Chinese Medicine for stroke patients
There are many centers worldwide practicing Chinese medicine for different diseases. It makes the stroke patient wonders whether this type of medicine is useful for functional recovery post stroke?
This review which was published recently (stroke 2009;40: 2797) by the a team from Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese in china and a team from Italy mentioned that its objective was to evaluate whether complex Traditional Chinese Medicine (cTCM) improves poststroke motor recovery.
The review define the cTCM as it included at least acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
After selection of 11 234 articles, 34 RCTs and quasi-RCTs were included. All these trials were conducted in China and published on Chinese journals. All trials but one reported results in favor of cTCM treatments suggesting a strong publication bias. Because of the significant clinical and methodological heterogeneity, no meta-analysis was performed and thus no cumulative result was obtained pooling data of RCTs.
What appears from this systematic review is that scant data are available to evaluate efficacy of cTCM for poststroke motor dysfunction. Most of the primary studies available for this review were inadequately designed trials characterized by unknown dropout rates and definitional vagueness in outcomes measures. The authors mentioned that the key to lead to evidence-based practices is establishing a consensus on standardized relevant outcome measures and then designing and conducting appropriate Randomised controlled Trials that adopt those standards.