Validity of a Diagnostic Scale for Acupuncture: Application of the Item Response Theory to the Five Viscera ScoreReport as inadecuate

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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative MedicineVolume 2013 2013, Article ID 928089, 11 pages

Research Article

Department of Oriental Medicine, Kansai Vocational College of Medicine, 6-18-13 Karita, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka 558-0011, Japan

Department of Hygiene, School of Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, 811-1 Kimiidera, Wakayama 641-8509, Japan

Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Sports Trainer Science, Kansai University of Health Sciences, 2-11-1 Wakaba, Kumatori, Sennan, Osaka 590-0482, Japan

School of Health and Nursing Science, Wakayama Medical University, 580 Mikazura, Wakayama 641-0011, Japan

Received 25 January 2013; Revised 15 March 2013; Accepted 15 March 2013

Academic Editor: Zhaoxiang Bian

Copyright © 2013 Taro Tomura et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In acupuncture therapy, diagnosis, acupoints, and stimulation for patients with the same illness are often inconsistent among between Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM practitioners. This is in part due to the paucity of evidence-based diagnostic methods in TCM. To solve this problem, establishment of validated diagnostic tool is inevitable. We first applied the Item Response Theory IRT model to the Five Viscera Score FVS to test its validity by evaluating the ability of the questionnaire items to identify an individual’s latent traits. Next, the health-related QOL scale SF-36, a suitable instrument for evaluating acupuncture therapy, was administered to evaluate whether the FVS can be used to make a health-related diagnosis. All 20 items of the FVS had adequate item discrimination, and 13 items had high item discrimination power. Measurement accuracy was suited for application in a range of individuals, from healthy to symptomatic. When the FVS and SF-36 were administered to other subjects, a part of which overlap with the first subjects, we found an association between the two scales, and the same findings were obtained when symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects were compared regardless of age and sex. In conclusion, the FVS may be effective in clinical diagnosis.

Author: Taro Tomura, Kouichi Yoshimasu, Jin Fukumoto, Shigeki Takemura, Shunji Sakaguchi, Nobuyuki Miyai, and Kazuhisa Miyashita



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