Snapshots

Acupuncture, Infertility, and Horrible Reporting

*Mexikaresistance.con note: Don't support quack medicine and crank science! No matter how "traditional" they may claim to be!
An article (and associated news video clip) from ClickOn in Detroit is titled “Alternative treatment helps Michigan doctor beat infertility.” This is a misleading title, and the report is an example of poor science reporting. Was She Infertile?

The patient in question was a 33-year-old family practice doctor who believed she was infertile. By definition, infertility is failure to conceive after a year of regular intercourse without contraception. She didn’t meet that definition. She only tried for 6 months before seeing a doctor, and then for 2 more months (with some kind of unspecified medicine) and then she consulted a reproductive endocrinologist who apparently told her she was infertile because of a high FSH level. Then she “did her own research” and supposedly found that acupuncture was a key part of infertility treatment. So she sought infertility treatment from an acupuncturist.

What Do FSH Levels Mean?

High FSH can indicate menopause or poor ovarian responsiveness. In the treatment of infertility with in vitro fertilization (IVF), FSH level measured on day 3 of the menstrual cycle is predictive of fertility within that IVF cycle. But for diagnosing infertility, one measurement is not enough to base predictions on. Lab values vary, and FSH levels are known to fluctuate with factors like stress and illness.

It sounds like she was told she was infertile based on one FSH test; if so, that was an unwarranted diagnosis. Then, during acupuncture treatment, the FSH levels rose. Did they rise because of the acupuncture? Did they rise for other reasons like a reduction in stress? Would they have risen anyway without any treatment at all? We don’t know. She attributes it to the acupuncture, but she may be committing the post hoc ergo propter hocfallacy (“correlation is not causation”).

FULL ARTICLE: Science-Based Medicine » Acupuncture, Infertility, and Horrible Reporting.

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