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Acupuncture could reduce pain and improve joint function short-term in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, a new study suggests.

Both genuine and sham acupuncture decreased scores on an established osteoarthritis index after eight weeks of treatment. Patients on acu-puncture had a mean score of 26, compared with 36 in those on sham acupuncture and 50 for controls.

At one-year follow-up there was no difference between the groups, said the study, published in The Lancet this week.

Dr Claudia Witt, study leader at Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin, said: 'Acupuncture had significant and clinically relevant short-term benefits.'

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