AcuTrials®: an online database of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews of acupuncture

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Jul 19;13:181. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-181.


Background: The growing quantity of Complementary and Alternative Medicine literature requires databases enabled with increasingly powerful search capabilities. To address this need in the area of acupuncture research, a bibliographic database of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews called AcuTrials® has been developed by the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. AcuTrials® introduces a comprehensive keyword thesaurus that categorizes details of treatment protocols and research design to an extent not currently available in MEDLINE or other databases.

Description: AcuTrials®, which went live in January of 2010 and is updated monthly, currently contains over 1250 articles from more than 300 journals. Articles included are English language RCTs and systematic reviews that report on medical conditions in human subjects treated by needle acupuncture. Study details are indexed by 14 key domains, such as acupuncture style and needling protocol, to create an acupuncture-relevant, searchable keyword catalogue. Keywords follow the National Library of Medicine (NLM) MeSH terminology when possible, and new keywords were created in cases where no appropriate MeSH terms were available. The resulting keyword catalogue enables users to perform sensitive, targeted searches for particular aspects of acupuncture treatment and research design.

Conclusions: AcuTrials® provides an extensive and innovative keyword catalogue of acupuncture research, allowing users to efficiently navigate, locate and assess the evidence base in ways not currently possible with other databases. By providing a more powerful suite of search options, the AcuTrials® database has the potential to enhance the accessibility and quality of acupuncture research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Databases, Bibliographic*
  • Humans
  • Online Systems
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Review Literature as Topic