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The articles we select for Evidence-Based Mental Health must pass two stages: first they must pass our basic validity criteria and then the editors assess each article for clinical relevance. A number of articles meet the inclusion criteria but are not abstracted due to lack of space. We will highlight the most interesting of these here and list the rest.

For many people acupuncture remains more mysticism than medicine but for others it’s a popular alternative to the more orthodox ministrations. The list of indications is growing although even for the most popular uses—chronic pain and smoking cessation—evidence for its benefit is modest at best. Will the insertion of fine needles and unblocking of Qi effectively treat depression? A meta-analysis ( OpenUrlCrossRefPubMedWeb of Science) tries to answer this question but couldn’t find many randomised trials and those that turned up were generally of poor quality. The shortcomings will be familiar to anyone attempting to make sense of the antidepressant literature of not so long ago: small samples, unclear randomisation, brief duration of study and lack of follow-up.

As with acupuncture, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an intervention with a seemingly endless list of indications. So it comes as a surprise to find two studies in which CBT doesn’t work. One-to-one CBT can be effective in reducing positive symptoms of schizophrenia, but given the scarcity of able therapists this trial ( OpenUrl) evaluated a group approach. It was unsuccessful, which as the authors point out was probably due to the mixed bag of both symptoms and patients. The second study ( OpenUrlCrossRefPubMedWeb of Science) showed that while four sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy leads to early recovery from symptoms in acute …

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