embarrassed to post on the same page as some of the previous comments, but...

What a load of mumbo-jumbo. I know, I've been there.
You'll have to wait for the gooey details but it aint nice. 🙄
Posted by Joel B1  in  Hobart, Tasmania  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  02:15 AM
The thing is, most of us here are aware of qi/ki/chi and what it means. It's not a matter of us not understanding what's written, it's a matter of what's written as being unscientific garbage.

Plus, "In the "liver wood overacting spleen earth", explain it in detail."... um, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's not even a proper English sentence.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  09:59 AM
I think I am becoming anti-anti-anti-science. I love evidence and rational thought but some of the most fervent critics of "alternative" medicine are just bullies. They are often right that the thing they are critiquing fails external evidence checks but there are often very small communities of "believers" and users (again they should be criticized but they should be fairer and more "scientific" in their criticism.

There is also a lot of hypocrisy involved in criticizing the periphery when the "core" (particularly in medicine which is sadly not very "scientific") has so many problems. If these "alternative bullies" paid half as much scorn and attention to the unhelpful and harmful uses of therapies and drugs in "traditional" medicine I might have more respect for them.
Posted by floormaster squeeze  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  12:12 PM
I realy do not understand what is the problem with the acupuncture exam... This post shows only closed mindidness I long suspected of the visitors to the hoaxs museum. There are many many people who have been cured by acupuncture and other "alternative" metods of medicine. Some of them have been writen off by the regular doctors.
Posted by Stalin  on  Fri Jul 31, 2009  at  05:54 PM
Babelfish strikes again
Posted by MangaBottle  on  Sun Aug 02, 2009  at  04:56 PM
Hippy new age goobedly theoretical? It's passed double blind test for certain things many times and theoretical or not that is the standard for good medicine, realisticall.

The mistake is that they're not making it look white enough. Get rid of all the hanzi in acupuncture clinics and replace the Chinese sounding stuff with Greek and Latin names (qi could be animus or navitas, for example) and it would be in every hospital and family clinic within a year.

That's what they did with native medical treatments. You'd be surprised how much of what you get from a pharmacy and labelled with pseudo-Latin was originally called something else in Ojibwa or whatever. Innoculation comes from the Turks but if your doctor put on a turban and called it something ethic sounding no one would believe it was scientific.
Posted by caio  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  05:48 PM
liver wood overreaction spleen earth == jecuriolegnum lienoterrial superirrita.

Not good latin but genuine medical terms are usually a ridiculous combination of bad/fake latin and bad/fake greek.

If a test asked what jecuriolegnum lienoterrial superirrita was in reference to something that had passed double blind tests would you all be screaming "new age"? I doubt it. "new age" is a code word for the appropriate racial slur, in this case 'chink'. Just say "chink" man don't fancy it up.
Posted by caio  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  06:36 PM
Caio, it's not as simple as that; Western medicine does use some scientific rigor, no matter how poor the latin.

And because it does, it doesn't deny medical treatement for certain disease to people born in the wrnog year because they are certain to die of said disease the way Chinese medicine does on a regular basis ( Look up lung disease epidemimiology for Chinese peopel boen in a year enidng in 1 or 0 CE. )
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  01:59 AM
I don't see any problem here. I am not a student of acupuncture, so I don't know if any of the answers are correct, but the question is completely legitimate. And there is nothing to say that the school or tests have to be scientific. We are talking about more meta-physical things here.
Posted by Ben L  on  Fri Aug 14, 2009  at  02:42 PM
Its really hard to buy into "alternative" medicinal practices such as herbalism ,acupuncture, all the "detoxifications" when there is so little if any evidence to support the use of these techniques. What positive evidence you might find is generally traceable back to some organization who is trying to make a buck off these phony acts of medicine.

I'm all about being open minded about treating your body right - im in school to be a dietitian because I think a vast majority of what ails people today is related to their diets more than anything. Proper eating / exercise = fat less disease and illness. Sticking needles in your body might provide some placebo effect to simple minded followers, but i have yet to ever see any credible evidence that it is truly effective, and I have to beleive that if there was , it would be shoved in our face all day long by practitioners of such things.
Posted by davesworkout  on  Tue Aug 18, 2009  at  08:02 PM
That phrase at the end is simply a poor translation: generally speaking, Chinese medicine associates certain "elements" with the vital organs of the body and talks about the balance of those energies. I'm not saying that it's legitimate science, but it's certainly not okay to just dismiss it as "not being in English" or "not making sense".
Posted by JustASec  on  Thu Aug 27, 2009  at  04:56 PM
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