Hugh MacPherson
Senior Research Fellow

Profile

Biography

Hugh MacPherson works for the University of York as a senior research fellow in the Department of Health Sciences. He previously trained as a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and subsequently founded the Northern College of Acupuncture, based in York, steering the College towards achieving university validation for the first acupuncture degree course in the UK. 

As a result of his interest in research, he set up the Foundation for Research into Traditional Chinese Medicine and later joined the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, as a senior research fellow. He has been supported by a Career Scientist Award, a Programme Grant for Applied Research, both from UK’s National Institute for Health Research, and a grant from Arthritis Research UK. 

His research includes conducting clinical trials and systematic reviews to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions. He has also conducted neoroimagery studies designed to explore the potential mechanisms of acupuncture. He is the lead editor of the book, “Acupuncture research: strategies for building an evidence base” and, with Volker Scheid, a co-editor of, “The integration of East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare”.

Qualifications

  • PhD

Departmental roles

  • Lead for Complementary Medicine Evaluation Group
  • Research Governance Committee
  • Research Committee

Research

Overview

Hugh's interests are in research into complementary and alternative medicine, in particular evaluating effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, mechanisms and safety.

Current projects

Randomised Controlled Trials

Systematic Reviews and Surveys

Other studies

Completed Projects

  • Acupuncture for Non-Cardiac Chest Pain
  • Acupuncture Safety Projects
  • Chinese Herbs Safety Project

Research group(s)

Supervision

Hugh is keen to supervise PhDs in the following areas: Complementary medicine research, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture and other complementary therapies.

Current PhD students include:

  • Supervision of Flavia Swan: Self-help interventions for the relief of refractory breathlessness

Publications

Full publications list

External activities

Memberships

Editorial duties

Invited talks and conferences

  • 1st June 2014. China Association of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (CAAM), Beijing. Acupuncture for chronic pain: compelling evidence from meta-analyses.
  • 31st May 2014. China Association of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (CAAM), Beijing. Acupuncture, counselling and usual care for depression: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
  • 28th May 2014. Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture for chronic pain: an individual patient data meta-analysis of randomised trials.
  • 10th May 2014. British Medical Acupuncture Society, Cardiff. Acupuncture or counselling for depression: a randomised controlled trial.
  • 10th May 2014. British Medical Acupuncture Society, Cardiff. Acupuncture vs. other physical therapies for osteoarthritis of the knee: a network meta-analysis.
  • 29th February 2014. Annual Acupuncture Symposium. King's College, London. Acupuncture or counselling for depression: a randomised controlled trial.
  • 4th October 2013. Palliative Care: Lost in translation. Royal Hotel, Scarborough. Joint presentation with Flavia Swan: Acupuncture and symptom management in palliative care.
  • 1st July 2013, CAMSTRAND workshop, London. Presentation title: New developments in systematic reviews: individual patient data meta-analysis and network meta-analysis.
  • 29th June 2013, Interdisciplinary Acupuncture Symposium, Scientific Association for Medical Acupuncture in Greece (SAMAG), Athens. Presentation title: “Acupuncture and the emerging evidence base: definitive data from trials involving 18,000 patients with chronic pain” (http://www.samag.gr/sinedriaen.html).
  • 10th May 2013, Rothenburg TCM Kongress. Title: “Acupuncture, counselling and usual care for depression: results from a three arm trial” (www.tcm-kongress.de).
  • 10th May 2013, Rothenburg TCM Kongress. Title: “Strategies for finding out which components of acupuncture work better or worse” (www.tcm-kongress.de).
  • 20th April 2013. Society for Acupuncture Research. Ann Arbor, USA. Presentation title, “Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis” (http://www.sar2013conference.org/).
  • 19th April 2013. Society for Acupuncture Research. Ann Arbor, USA. Symposium presentation, “Multiple Components of Acupuncture: Therapeutic Outcomes from Needling, Context and Patient-Practitioner Interactions” (http://www.sar2013conference.org/).
  • 18th April, 2013. Society for Acupuncture Research. Ann Arbor, USA. Workshop presentation “Acupuncture Research for Clinicians and Students: Using Data to Improve Patient Care and Build a stronger Practice.” (http://www.sar2013conference.org/).
  • 12th April 2013, International Society for Complementary Medicine Research, Institute of Education, London. Presentation title: "Acupuncture, Counselling, and Usual GP care for depression - A randomised controlled trial to evaluate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness” (www.iccmr2013.org).
  • 11th April 2013, International Society for Complementary Medicine Research, Institute of Education, London. Workshop title, “Health economics in Complementary and Integrative Medicine” (www.iccmr2013.org).
  • 2nd March 2013, Annual Acupuncture Research Symposium, London South Bank University. Presentation title, “Acupuncture and the 'sceptics': a dialogue on moving forward” (http://www.arrcsymposium.org.uk/).

Media coverage

  • Acupuncture and Alexander Technique for chronic neck pain - A major UK trial at the University of York funded by Arthritis Research UK will investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture and Alexander Technique lessons in alleviating chronic neck pain. The grant is for £718,000 over three years and the Principal Investigator is Hugh MacPherson. October 2011. Press coverage included Times Higher Education, York Press and Yorkshire Post.
  • York study maps the effect of acupuncture on the brain - Important new research about the effects of acupuncture on the brain may provide an understanding of the complex mechanisms of acupuncture and could lead to a wider acceptability of the treatment, a finding based on research conducted by Hugh MacPherson. February 2010. Published in the Telegraph.

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Contact details

Hugh MacPherson
Senior Research Fellow

Tel: 01904 32(1394)