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J Acupunct Res > Volume 33(2); 2016 > Article
Sin and Song: Current situation of Translational research on Acupuncture Moxi bustion and Pharmacopuncture
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Our primary objective lies in understanding the current landscape of translational research on acupuncture, moxibustion and pharmacopuncture.


We searched our own selection of keywords of acupuncture, moxibustion and pharmacopuncture and translational research from three overseas databases (Pubmed, Scopus, Medicine) and four domestic databases (DBpia, KISS, Riss4u, Korea Med).


We have chosen 41 articles in total-40 articles on acupunture, 6 article on moxibustion(5 articles were duplicated in use in each category). Origin-wise 48.8 %/24.8 %/17.0 % of our articles pool came from USA/China/Korea, respectively, UK, Austria, Thailand and Italy contributed the rest of our article pool. For those articles written in USA and China, review articles were the most common type. For the US articles, all 10 review articles were non-systematic reviews, while, for China’s contribution, one out of 4 review articles were systematic review. Type-wise, our research pool’s breakdown is as follows; 17 review articles, 11 experimental research, 2 randomized controlled trials(RCT), 1 clinical trial, 4 conference reports, 1 letter, 1 study protocol and 4 uncategorized. Topic-wise, brain-neurology was most frequently referred with 8 articles, followed by parkinson’s disease (3 articles) and epilepsy (2 articles).


  1. In terms of research submission articles, Korea appears to be lacking translational research on acupuncture, moxibustion and pharmacopuncture, compared to USA and China, in our view.

  2. Unlike the cases of USA and China, most of Korean translational research is limited to doing a T1 level of translational research. In order to bring bench-to-bedside to light. we believe, there should be more studies, and thereby a certain level of activation, to the T2 level of translational research in Korea.

  3. Further, in our view there should be more efforts to improve article quality at the T1 level of translational research, which eventually becomes the fundamentals of the next level of research (i.e.T2 research), as well as to increase the number of research submissions, going forward.

Fig. 1
Flow chart of article selection process
Fig. 2
Classification according to the search term
5 articles are duplicated in ‘Acupuncture’ article and ‘Moxibustion’ article.
Fig. 3
Classification according to nationality of first author
Fig. 4
In three Countries, classification according to type of article
Fig. 5
Classification according to type of article in review article
Fig. 6
Classification according to type of article
Fig. 7
Classification according to frequency of disease
Table 1
Stepwise classification according to translational research4)
Step Basic research T1 translational research T2 translational research

Discovery of candidate product/Pre clinical research Clinical research Selection of optimal treatment Clinical practice
Motto Translation to humans Translation to patients

Target Basic knowledgment Preclinical efficacy Clinical efficacy Clinical effectiveness

Content •Target research
•Mechanism research
•Candidate product research
•Effect in animal experiment/Toxic ity assessment
•Effect in human experiment/Adverse reaction assessment
•Clinical research
•Compartive effectivess research
•Systematic research
•Clinical guidline
•Implementation research
•Dissemination research
•Diffusion Research
•Outcome research

VI. References

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2. Edited by Oh DH, Lee JR. In: A Study on the Present Status and Promotion of translational research in Korea and Foreign Countries. Seoul: KIAT. 2012:3–74.

3. KHIDI. KHIDI Brief. 204:Internet. Cheongju: Korea Health Industry Development Institute, [cited 2016 Apr 27]. available from:

4. Kim SK. A concept of translational research and research case in Foreign contries. In: The 23th Health Technology forum; 2013 Jun; Seoul. sejong: STEPI. 2013;

5. KISTEP. 2012 survey of research and development in korea. Seoul: KISTEP. 2013:1–46.

6. Ministry of health & welfare. 2015. The Policy direction of R&D program of Ministry of health & welfare. [Internet]. Chungju: Ministry of health & welfare, [cited 2016 May 11]. available from:

7. Lisi AJ, Breuer P, Gallagher RM, et al. Deconstructing Chronic Low Back Pain in the Older Adult-Step by Step Evidence and Expert-Based Recommendations for Evaluation and Treatment: Part II: Myofascial Pain. Pain Med. 2015;16(7):1282–9.
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9. Jackson CF, Makin SM, Marson AG, Kerr M. Non-pharmacological interventions for people with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;9:CD005502.
10. Kim SK. A concept and condition for success factor of translational research. STEPI Insight. 2013;(115):1–25.

11. Woolf SH. The Meaning of Translational Research and Why It Matters. JAMA. 2008;299(2):211–3.
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12. Park JY, Choi H, Baek S, et al. p53 signalling mediates acupuncture-induced neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015;460(3):772–9.
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13. Kim SN, Doo AR, Park JY, et al. Acupuncture enhances the synaptic dopamine availability to improve motor function in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27566.
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14. Kim SN, Kim ST, Doo AR, et al. Phosphatidyli nositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway mediates acupuncture-induced dopaminergic neuron protection and motor function improvement in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Int J Neurosci. 2011;121(10):562–9.
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15. Guo TP, Ren YL, Li J, Shu HP, Liang FR. Problems and solutions on transformation of scientific research achievement of acupuncture. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2014;34(8):817–20.
16. Huang ZQ, Pei J. Application and development of translational medicine in modern acupuncture and moxibustion. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2014;34(5):503–7.
17. Lee MS, Shin BC, Choi SM, Kim JY. Randomized clinical trials of constitutional acupuncture: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009;6(Suppl 1):59–64.
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18. Lee HS, Park HL, Lee SJ, Shin BC, Choi JY, Lee MS. Scalp acupuncture for Parkinson’ s disease: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med. 2013;19(4):297–306.
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19. Kim HJ, Jeon BS. Is acupuncture efficacious therapy in Parkinson’s disease? J Neurol Sci. 2014;341(1–2):1–7.
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20. Lee MS, Lee JA, Choi TY, Choi J, Jun JH. Preferred Reporting Items for Development of Clinical Practice Guideline in Korean Medicine. Daejeon: Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. 2015:7–13.

21. Lee MS. Development of clinical practice guide line on Korean Medicine using evidence based medicine. Daejeon: Institute of Oriental Medicine. 2013:3–17.

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