Dec 262011

Wechsler et al randomized and crossed-over 39 subjects with stable asthma to sequentially receive treatment with 1) albuterol; 2) fake albuterol; 3) fake acupuncture, or 4) nothing. Although albuterol improved stable asthmatic subjects' FEV1 by 20%, they perceived equal improvement in subjective symptoms when given a sham inhaler or a sham acupuncture treatment. (These also improved FEV1 by 7%!) The one thing these 39 subjects did not like was the part where they got no intervention ... although even that improved symptoms by 21%. NEJM 2011;365:119-126.

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People with asthma perceive snake oil to work as well as albuterol (RCT, NEJM)