Skip to content

Advertisement

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

What do you think about BMC? Take part in

Open Access
Open Peer Review

This article has Open Peer Review reports available.

How does Open Peer Review work?

The quality of reporting of randomized controlled trials of electroacupuncture for stroke

  • Jing-jing Wei1,
  • Wen-ting Yang1,
  • Su-bing Yin1,
  • Chen Wang1,
  • Yan Wang1 and
  • Guo-qing Zheng1Email author
BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201616:512

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-016-1497-y

Received: 10 December 2015

Accepted: 6 December 2016

Published: 9 December 2016

Abstract

Background

Electroacupuncture (EA), as an extension technique of acupuncture based on traditional acupuncture combined with modern electrotherapy, is commonly used for stroke in clinical treatment and researches. However, there is still a lack of enough evidence to recommend the routine use of EA for stroke. This study is aimed at evaluating the quality of reporting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on EA for stroke.

Methods

RCTs on EA for stroke were evaluated by using CONSORT guidelines and STRICTA guidelines. Microsoft Excel 2010 and the R software were used for descriptive statistics analyses.

Results

Seventy studies involving 5468 stroke patients were identified. The CONSORT scores ranged from 16.2 to 67.6% and STRICTA scores from 29.4 to 82.4%. The central items in CONSORT as eligibility criterion, sample size calculation, primary outcome, method of randomization sequence generation, allocation concealment, implementation of randomization, description of blinding, and detailed statistical methods were reported in 100, 6, 68, 37, 14, 10, 16, and 97% of trials, respectively. The reporting of items in STRICTA as acupuncture rationale was 1a (91%), 1b (86%) and 1c 0%; needling details 2a (33%), 2b (97%), 2c (29%), 2d (64%), 2e (100%), 2f (55%) and 2 g (66%); treatment regimen 3a (69%) and 3b (100%); other components of treatment 4a (86%) and 4b (13%); practitioner background item 5 (16%); control intervention(s) 6a (93%) and 6b (10%).

Conclusions

The quality of reporting of RCTs on EA for stroke was generally moderate. The reporting quality needs further improvement.

Keywords

ElectroacupunctureStrokeRandomized controlled trialMethodology

Background

Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in both developed and developing countries worldwide. Thrombolysis with intravenous recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator therapy remains the only proven effective pharmacological treatment for selected acute ischemic stroke patients within a relatively short therapeutic time window of 3 to 4.5 h after the onset of stroke symptoms [1]. Furthermore, the major risk of intravenous thrombolysis treatment also remains the symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, which is a devastating complication with high mortality. What’s more, the enormous morbidities of ischemic stroke result from the interplay between the resulting neurological impairment, the emotional and social consequences of that impairment, and the high risk for recurrence [2]. Owing to the significant health risk of stroke and the limitations of currently available conventional therapies, unprecedented attention has been attached to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) worldwide due to its potential efficacy on stroke.

Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used CAM therapies for stroke around the world. Up to now, at least 24 systematic reviews have been published, the available evidence suggests that acupuncture is effective for improving some aspects of poststroke neurological impairment and dysfunction, although there was insufficient evidence for stroke in preventing poststroke death [3]. Especially, electroacupuncture (EA) is an extension technique of acupuncture based on traditional acupuncture combined with modern electrotherapy [4]. There are many advantages of EA such as the readily quantifiable parameters for stimulation as frequency, intensity and duration, and the therapeutic benefit of EA is commonly identified to be equivalent to manual acupuncture [5]. In some situations, EA has been shown to be more effective than manual acupuncture, particularly when strong, continued stimulation was required, as when treating stroke [6]. Thus, EA is commonly used in current clinic and research. A systematic review from our team has indicated that the available evidence potentially supported the use of EA for acute ischemic stroke [4]. However, there is still a lack of enough evidence to recommend the routine use of EA for stroke.

Both systematic reviews of high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and RCT itself, especially those with double-blind placebo controls, are commonly regarded the highest level of evidence in judging the treatment efficacy and safety of interventions. The credibility of the evidence in support of a treatment approach depends on the quality of RCTs. However, a large body of evidence indicated that the quality of reporting of RCTs remains sub-optimal [7]. Researchers have accumulated and suggested that the RCTs which were of poor methodological quality tend to exaggerate the treatment effects and result in misleading in health care at all levels [8]. So far, two studies have already been conducted to evaluate the quality of reporting of RCTs on acupuncture for stroke. In 2006, one study [9] demonstrated that the quality of reporting of 74 RCTs on acupuncture for acute stroke was generally poor. In 2014, another study [10] indicated that the quality of reporting of only 15 RCTs on acupuncture for subacute and chronic stroke was improved but some central items were still insufficiently or inadequately reported in most of the studies. However, no study has yet been conducted to assess the quality of reporting RCTs on EA for stroke. Thus, this study aimed at evaluating the quality of reporting of RCTs on EA for stroke according to the consolidated standards of reporting trials (CONSORT) statement [11] and the standards for reporting interventions in clinical trials of acupuncture (STRICTA) statement [12].

Methods

Information sources and search

Eight English and Chinese databases were electronically searched from their inceptions to June 2014. They are Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, PubMed, EMBASE, AMED, China National Knowledge Infrastructure(CNKI), VIP Journals Database, Wanfang Database and Chinese Biomedical Database(CBM). The search terms were listed as follows: “electroacupuncture AND (stroke OR apoplexy OR cerebrovascular accident OR cerebrovascular attack OR cerebral infarction OR intracerebral hemorrhage OR cerebral vascular disease)”. Chinese databases were also searched using the above corresponding search terms in Chinese.

Eligibility criteria

All RCTs on EA as monotherapy or adjunct therapy for stroke compared with at least one control group as no treatment, sham/placebo EA or conventional treatment, regardless of publication status or language, were selected. The diagnostic criteria of stroke were clinically in accordance with the World Health Organization definition [13]. The diagnosis of stroke was confirmed by CT and/or MRI.

Exclusion criteria

Studies concerning EA therapy for paresthesia, post-strokedepression, bulbar paralysis and other non-functional dysfunction were excluded. Additional exclusion criteria were animal experiment, case report, review, single-arm study, retrospective study and historical control study, duplicated publications, and quasi-randomized trial. Crossover and cluster RCTs were excluded because of the employment of the CONSORT guidelines for parallel RCTs. Searches were limited to English and Chinese publications.

Data extraction

Two investigators underwent training in studying every item and multiple subitems listed in CONSORT2010 and STRICTA2010 to ensure the proper understanding of each standard. Each report was reviewed by two independent investigators. They extracted information according to CONSORT2010 and STRICTA2010 checklists. “1”or “0” was scored by the two authors independently to represent whether the RCT had reported the relevant item/subitem or not. “0” indicates no description of the corresponding item/subitem and “1” indicates that the author had mentioned the description of the item/subitem in the report. Investigators resolved discrepancies by consensus or consultations during the data-extraction process.

Data analyses

Microsoft Excel 2010 and R software (Version 3.1.1) were used for descriptive statistics analyses. The overall number of RCTs which corresponded with each item was counted. Subsequently results were represented as the percentage, and 95% confidence interval (CI) of each overall rate was calculated. We also classified the included studies into two groups according to which language they were published in Chinese or English. Proportions of reported items in two groups were compared using independent sample Student’s t-test. Statistical calculations were performed by using SPSS (version 17.0). Level of significance was set at P < 0.05.

Results

Study selection

A total of 2662 potentially relevant articles were identified. By reviewing titles and abstracts, 2168 papers were excluded for at least one of following reasons: (1) duplicate publication, (2) animal study, (3) not clinical trial, and (4) case report. After examining the remaining 494 literatures through reading the full text, we removed 424 papers. Of which, 61 were non-randomized controlled trials, 11 were not focusing on functional rehabilitation or with other indicators, 41 were about other diseases or using an ambiguous diagnostic criteria, 17 duplicate publications, and 294 studies with other reasons. Eventually, 70 eligible RCT studies [1483] were selected for the final analysis (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1

Flow diagram for the selection of articles for inclusion in the study

Study characteristics

Seventy studies (one article was designed with 2 comparisons) involving 5468 stroke patients were identified. For the 5468 patients, there were 2420 male and 1739 female, and with the ages ranging from 24 to 89 years old. However, the gender and age of the remaining 1309 participants could not be obtained from the primary data. Sample sizes ranged from 6 to 160 participants. In 40 studies EA was used for cerebral infarction, while in the other 30 studies EA was used for both cerebral infarction and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Seventeen studies were published in English, and the other 53 studies were published in Chinese. Six studies were online Master’s thesis and not formally published [17, 40, 64, 65, 81, 82]. For the control group, WCTs were used in 62 studies and sham EA plus WCTs in 8 studies. The duration of treatment varied from 10 days to 12 weeks. Six studies conducted follow-up assessment with duration from 6 weeks to 12 months. Four studies conducted sample size calculation [20, 23, 34, 63]. Twenty-one studies reported adverse effects. In 11 studies, the discripion of the professional acupuncturists who participated in the studies was very simple and without detailed background. Nine studies reported informed consent from patients [20, 23, 24, 27, 33, 34, 64, 65, 71]. Only 6 study [27, 50, 62, 64, 65, 74] reported ethical approval. Key data are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1

The characteristics of the included 70 studies

Included Trials

Publicati-on language

Type of stroke

Study designs

Sample size calculation

No. of Participants (male/female); age(y)

Course of disease

Interventions(n)Drug/dosage

Course of treatment

Trial

Control

Trial

Control

Cao 2012 [14]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40(22/18); 57.5 ± 9.8

40(24/16); 57.2 ± 9.5

<3d

electro-scalp-body-Ac

WCTs* (general supportive care, antiplatelet agents, neuroprotective agents, treatment of acute complications)

4w

Chen 2001 [15]

English

infarction

RCT

No

21(14/7); Mean 64.8

16(10/6); Mean 66.1

<3d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*(specialized care)

4w

Chen 2010 [16]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40 (27/13); Mean 54.4

38(28/10); Mean 55.4

≤7d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, neuroprotective agents)

4w

Chen C L (Unpublished Master’s thesis, 2008) [17]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

32(20/12); 50–75

32(18/14); 50–75

<6 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

Ac + WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Dong 2011 [18]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

75(45/30); Mean 67

75(48/27); Mean 65

<2w

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (, stroke rehabilitation)

10d

Er 2010 [19]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

30(16/14); Mean 54.2

30(18/12); Mean 56.1

1 m–3 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

6w

Fu 2010 [20]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

80(41/39); Mean 62.8

80(43/37); Mean 63.3

<1 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.1 g po qd, treatment of acute complications, stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Gao 2012 [21]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

82(45/37); Mean 62.4

78(42/36); Mean 62.7

3–74d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.1 g po qd,)

4w

Gong 2008 [22]

Chinese

infarction; ICH

RCT

No

32 (15/17); Mean 52

31(16/15); Mean 51.4

Mean 36–38d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*(stroke rehabilitation)

6w

Gosman-Hedstrom 1998 [23]

English

infarction

RCT

No

37(20/17); Mean 76.1

33(9/24); Mean 76.9

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*(stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Gosman-Hedstrom 1998 [23]

English

infarction

RCT

No

37(20/17); Mean 76.1

34(17/17); Mean 79

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

Sham Ac + WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

10w

Guo 2009 [24]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

30(17/13); Mean 56.3

30(21/9); Mean 55.6

<7d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.3 g po qd, a week later recuced to 0.1 g po qd, stroke rehabilitation)

14d

Hopwood 2008 [25]

English

Infarction; ICH

RCT

No

57(19/38); Mean 70.5

48(26/22); Mean 74.4

4–10d

electro-scalp-body-Ac

Sham Ac

4w

Hsing 2012 [26]

English

infarction

RCT

No

35; Mean 50

27; Mean 52

>18 m

electro-scalp-Ac

Sham Ac

5w

Hsieh 2007 [27]

English

infarction

RCT

No

30(12/18); Mean 68.8

33(20/13); Mean 70.7

<2w

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Hu 1993 [28]

English

infarction

RCT

No

15(15/0); 63.6 ± 6.7

15(13/2); 62.8 ± 8.0

<36 h

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Huang 2008 [29]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40(21/19); Mean 63.6

40(20/20); Mean 59.9

14–90d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* + ENS

4w

Huang 2011 [30]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

35(22/13); Mean 63.2

35(19/16); Mean 65.3

Mean 7.3–8.1d

electro-scalp-body-Ac

Ac

6w

Huang 2012 [31]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

32(12/20) 66.59 ± 10.482;

26(16/10) 68.92 ± 10.53

<6d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care)

4w

Jahansson 1993 [32]

English

infarction

RCT

No

38; Mean 76

40; Mean 75

<10d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

10w

Jahansson 2001 [33]

English

infarction

RCT

Yes

48(29/19); Mean 76

51(25/26); Mean 76

<10d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

sham Ac + WCTs* (antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, stroke rehabilitation)

10w

Jin 1999 [34]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

60; Mean 68

60; Mean 68

<1 m

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (specialized care)

6w

Jiu 2008 [35]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

40(23/17); Mean 62.7

40(22/18); Mean 63

<2w

Electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

2 m

Lei2013 [36]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

40(19/21); 48-61

40(25/15); 43–64

4–31 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Li 2006 [37]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

52(34/18); 66.8 ± 4.7

50(35/15); 67.1 ± 3.9

<1 m

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care)

3w

Li 2011 [38]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

30(14/16) Mean 54.4

30(13/17) Mean 55.4

<1 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (treatment of acute complications, stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Li X Z (unpublished Master’s thesis, 2005) [39]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

35(18/17); Mean 61.5

35(20/15); Mean 59.7

<3d

electro-scalp-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, anticoagulantslow molecular heparin, treatment of acute complications)

10d

Liu 2007 [40]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

38(25/13); Mean 59.4

37(14/23); Mean 56.4

<2w

Electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (specialized care, stroke rehabilitation)

3w

Liu 2010 [41]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

50(32/18); Mean 61

50(35/15); Mean 63

2d–6 m

electro-scalp-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

1 m

Long 2004 [42]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

43(30/13); Mean 60

41(27/14); Mean 62

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*

7w

Luo 2012 [43]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

10(5/5); Mean 60.5

9(5/4); Mean 62.3

2w–1 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

6w

Lv 2003 [44]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

29; 52–79

26; 52–79

<5d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, volume expansion and vasodilators, neuroprotective agents, treatment of acute complications)

1 m

Naeser 1992 [45]

English

infarction

RCT

No

10

6

1–3 m

electro-scalp-body-Ac

Sham Ac

4w

Pei2001 [46]

English

infarction

RCT

No

43(28/15); Mean 71.6

43(24/19); Mean 69.3

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*

4w

Peng 2007 [47]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40; Mean 54

40; Mean 54

≤7d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, stroke rehabilitation)

12w

Peng 2009 [48]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

30; 18–70

30; 18–70

Mean 2–3 m

electro-scalp-body-Ac

Ac

45d

Qi 2012 [49]

Chinese

Cerebral vascular disease

RCT

No

39(20/19); 60.12 ± 6.34

39(19/20); 60.23 ± 6.45

<12 m

electro–du-meridian-Ac

manual-body-Ac

20d

Sallstrom 1996 [50]

English

infarction ICH

RCT

No

26; Median 57

23; Median 58

15–71d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

6w

Sang 2011 [51]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40; 38–75

40; 38–75

<7d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (neuroprotective agents cerebrolysin vial 30 ml ivgtt qd, treatment of acute complications)

14d

Schaechter2007 [52]

English

infarction

RCT

No

4(3/1); 28–80

4

1–10.2y

electro-scalp-body-Ac

Sham Ac

10w

Schuler 2005 [53]

English

infarction

RCT

No

41; Mean 77.5

40; Mean 78.7

3–35d

scalp-body-Ac

Sham Ac

4w

Si 1998 [54]

English

infarction

RCT

No

20(15/5); 68 ± 10

22(18/4); 67 ± 8

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (specialized care)

7d

Su 2002 [55]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

43(27/16); 58 ± 4

40(23/17); 57 ± 5

<12 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, stroke rehabilitation)

20-30d

Sun 2005 [56]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40(27/13)

43(29/14)

<12 h

electro-scalp-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (specialized care)

12d

Sun 2012 [57]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

35(23/12); Mean 57.5

35(17/18); Mean 56

<3d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (specialized care)

14d

Wang 1998 [58]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

80; Mean 68

80; Mean 68

Mean 24d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*

20d

Wang 2001 [59]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

106; 35–80

54; 35–80;

<1y

Electro-body-Ac

Ac

6w

Wang 2003 [60]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

32; 46–77

32; 46–77

<14d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*

20d

Wang 2008 [61]

Chinese

ICH

RCT

No

45(30/15); Mean 62

45(29/16); Mean 63

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care)

4w

Wang 2009 [62]

Chinese

infarction

Quasi-RCT

No

65(33/32); Mean 72.2

50(26/24); Mean 70.1

≤3d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

ENS + WCTs* (antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.1 g po qd, stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Wang Q (unpublished Master’s thesis, 2009) [63]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

Yes

24(15/9); Mean 62.4

22(14/8) Mean 57.1

<2w

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*(general supportive care)

4w

Wang X W (unpublished Master’s thesis, 2011) [64]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

31(17/14) Mean 57.4

30(19/11) Mean 60.3

<3d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.1 g po qd, treatment of acute complications)

14d

Wayne 2005 [65]

English

infarction ICH

RCT

No

16(12/4); 38–89

17(12/5); 42–69

>6 m

electro-scalp-body-Ac

Sham Ac

10w

Wei 2008 [66]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

46(29/17); Mean 59.4

44(23/21); Mean 56.4

2–7d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, stroke rehabilitation)

5w

Wong 1999 [67]

English

infarction ICH

RCT

No

59(38/21); Mean 60.4

59(42/17); Mean 60.6

<14d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*

2w

Wu 2008 [68]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

30; 46–75

30; 46–75

>1 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

30d

Wu 2009 [69]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

29(16/13); Mean 56.7

29(17/12); Mean 58.5

<14d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.1 g po qd)

14d

Wu 2011 [70]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

30(18/12)

30(19/11)

>3w

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, stroke rehabilitation)

6w

WuXL 2008 [71]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

32(20/12); Mean 67.2

29(19/10); Mean 66.6

<7d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* + Ac

3 m

Xue 2007 [72]

Chinese

infarction; ICH

RCT

No

18(14/4); Mean 66.1

18(15/3); Mean 64.2

<2w

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (stroke rehabilitation)

4w

Yu 2005 [73]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

16(10/6); 40–76

14(8/6); 40–75

<3d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (vasodilators, neuroprotective agents)

2w

Yue 2012 [74]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

33(21/12); Mean 70.4

31(18/13); Mean 69.8

80-163d

electro-body-Ac

Ac

1 m

Zhang 1995 [75]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

40(23/17); Mean 65.8

40(22/18); Mean 68.7

<7d

electro-scalp-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (specialized care)

20d

Zhang 2006 [76]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

32(17/15); Mean 62.7

25(15/10); Mean 64.5

<6 m

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* + Ac

30d

Zhang 2008 [77]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

49(26/23) Mean 51.5

49(24/25) Mean 54.7

<2w

Electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, stroke rehabilitation)

2 m

Zhang 2009 [78]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

30(12/18); Mean 55.7

30(15/15); Mean 58.4

<3y

Electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs*(stroke rehabilitation)

1 m

Zhang 2013 [79]

Chinese

infarction

Quasi-RCT

No

45(27/18); Mean 65.5

45(30/15); Mean 63.2

<3d

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, neuroprotective agents)

4w

Zhang SS (unpublished Master’s thesis, 2009) [80]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

29(17/12); Mean 62.9

29(16/13); Mean 63.6

<10d

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, treatment of acute complications, stroke rehabilitation)

3w

Zhang X, (unpublished Master’s thesis, 2008) [81]

Chinese

infarction

RCT

No

60(33/27); 40–80

30(17/13); 40–80

<2w

electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, antiplatelet agents aspirin 0.1 g po qd, treatment of acute complications, stroke rehabilitation)

2w

Zhao 2005 [82]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

60(36/24); Mean 63.0

60(31/29); Mean 67.4

<2w

electro-scalp-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care, (treatment of acute complications, stroke rehabilitation)

1 m

Zhu 2012 [83]

Chinese

infarction ICH

RCT

No

40; 32–69

40; 32–69

<2w

Electro-body-Ac + WCTs#

WCTs* (general supportive care, specialized care)

1 m

Ac acupuncture, dday, ICH Intracerebral Hemorrhage, m month, RCT randomizedcontrolledtrial, SA scalp acupuncture, w week, WCTs western conventional treatments, y year. #: the same as the control group; WCT* refer to the combination of needed therapies of the following aspects: (1) General supportive care mainly include: A. airway, ventilatory support and supplemental oxygen, B. cardiac monitoring and treatment, C. temperature, D. blood pressure, E. blood sugar and F. nutrition; (2) Specialized care mainly include a variety of measures to improve cerebral blood circulation (such as antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, fibrinogen-depleting agents, volume expansion and vasodilators, except thrombolytic agents) and neuroprotective agents; (3) Treatment of acute complications mainly include: A. brain edema and elevated intracranial pressure, B. seizures, C. dysphagia, D. pneumonia, E.voiding dysfunction and urinary tract infections and F. deep vein thrombosis.(4) Stroke rehabilitation

Items reported according to CONSORT statement

The items reported from the 70 RCTs according to CONSORT statement are summarized in Table 2.
Table 2

The reporting number and percentage for each item of the CONSORT checklist of the included 70 studies

Section/Topic

Item No

Checklist item

n

% (n /70)

95%CI

 Title and abstract

1a

Identification as a randomized trial in the title

12

17

[9 to 28]

1b

Structured summary of trial design, methods, results, and conclusions (for specific guidance see CONSORT for abstracts)

54

77

[66 to 86]

 Introduction

  Background and objectives

2a

Scientific background and explanation of rationale

63

90

[80 to 96]

2b

Specific objectives or hypotheses

65

93

[84 to 98]

 Methods

  Trial design

3a

Description of trial design (such as parallel, factorial) including allocation ratio

58

83

[72 to 91]

3b

Important changes to methods after trial commencement (such as eligibility criteria), with reasons

0

0

[0 to 5]

  Participants

4a

Eligibility criteria for participants

70

100

[95 to 100]

4b

Settings and locations where the data were collected

58

83

[72 to 91]

  Interventions

5

The interventions for each group with sufficient details to allow replication, including how and when they were actually administered

70

100

[95 to 100]

  Outcomes

6a

Completely defined pre-specified primary and secondary outcome measures, including how and when they were assessed

68

97

[90 to 100]

6b

Any changes to trial outcomes after the trial commenced, with reasons

1

1

[0 to 8]

  Sample size

7a

How sample size was determined

4

6

[2 to 14]

7b

When applicable, explanation of any interim analyses and stopping guidelines

7

10

[4 to 20]

  Randomisation

     

  Sequence generation

8a

Method used to generate the random allocation sequence

26

37

[26 to 50]

8b

Type of randomization; details of any restriction (such as blocking and block size)

20

29

[18 to 41]

  Allocation concealment mechanism

9

Mechanism used to implement the random allocation sequence (such as sequentially numbered containers), describing any steps taken to conceal the sequence until interventions were assigned

10

14

[7 to 25]

  Implementation

10

Who generated the random allocation sequence, who enrolled participants, and who assigned participants to interventions

7

10

[4 to 20]

  Blinding

11a

If done, who was blinded after assignment to interventions (for example, participants, care providers, those assessing outcomes) and how

11

16

[8 to 27]

11b

If relevant, description of the similarity of interventions

6

9

[3 to 18]

  Statistical methods

12a

Statistical methods used to compare groups for primary and secondary outcomes

68

97

[90 to 100]

12b

Methods for additional analyses, such as subgroup analyses and adjusted analyses

0

0

[0 to 5]

 Results

  Participant flow (a diagram is strongly recommended)

13a

For each group, the numbers of participants who were randomly assigned, received intended treatment, and were analysed for the primary outcome

5

7

[2 to 16]

13b

For each group, losses and exclusions after randomization, together with reasons

15

21

[13 to 33]

  Recruitment

14a

Dates defining the periods of recruitment and follow-up

44

63

[50 to 74]

14b

Why the trial ended or was stopped

2

3

[0 to 10]

  Baseline data

15

A table showing baseline demographic and clinical characteristics for each group

23

33

[22 to 45]

  Baseline data

16

For each group, number of participants (denominator) included in each analysis and whether the analysis was by original assigned groups

57

81

[70 to 90]

  Outcomes and estimation

17a

For each primary and secondary outcome, results for each group, and the estimated effect size and its precision (such as 95% confidence interval)

2

3

[0 to 10]

17b

For binary outcomes, presentation of both absolute and relative effect sizes is recommended

0

0

[0 to 5]

  Ancillary analyses

18

Results of any other analyses performed, including subgroup analyses and adjusted analyses, distinguishing pre-specified from exploratory

1

1

[0 to 8]

  Harms

19

All important harms or unintended effects in each group (for specific guidance see CONSORT for harms)

21

30

[20 to 42]

 Discussion

  Limitations

20

Trial limitations, addressing sources of potential bias, imprecision, and, if relevant, multiplicity of analyses

10

14

[7 to 25]

21

Generalisability (external validity, applicability) of the trial findings

13

19

[10 to 30]

  Interpretation

22

Interpretation consistent with results, balancing benefits and harms, and considering other relevant evidence

22

31

[21 to 44]

 Other information

  Registration

23

Registration number and name of trial registry

0

0

[0 to 5]

  Protocol

24

Where the full trial protocol can be accessed, if available

1

1

[0 to 8]

  Funding

25

Sources of funding and other support (such as supply of drugs), role of funders

14

20

[11 to 31]

  Total mean scorea

  

13.0 ± 4.0

 

aMean ± SD

Title and abstract

Twelve (18%) trials can be identified as random trials after reviewing the title (1a), among which 8 were in English. Fifty-four (77%) articles had abstracts that were comprised of objective, methods, results and conclusions (1b).

Introduction

Of the included studies, 90% provided the detailed description of backgrounds (2a). The proportion of studies with objectives (2b) was 93%.

Methods

Only 2 CONSORT items were described in all the included articles. One was the eligibility criterion for participants (4a) and the other was the interventions for each group with sufficient details to allow replication, including how and when they were actually administered (5). However, the proportion on the description of the patient’s allocation ratio was 58% (3a). None of the articles (0%) described the important changes after the beginning of the trial because of the recruitment (3b). Fifty-eight reports (83%) described the settings and locations where the data were collected (4b). The proportion on the description of definition of primary/secondary outcomes was 68% (6a). Four (6%) reports mentioned the method of how to determine the sample size (7a). Items on incomplete reporting were 1% (subitem 6b) and 10% (subitem 7b).

Randomization

Twenty studies (29%) mentioned the type of randomization as the simple random method (8b). However, the proportion of the description on sequence generation was 37% (8a), which used computer or random number table. Ten articles (14%) described the hidden mechanism by the use of opaque envelopes aiming to implement the allocation concealment (9). The detailed implementation was given in 7 articles (10%) (10). A total of 11 articles (16%) provided the description of blinding (11a), among which one was double blind (participants and evaluators) and the others were single-blind assessment. Sixty-eight studies (97%) provided the description of detailed statistical methods (12a), but no one provided methods for additional analyses (12b).

Result and discussion

Nine studies (13%) described the treatment progress of participants by a diagram (13a). Fifteen (21%) of these articles mentioned the number of the losses and exclusions after randomization with explanations (13b). Forty-four studies (63%) mentioned the periods of recruitment, but only 6 studies described the follow-up duration (14a). Two articles had reported a temporal interruption of the therapy because of the drop out of participants with personal reasons. Thirty-four reports (49%) offered the description of baseline data that included underlying disease or basic demographic or clinical characteristics, among which 23 studies (33%) represented the data in the form of a table (15). Fifty-seven studies (81%) described the statistics methods, including the use of intention-to-treat analysis (16). Almost all outcomes of the included reports were presented as the ratio of efficiency or means ± SD. Two papers (3%) applied 95% CI to describe the estimated value of the effect and its precision (17a). No study reported binary outcomes (17b). One study provided a kind of secondary analyses as “error type I” in statistics (18). In discussion section, 21 papers (30%) reported the occurrence of adverse events, such as acupuncture syncope, infection of puncture site and death (19). The proportions of papers reporting limitation (20), generalisability (21) and interpretation (22) were 14, 19, and 31%, respectively.

Other information: None of the papers reported the registration (23). Only 1 report (1%) gave the relevant electronic links for the obtainment of protocol (24). The proportion of paper with reporting of funding (25) was 420%.

Items reported according to STRICTA statement

The items reported from the 70 RCTs according to STRICTA statement are summarized in Table 3.
Table 3

The reporting number and percentage for each item of the STRICTA checklist of the included 70 studies

Item

Detail

Total N = 70

Chinese N = 54

English N = 16

Chinese vs. English (P-value for difference)

n

%(n /70)

95% CI

n

%(n /54)

95% CI

n

%(n /16)

95% CI

1. Acupuncturerationale (Explanations and examples)

1a) Style of acupuncture (e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Japanese, Korean, Western medical, Five Element, ear acupuncture, etc.)

64

91

[82 to 97]

50

93

[82 to 98]

14

88

[62 to 98]

0.530

1b) Reasoning for treatment provided, based on historical context, literature sources, and/or consensus methods, with references where appropriate

60

86

[75 to 93]

50

93

[82 to 98]

10

63

[35 to 85]

0.033

1c) Extent to which treatment was varied

0

0

[0 to 5]

0

0

[0 to 7]

0

0

[0 to 21]

_

2. Details of needling (Explanations and examples)

2a) Number of needle insertions per subject per session (mean and range where relevant)

25

36

[25 to 48]

18

33

[21 to 47]

7

44

[20 to 70]

0.452

2b) Names (or location if no standard name) of points used (uni/bilateral)

68

97

[9 to 10]

52

96

[87 to 100]

16

100

[79 to 100]

0.442

2c) Depth of insertion, based on a specified unit of measurement, or on a particular tissue level

20

29

[18 to 41]

18

33

[21 to 47]

2

12

[2 to 38]

0.060

2d) Response sought (e.g. de qi or muscle twitch response)

46

66

[53 to 77]

39

72

[58 to 84]

7

44

[20 to 70]

0.035

2e) Needle stimulation (e.g. manual, electrical)

70

100

[95 to 100]

54

100

[93 to 100]

16

100

[79 to 100]

_

2f) Needle retention time

40

57

[45 to 69]

32

59

[45 to 72]

8

50

[25 to 75]

0.518

2g) Needle type (diameter, length, and manufacturer or material)

46

66

[53 to 77]

38

70

[56 to 82]

8

50

[25 to 75]

0.222

3. Treatmentregimen (Explanations and examples)

3a) Number of treatment sessions

48

69

[56 to 79]

38

70

[56 to 82]

10

63

[35 to 85]

0.558

3b) Frequency and duration of treatment sessions

70

100

[95 to 100]

54

100

[93 to 100]

16

100

[79 to 100]

_

4. Othercomponents of treatment (Explanations and examples)

4a) Details of other interventions administered to the acupuncture group (e.g. moxibustion, cupping, herbs, exercises, lifestyle advice)

60

86

[75 to 93]

49

91

[80 to 97]

11

69

[41 to 89]

0.098

4b) Setting and context of treatment, including instructions to practitioners, and information and explanations to patients

9

13

[6 to 23]

4

7

[2 to 18]

5

31

[11 to 59]

0.073

5. Practitioner background (Explanations and examples)

5) Description of participating acupuncturists (qualification or professional affiliation, years in acupuncture practice, other relevant experience)

11

16

[8 to 26]

3

6

[1 to 15]

8

50

[25 to 75]

0.004

6. Control or comparator interventions (Explanations and examples)

6a) Rationale for the control or comparator in the context of the research question, with sources that justify this choice

7

10

[4 to 20]

4

7

[2 to 18]

3

19

[4 to 46]

0.302

6b) Precise description of the control or comparator. If sham acupuncture or any other type of acupuncture-like control is used, provide details as for Items 1 to 3 above.

65

93

[84 to 98]

52

96

[87 to 100]

13

81

[54 to 96]

0.166

Total mean scorea

 

10.1 ± 1.9

10.3 ± 1.8

9.6 ± 2.1

0.235

aMean ± SD

Acupuncture rationale

Apart from several English articles, majority of the other included articles (91%) used the style of acupuncture from Traditional Chinese Medicine (1a). Eighty-six percent of the reports provided reasons for treatment based on historical context, literature sources, citing references where appropriate, and so on (1b). None of the studies had mentioned any alteration of the treatment after the beginning of the experiments (1c).

Needling details

Various intervention methods were used in EA treatment group, and were mainly as follows: EA plus conventional theory, EA plus acupoint injection, scalp EA plus acupoint injection, and EA plus internal carotid injection. All the 70 included reports provided the type of needle stimulation, including electrical acupuncture or electrical acupuncture combined with manual acupuncture (2e). Ninety seven percent of articles listed the names (or location if no standard name) of acupoints used at the uni/bilateral sides (2b); however, only 33% articles mentioned the number of needles, 33% (2a). Twenty nine percent of studies mentioned the depth of needle insertion (2c). The other STRICTA items on needling details were response elicited (de qi or muscle twitch response), 64% (2d), needle retention time, 55% (2f) and needle type, 66% (2 g).

Treatment regimen

All the reports mentioned the frequency and duration of treatment sessions (3b), whereas 69% articles provided the number of treatment sessions (3a).

Cointerventions

One item, details of other interventions, was mentioned in more than half of the reports, 86% (4a). Nine reports (13%) described some relevant information and explanations to patients, including informed consent (4b).

Practitioner background

Eleven articles (16%) provided vague and unspecific description on the background of acupuncturist which included expertise, duration of training and length of clinical experience (5). In the 11 articles, four mentioned that the acupuncturists were professionals, and the others mentioned the contents as expertise or duration of specific training.

Control intervention(s)

A total of 93% trials reported a precise description of the control or comparator (6b). Furthermore, 8 studies used sham EA as control with providing further details of items 1 to 3 in STRICTA. Ten percent of studies provided the quoted data to elucidate the rationality of contrasting and comparing other similar experiments (6a).

Comparison of reporting quality between Chinese and English studies

The total mean score in CONSORT items failed to achieve significant differences between English studies and Chinese studies (English vs. Chinese: 15.2 ± 4.3 vs. 12.3 ± 3.6, p = 0.05), Table 4. However, there is statistically significant improvement in three items published in English vs. in Chinese as follows: (1a) title (56% vs.6%, p = 0.01), (11a) blinding (44% vs. 7%, p = 0.014), (13b) losses and exclusions (56% vs. 11%, p = 0.004). As for the other items, they all showed no statistical significant differences, Table 4.
Table 4

Comparison of reporting quality between Chinese and English studies (CONSORT)

CONSORT item

Chinese N = 54

English N = 16

Chinese vs. English (P-value for difference)

n

%(n/54)

95%CI

n

%(n/16)

95%CI

 Title

3

6c

[1 to 15]

9

56

[30 to 80]

0.01

 Methods

  Trail design

48

89

[77 to 96]

10

63

[35 to 85]

0.061

  Eligibility criteria

54

100

[93 to 100]

16

100

[79 to 100]

_

  Interventions

54

100

[93 to 100]

16

100

[79 to 100]

_

  Primary and secondary outcome

52

96

[87 to 100]

16

100

[79 to 100]

0.442

  Sample size

3

6

[1 to 15]

1

6

[0 to 30]

0.918

  Generation of random sequence

22

41

[28 to 55]

4

25

[7 to 52]

0.239

  Allocation concealment

6

11

[4 to 23]

4

25

[7 to 52]

0.26

  Blinding

4

7

[2 to 18]

7

44

[20 to 70]

0.014

  Statistical methods

53

98

[90 to 100]

15

94

[70 to 100]

0.361

 Results

  Losses and exclusions

6

11

[4 to 23]

9

56

[30 to 80]

0.004

  Recruitment

38

70

[56 to 82]

6

38

[15 to 65]

0.017

  Numbers analysed

47

87

[75 to 95]

10

63

[35 to 85]

0.081

  Harms

14

26

[15 to 40]

7

44

[20 to 70]

0.177

  Limitations

4

7

[2 to 18]

6

38

[15 to 65]

0.33

Total mean scorea

15.2 ± 4.3

12.3 ± 3.6

0.05

aMean ± SD

There are no differences in proportions of items in STRICTA comparing studies in Chinese with that in English (Chinese vs. English: 10.3 ± 1.8 vs. 9.6 ± 2.1, p = 0.235), Table 3. Studies in Chinese have statistically siginificant improvement in the item (1b) reasoning for treatment provided (93% vs. 63%, p = 0.033) and (2d) response sought (72% vs. 44%, p = 0.035) compared with studies in English, whereas studies in English in the item (5) practitioner background (6% vs. 50%, 0.004) showed significant improvement compared with studies in Chinese, Table 3.

Discussion

A wealth of evidence indicated the very inadequate reporting of clinical researches. For example, information on the method of random sequence generation, primary outcome, sample size calculation, randomization stated in title, allocation concealment, and adequate blinding was reported in 34, 53, 45, 33, 25, and 18% of 616 reports indexed in PubMed in 2006, respectively [84]. Especially, in RCTs of traditional Chinese medicine that include herbal medicine, acupuncture and other no medication therapies, reporting of the key methods used for adequate randomization methods, adequate allocation concealment, adequate blinding, both adequate randomization methods and allocation concealment used, and all three used was only 12, 7, 19, 4, and 3% of 2580 reports, respectively [8]. Thus, several guidelines have been recommended to help incomplete and inaccurate reporting. The CONSORT statement [11] is an evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials to alleviate the problems arising from inadequate reporting of RCTs. It offers a standard way for authors to prepare reports of trial findings, facilitating their complete and transparent reporting, and aiding their critical appraisal and interpretation. The 2010 version of STRICTA statement [12], an official extension to the CONSORT statement, is the standards for reporting interventions in clinical trials of acupuncture to facilitate transparency in published reports, enabling a better understanding and interpretation of results, aiding their critical appraisal, and providing detail that is necessary for replication.

In the present study, the quality of reporting of 70 RCTs on EA for stroke was generally moderate. The CONSORT scores achieved by the included studies ranged from 4.7 to 91.5% according to seven subdomains, and the STRICTA scores across six subdomains ranged from 16 to 84.5%. The central items in CONSORT of eligibility criterion, sample size calculation, primary outcome, method of randomization sequence generation, allocation concealment, implementation of randomization, description of blinding, and detailed statistical methods are reported in 100, 3, 68, 37, 14, 10, 16, and 97% of 70 reports, respectively. The reporting of detail items in STRICTA of acupuncture rationale is 1a (91%), 1b (86%) and 1c 0%; of needling details is 2a (33%), 2b (97%), 2c (29%), 2d (64%), 2e (100%), 2f (55%) and 2 g (66%); of treatment regimen is 3a (69%) and 3b (100%); of other components of treatment is 4a (86%) and 4b (13%); of practitioner background is item 5 (16%); of control intervention(s) is 6a (93%) and 6b (10%). Based on the results of present study, several key items need further improvement. First, a priori sample size calculation can reduce the risk of an underpowered (false-negative) result. However, in the present study sample size calculation was reported in only 3% of all the included trials. In fact, a survey of 215 studies published in 2005 and 2006 in six general medical journals with high impact factors revealed that only 34% of 73 studies adequately described sample size calculations [85]. If the trials were not conducted with pre-trial estimation of sample size, there will be a lack of statistical power to ensure appropriate estimation of the treatment effect [86]. Thus, we suggest that an effort should be made to increase transparency in sample size calculation. Second, successful randomisation reduces selection bias at trial entry, which depends on two hinge steps-adequate sequence generation and allocation concealment, and is the crucial component of high quality RCTs [87]. In the present study method of randomization sequence generation, allocation concealment, and implementation of randomization is reported in only 37, 14, and 10% of 70 RCTs, respectively. Inadequate or unclear allocation concealment can exaggerate clinical effects in 41 and 30%, respectively [88]. Thus, proper randomization should involve both random sequence generation and complete implementation of allocation concealment to minimize bias. Third, blinding is an essential method for preventing research outcomes from being influenced by either the placebo effect or the observer bias. Trials that were not double blinded yielded larger estimates of treatment effect than trials in which authors reported double blinding (odds ratios exaggerated, on average by 17%) [88]. In the present study, only 16% of 70 trials described blinding procedure. Thus, more attentions should be paid to this situation, especially in EA trials. Fourth, item 5 in STRICTA is practitioner background that required description of participating acupuncturists in qualification or professional affiliation, years in acupuncture practice, other relevant experience. However, practitioner background was reported only in 16% trials. Thus, practitioner qualifications should be completely reported, which could increase the certainty with regard to treatment quality and safe implementation of interventions.

Currently, the evidence from the study of manual and electrical needle stimulation in acupuncture researched by an executive board of the society for acupuncture research [5] demonstrated that fundamental gaps existed in the understanding of the mechanisms and relative effectiveness between manual and electrical acupuncture, and these two techniques are not interchangeable. In 2006, Zhang et al. [9] evaluated the reporting quality of 74 RCTs on acupuncture for acute ischemic stroke, indicating that the items in CONSORT of baseline demographic and clinical characteristics, method of random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding procedure, sample size calculation and intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis was 73, 35, 8, 11, 5, and 7% of 74 RCTs respectively; the items in STRICTA of the numbers of needles inserted, the needle type, the depths of insertion, the length of clinical experience, and the background of the acupuncture practitioners was 5, 47, 35, 1, and 8% of 74 reports, respectively. Compared with zhang’s study [9], the quality of reporting RCTs of EA for stroke in present study is better. In 2014, Zhuang et al. [10] analyzed the quality of reporting of only 15 RCTs on acupuncture for subacute and chronic stroke, indicating that poor reporting existed in terms of outcomes, sample size, outcomes and estimation, ancillary analyses, with positive rate less than 30% according to CONSORT statement. Meanwhile, based on STRICTA statement, item 4a: Details of other interventions and 4b: Setting and context of treatment, the positive rate was 20 and 33% respectively. The quality of reporting of RCTs on EA for stroke in present study is similar to the results of Zhuang’s study [10]. This result indicates some improvements in the quality of reporting of RCTs on both acupuncture and EA for stroke. One probable reason is that reporting of several important aspects of trial methods improved because the endorsement of the CONSORT Statement and STRICTA statement. Another possible reason is that Zhuang [10] studied only a small number of selected RCTs, thus the conclusions may not be scientifically sound and may be misleading. For present EA study, the third possible reason is that EA is more readily controlled, standardized and objectively measurable. Additionally, EA is mainly considered as a method to provide stronger treatment for nervous and mental diseases like stroke. Thus, the use of EA for stroke research can at least in part improve the standards of published RCTs and is favored in stroke trials.

From the comparison of the included studies published in Chinese and in English, we found the compliance with CONSORT statement is unsatisfactory. Thus, reporting of RCTs both in English and in Chinese should endorse the CONSORT items as complete as possible. In particular, studies published in Chinese need to improve the reporting of (1a) title, (11a) blinding, and (13b) losses and exclusions. For the STRICTA statement, the proportions of fulfilling the items (1b) reasoning for treatment and (2d) response sought in Chinese have statistically significant increase compared with those in English. The main reasons are as follows: (1) acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 2000 years [89] and Chinese journals lay emphasis on reasoning for treatment; (2) as one of the fundamental characteristics of acupuncture, deqi has been used as a prerequisite for clinical effects for a long time in China [90]. However, the proportion of reporting item (5) practitioner background achieved statistically significant improvement in English compared that in Chinese. The possible reason is that English journals pay more attention to endorsing the STRICTA statement [91]. Thus, both English and Chinese journals need to endorse reporting acupuncture RCTs based on the STRICTA checklist, especially item (5) practitioner background in Chinese and items (1b) reasoning for treatment and (2d) response sought in English, thereby actualizing an improvement in reporting quality of RCTs for acupuncture.

There are some limitations in this study. First, the searching languages are limited to only Chinese and English during sample selection. The reports which are published in other languages may be left out, and may harm the reliability of our results. Second, we only discussed the reporting quality of RCTs on EA in the present study, and compared with that of RCTs on acupuncture in the previous studies. The results may be potentially misleading, and the direct comparison between the reporting qualities of RCTs on manual acupuncture for stroke with that of RCTs on EA is needed in the future. Third, we carried out data extraction based on the published paper itself. This approach meant that we were unable to capture some primary trials with truly good quality in trial methodology but poor reporting in the final publication. Thus, when assessing trial quality of such studies, reviewing research protocols and contacting trialists for more information are needed.

Conclusions

Our study indicated that the overall quality of reporting of RCTs on EA for stroke according to CONSORT and STRICTA statement was moderate and the reporting quality needs further improvement. In particular, it must be emphasized that the poor quality reporting of crucial items which includes sample size calculation, sequence generation, allocation concealment, randomization implementation, blinding, and practitioner background should be adequately involved in RCTs on EA for stroke. More attention should be given to the reporting of RCTs on EA for stroke to ensure that all items in checklist of CONSORT and STRICTA are clearly delineated, especially the central items in the methodology. In addition, the use of EA for stroke research can possibly improve the standards of published RCTs when compared with manual acupuncture trials. However, this need further direct comparative studies.

Abbreviations

CAM: 

Complementary and alternative medicine

CBM: 

Chinese Biomedical Database

CI: 

Confidence interval

CNKI: 

China National Knowledge Infrastructure

CONSORT: 

Consolidated standards of reporting trials

EA: 

Electroacupuncture

ICH: 

Intracerebral hemorrhage

ITT: 

Intention-to-treat

RCTs: 

Randomized controlled trials

STRICTA: 

Standards for reporting interventions in clinical trials of acupuncture.

Declarations

Acknowledgements

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Funding

This project was supported by the grant of National Natural Science Foundation of China (81573750/81473491/81173395/H2902); the Young and Middle-Aged University Discipline Leaders of Zhejiang Province, China (2013277); Zhejiang Provincial Program for the Cultivation of High-level Health talents (2015).

Availability of data and materials

The data sets supporting the conclusions of this article are included within the article.

Authors’ contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: GQZ and YW. Performed the experiments: JJW, SBY, CW and LS. Analyzed the data: JJW, SBY, CW and LS. Wrote the paper: GQZ, YW, JJW, SBY, CW and LS. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Consent for publication

This information is not relevant.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Neurology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University

References

  1. Jauch EC, Saver JL, Adams Jr HP, Bruno A, Connors JJ, Demaerschalk BM, et al. Guidelines for the early management of patients with acute ischemic stroke: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2013;44(3):870–947.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Kernan WN, Ovbiagele B, Black HR, Bravata DM, Chimowitz MI, Ezekowitz MD, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2014;45(7):2160–23.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Zhang JH, Wang D, Liu M. Overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of acupuncture for stroke. Neuroepidemiology. 2014;42(1):50–8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Liu AJ, Li JH, Li HQ, Fu DL, Lu L, Bian ZX, Zheng GQ. Electroacupuncture for acute ischemic stroke: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Chin Med. 2015;46(8):1–26.Google Scholar
  5. Langevin HM, Schnyer R, MacPherson H, Davis R, Harris RE, Napadow V, et al. Manual and electrical needle stimulation in acupuncture research: pitfalls and challenges of heterogeneity. J Altern Complem Med (New York, NY). 2015;21(3):113–28.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  6. Mayor D. Electroacupuncture: An introduction and its use for peripheral facial paralysis. J Chin Med. 2007;84:1–17.Google Scholar
  7. Turner L, Shamseer L, Altman DG, Weeks L, Peters J, Kober T, et al. Consolidated standards of reporting trials (CONSORT) and the completeness of reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in medical journals. Cochrane DB Syst Rev. 2012;11:Mr000030.Google Scholar
  8. He J, Du L, Liu G, Fu J, He X, Yu J, et al. Quality assessment of reporting of randomization, allocation concealment, and blinding in traditional Chinese medicine RCTs: a review of 3159 RCTs identified from 260 systematic reviews. Trials. 2011;12:122.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Zhang XL, Li J, Zhang MM, Yuan WM. Assessing the reporting quality of randomized controlled trials on acupuncture for acute ischemic stroke using the CONSORT statement and STRICTA. Chin J Evid Med. 2006;15(8):586–90.Google Scholar
  10. Zhuang L, He J, Zhuang X, Lu L. Quality of reporting on randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation. BMC Complem Altern M. 2014;14:151.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  11. Moher D, Hopewell S, Schulz KF, Montori V, Gotzsche PC, Devereaux PJ, et al. CONSORT 2010 explanation and elaboration: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. BMJ. 2010;340:c869.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  12. MacPherson H, Altman DG, Hammerschlag R, Youping L, Taixiang W, White A, et al. Revised Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA): Extending the CONSORT statement. J EvidMed. 2010;3(3):140–55.Google Scholar
  13. Hatano S. Experience from a multicentre stroke register: a preliminary report. B World Health Organ. 1976;54(5):541–53.Google Scholar
  14. Cao GJ. Clinical Efficacy and Inflammatory Cytokines Change of Combined Treatment of Stroke with Scalp Electroacupuncture and Xingnaokaiqiao Acupuncture. J Extern Ther Tradit Chin Med. 2012;21(6):32–3.Google Scholar
  15. Chen JF, Li CP, Ding P, Ma YL. Effect of acupuncture on plasmic levels of insulin, glucagon and hypercoagulability in NIDDM complicated by acute cerebral infarction. J Tradit Chin Med. 2001;21(4):267–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Chen BW, Guo X. Clinical Observation of Early Electroacupuncture Therapy for Hemiplegia Patients with Acute Cerebral Infarction. Chin J integr med. 2010;8(2):179–81.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  17. Chen CL. Clinical research on the treatment of spastic paralysis after cerebral infarction with antagonistic electric acupuncture[D]. Heilongjiang: Heilongjiang University Of Chinese Medicine; 2008.Google Scholar
  18. Dong Y. Combined therapy and precaution for stroke hemiplegia. Chin Rural Health Serv Adm. 2011;31(10):1091–2.Google Scholar
  19. Er ZJ, Zhao K, Su HJ, Zhang HX, Li ZY. Clinical Study of Combined Treatment of Hypermyotonia in Acute Stroke Patients with Acupuncture and Tolperisone. Sichuan J Tradit Chin Med. 2010;2(28):120–2.Google Scholar
  20. Fu WB, Guo YQ, Chen XK, Jiang GH, He Q, Zhu XP, et al. Comprehensive therapeutic protocol of Electroacupuncture combined with Chinese herbs and rehabilitition training for treament of cerebral infarction: a multi-center randomzied controlled trail. Chin Acupunct Moxib. 2010;30(1):6–9.Google Scholar
  21. Gao YH. Clinical observation of electroacupuncture treatment for 82 cases with cerebral infarction sequela. Chin Med Pharm. 2012;2(18):90–3.Google Scholar
  22. Gong WJ, Zhang T, Cui LH, Yang YQ, Sun XT. Effects of electroacupuncture at zusanli (ST36) on lower limbs motor function in patients with stroke during spasm Period: a clinical research. Chin J Rehabil Theory and Pract. 2008;14(11):1057–8.Google Scholar
  23. Gosman-Hedstrom G, Claesson L, Klingenstierna U, Carlsson J, Olausson B, Frizell M, et al. Effects of acupuncture treatment on daily life activities and quality of life: a controlled, prospective, and randomized study of acute stroke patients. Stroke. 1998;29(10):2100–8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Guo JB, Yang LT, Zhu HF, Cui B, Lu HZ. Clinical observations of combining acupuncture with medicine on treatment of lower limp dysfunction in hemiplegic patients. Shanxi J Tradit Chin Med. 2009;25(4):36–7.Google Scholar
  25. Hopwood V, Lewith G, Prescott P, Campbell MJ. Evaluating the efficacy of acupuncture in defined aspects of stroke recovery: a randomised, placebo controlled single blind study. J Neurol. 2008;255(6):858–66.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hsieh RL, Wang LY, Lee WC. Additional therapeutic effects of electroacupuncture in conjunction with conventional rehabilitation for patients with first-ever ischaemic stroke. J Rehabil Med. 2007;39(3):205–11.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hsing WT, Imamura M, Weaver K, Fregni F, Azevedo Neto RS. Clinical effects of scalp electrical acupuncture in stroke: a sham-controlled randomized clinical trial. J Altern Complem Med (New York, NY). 2012;18(4):341–6.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  28. Hu HH, Chung C, Liu TJ, Chen RC, Chen CH, Chou P, et al. A randomized controlled trial on the treatment for acute partial ischemic stroke with acupuncture. Neuroepidemiology. 1993;12:106–13.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Huang F, Liu Y, Yao GX, Zhou FX, Wang XY, Yang D. Clinical observations on treatment of ischemic stroke with acupuncture at back-shu points. Shanghai J Acupunct Moxib. 2008;27(10):4–7.Google Scholar
  30. Huang J, Peng ZL, Ding P. Effect of electroacupuncture and Xingnao Kaiqiao needling method on patients poststroke hemiplegia. Lishizhen Med Mater Med Res. 2011;22(6):1506–7.Google Scholar
  31. Huang T, Li CX. Effect of electroacupuncture at pionts of yangming meridians on CD62p expression, D-Dimer expression, ADL and NIHSS in patients with acute cerebral infarction. Lishizhen med Mater Med Res. 2012;23(10):2665–7.Google Scholar
  32. Johansson K, Lindgren I, Widner H, Wiklund I, Johansson BB. Can sensory stimulation improve the functional outcome in stroke patients? Neurology. 1993;43(11):2189–292.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Johansson BB, Haker E, von Arbin M, Britton M, Langstrom G, Terent A, et al. Acupuncture and transcutaneous nerve stimulation in stroke rehabilitation: a randomized, controlled trial. Stroke. 2001;32(3):707–13.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Jin ZQ, Gu FL, Chen RX, Cheng JS. Clinical investigation of acupuncture effect on acute cerebral infarction. Acupunct Res. 1999;24:5–7.Google Scholar
  35. Jiu YQ, Yang WX. Clinical Observation of Combined Treatment of Hemiplegic Stroke Patients with Electroacupuncture and Rehabilitative treatment. Jiangsu J Tradit Chin Med. 2008;40(12):79–80.Google Scholar
  36. Lei SF. Clinical study of neurodevelopmental therapy combined with electroacupuncture treatment of cerebrovascular disease recovery period. Chin foreign med res. 2013;25(11):1674–6805.Google Scholar
  37. Li YT, Li B, Li Y, Dong YX. The Analysis of Curative Effect of Combined Treatment of Electroacupuncture and Medicine in Geratic Hemiplegic Stroke Patients. Chin J Gerontol. 2006;26:128–9.Google Scholar
  38. Li WL. Clinical study on the effect of combination of electroacupuncture and rehabilitation therapy on treating hemiplegia after ischemic stroke. Jiangsu J Tradit Chin Med. 2011;43(9):68–9.Google Scholar
  39. Li XZ. Clinical and experimental research of electroacupuncture at Baihui (GV20) and fengchi (GB20) in treating acute cerebral ischemia[D]. Shangdong: Shangdong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; 2005.Google Scholar
  40. Liu Y, Zou SJ. Effect of Electroacupuncture on Motor Function of Acute Stroke Patients Received Early Rehabilitation. Chin J Rehabil Theory Pract. 2007;13(10):969–70.Google Scholar
  41. Liu WA, Wu QM, Li XR, Li DD, Lei F, Yi XC, et al. Observations on the Efficacy of Combined Treatment of Stroke Hemiplegia with Scalp Electroacupuncture and Stroke Unit. Shanghai J Acupunct Moxib. 2010;29(3):149–51.Google Scholar
  42. Long WQ. The observation of curative effect of early acupuncture on 84 hemiplegic patients with stroke. Chin J Integr Tradit Chin West Med Intensive Crit Care. 2004;11(4):252.Google Scholar
  43. Luo X, Li SJ, Cui XP, Liu LA, Song C, Zhou WN. Effects of combining electroacupuncture with constraint-induced movement therapy on upper limbs functions of hemiparalysis. Guangming J Tradit Chin Med. 2012;27(6):1183–6.Google Scholar
  44. Lv LJ, Shen LY, Fan GQ, Zhu LP, Wu X. Clinical study on the treatment of acupuncture on cerebral infarction with upper extremity motor disfunction. Zhejiang J Integr Tradit Chin West Med. 2003;13(1):14–6.Google Scholar
  45. Naeser MA, Alexander MP, Stiassny-Eder D, Galler V, Hobbs J, Bachman D. Real versus sham acupuncture in the treatment of paralysis in acute stroke patients: a CT scan lesion site study. Neurorehab Neural Re. 1992;6(4):163–74.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  46. Pei J, Sun LJ, Chen RX, Zhu TM, Qian YZ, Yuan DJ. The effect of electro-acupuncture on motor function recovery in patients with acute cerebral infarction:a randomly controlled trial. J Tradi Chin Med. 2001;21(4):270–2.Google Scholar
  47. Peng L, Lv J, Yan WQ, Yang DR, Zhou LZ, Ao JB, et al. Acupuncture in combination with rehabilitation treatment of acute apoplexy. J Emerg in Tradit Chin Med. 2007;16(10):1173–5.Google Scholar
  48. Peng ZL, Lei H, Ding P, Li M, Li MX. Observations on the Efficacy of Combined Treatment of with Xingnaokaiqiao Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture in Limbs Dysfunction after stroke. J Pract Tradit Chin Med. 2009;25(10):684-684.Google Scholar
  49. Qi J, Liu HJ, Feng SF. Clinical observation on acupuncture of Du meridian therapy for ischemic cerebral vascular disease. Guide Chin Med. 2012;10(10):1671–8194.Google Scholar
  50. Sällström S, Kjendahl A, Østen PE, Kvalvik, Stanghelle J, Borchgrevink CF. Acupuncture in the treatment of stroke patients in the subacute stage: a randomized, controlled study. Complement Ther Med. 1996;4(3):193–7.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  51. Sang P, Wang S, Zhao JH. Clinical observation of scalp penetration acupuncture on 40 Patients with acute infarction. Chin J Tradit Med Sci Technol. 2011;18(4):330–1.Google Scholar
  52. Schaechter JD, Connell BD, Stason WB, Kaptchuk TJ, Krebs DE, Macklin EA, et al. Correlated change in upper limb function and motor cortex activation after verum and sham acupuncture in patients with chronic stroke. J Altern Com plem Med (New York, NY). 2007;13(5):527–32.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  53. Schuler MS, Durdak C, Höl NM, Klink A, Hauer KA, Oster P, Du X. Acupuncture treatment of geriatric patients with ischemic stroke: a randomized, double-controlled, single-blind study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005;53(3):549–50.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Si QM, Wu GC, Cao XD. Effects of electroacupuncture on acute cerebral infarction. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1998;23(2):117–24.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Su YJ. The observation of effect of electroacupuncture stimulation on the recovery of limb function of cerebral infarction. Chin J Clin Rehabil. 2002;6(19):2936–2936.Google Scholar
  56. Sun SJ, Zhang XH, Xu BJ. Clinical curative effect observation and effect of scalp acupuncture on S100B in patients with acute cerebral infarction. J Clin Acupunct Moxib. 2005;21(1):20–1.Google Scholar
  57. Sun HJ. Clinical Observation of Combined Treatment of Electroacupuncture and Fasudil in Acute Ischemic Cerebrovascular Disease. Chin Med Innov. 2012;9(36):137–8.Google Scholar
  58. Wang DJ, Zhang DJ, Tong LM, Hu YJ, Li JM. Clinical observation of the curative effect of electroacupuncture carotid drug injection on cerebrol infarction. Shanghai J Acupunct Moxib. 1998;17(5):5–6.Google Scholar
  59. Wang XY, Xu DM, Niu J. Curative Observation of Combined Treatment of Electroacupuncture and body acupuncture in 106 cases of Hemiplegic Stroke Patients. Hebei J Tradit Chin Med. 2001;23(2):124–5.Google Scholar
  60. Wang DS, Wang XW, Xie RM. A prospective clinical case-controlled study of electroacupuncture treatment in patients with acute stroke. Clin Med J China. 2003;10(5):639–41.Google Scholar
  61. Wang ZH. Effect of early electroacupuncture on motor function rehabilitation in patients with acute cerebral hemorrhage. Chin J Rehabil Med. 2008;23(6):554–5.Google Scholar
  62. Wang JL, Tan F, Ding DQ, Huang T, Wu HK, Zhang MX. Effect of electro-acupuncture combined with early rehabilitation on motor function and expressions of CD11b/CD18 and tumor necrosis factor-αin patients with acute cerebral infarction. Chin J Neuromed. 2009;8(6):569–73.Google Scholar
  63. Wang Q. Clinical study on complex facilitation technique of electro-acupuncturing antagonistic muscle acupoint in treating extremital spasm caused by cerebral infarction hemiplegia[D]. Chengdu: Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; 2009.Google Scholar
  64. Wang XW. Effects of electroacupuncture on motor function in patients with acute cerebral infarction patients by Triple Stimulation Technique[D]. Guangzhou: Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine; 2013.Google Scholar
  65. Wayne PM, Krebs DE, Macklin EA, Schnyer R, Kaptchuk TJ, Parker SW, et al. Acupuncture for upper-extremity rehabilitation in chronic stroke: a randomized sham-controlled study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005;86(12):2248–55.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Wei ZJ. The application of electroacupuncture on eraly rehabilitation in stroke patients. Chin J Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;30(8):513–4.Google Scholar
  67. Wong AM, Su TY, Tang FT, Cheng PT, Liaw MY. Clinical trial of electrical acupuncture on hemiplegic stroke patients. Assoc Acad Physiatrists. 1999;78(2):117–22.Google Scholar
  68. Wu BF, Gao WB, Yang XY, Li XY. Acupuncture in combination with rehabilitation in treatment of 30 cases of poststroke spastic hemiplegia. J Clin Acupunct Med. 2008;24(5):24–5.Google Scholar
  69. Wu HK, Tan F, Huang T, Zhang X, Wan SY, Ding DQ, et al. Effect of early electroacupuncture with acupoints of yangming meridians on functional recovery of the lower extremity and the expression of PAC-1 and CD62p in ACI patients. Inter Natl Med Hygiene Guidance News. 2009;15(16):90–90.Google Scholar
  70. Wu H, Gu XD, Yao YH, Fu JM, Wang WG, Li Y. Effects of electroacupuncture combined with neuro-facilitation technique on lower limb motro function and walking ability in hemiplegic stroke patients. Chin Arch Tradit Chin Med. 2011;29(10):2372–4.Google Scholar
  71. Wu XL, Lu BJ, Hu GR, Li YH. Effect of different acupuncture manipulation on neurological function rehabilitation in hemiplegic patients with acute cerebral infarction. Hebei J Tradit Chin Med. 2008;30(5):511–2.Google Scholar
  72. Xue Q, Xiong GX, Huo GM, Li SP. Effect of electroacupuncture at pionts of yangming meridians on motor function in hemiplegic patients. Chin J Rehabil Theory Pract. 2007;13(11):1056–7.Google Scholar
  73. Yu L, Huang XL, Wang W, Yu ZY. Effect of electroacupuncture on content of serum NSE and neurological dysfunction in patients with acute cerebral infarction. Chin J Phys Med Rehabil. 2005;27(2):103–5.Google Scholar
  74. Yue ZH, Li L, Chang XR, Jiang JM, Chen LL, Zhu XS. Comparative study on effects between electroacupuncture and acupuncture for spastic paralysis after stroke. Chin Acupunct Moxib. 2012;32(7):582–6.Google Scholar
  75. Zhang XJ. Clinical observation of the curative effect of Scalp Acupuncture on cerebral infarction. Chin J Rehabil Med. 1995;10(2):85–6.Google Scholar
  76. Zhang SJ, Gao WB. Clinical study on electroacupuncture for poststroke spastic hemiplegia. J Clin Acupunct Med. 2006;22(11):36–7.Google Scholar
  77. Zhang H, Li L. Effect of Early Electro-acupuncture on Locomotion of Hemiplegia Patients after Stroke. Chin J Rehabil Theory Pract. 2008;14(9):824–5.Google Scholar
  78. Zhang MX, Tan F. Clinical Observation of Combined Treatment of Electroacupuncture and neurodevelopment therapy in Convalescence in Acute Ischemic Cerebrovascular Disease. Chin Community Doctors. 2009;11(225):153.Google Scholar
  79. Zhang C, Liu J, Lin QH, Zeng TJ, Gu MG. Clinical Observation of EA in the Treatment of Acute Cerebral Infarction. Mod Diagn Treat. 2013;24(13):2913–4.Google Scholar
  80. Zhang SS. The influences of two different intervening periods of acupuncture therapy on the limbs motor function in patients[D]. Guangzhou: Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine; 2009.Google Scholar
  81. Zhang X. Effects of electric acupuncture with acupoints of yangming meridians on the expression of PAC-1 and CD62p in acute cerebral infarct patients[D]. Guangzhou: Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine; 2008.Google Scholar
  82. Zhao DG, Mu JP. Clinical study on scalp acupuncture combined with sports therapy for rehabilitation of poststroke hemiplegia. Chin Acupunct Moxib. 2005;25(1):19–20.Google Scholar
  83. Zhu BH. The study of curative effect on rehabilitation of hemiplegic stroke patients. ASIA-Pacific Tradit Med. 2012;8(10):68–9.Google Scholar
  84. Hopewell S, Dutton S, Yu LM, Chan AW, Altman DG. The quality of reports of randomised trials in 2000 and 2006: comparative study of articles indexed in PubMed. BMJ. 2010;340:c723.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  85. Charles P, Giraudeau B, Dechartres A, Baron G, Ravaud P. Reporting of sample size calculation in randomised controlled trials: review. BMJ. 2009;338:b1732.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  86. Schulz KF, Grimes DA. Sample size calculations in randomised trials: mandatory and mystical. Lancet. 2005;365(9467):1348–53.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. Altman DG. Randomisation. BMJ. 1991;302(6791):1481–2.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  88. Schulz KF, Chalmers I, Hayes RJ, Altman DG. Empirical evidence of bias. Dimensions of methodological quality associated with estimates of treatment effects in controlled trials. JAMA. 1995;273(5):408–12.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. Consensus Conference NIH. Acupuncture. JAMA. 1998;280(17):1518–24.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  90. Yang XY, Shi GX, Li QQ, Zhang ZH, Xu Q, Liu CZ. Characterization of deqi sensation and acupuncture effect. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:319734.PubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  91. MacPherson H, White A, Cummings M, Jobst K, Rose K, Niemtzow R. Standards for reporting interventions in controlled trials of acupuncture: the STRICTA recommendations. Complement Ther Med. 2001;9(4):246–9.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright

© The Author(s). 2017

Advertisement