Actually the article stated that they were not able to perform a neurologic assessment in a timely fashion. They did list that a majority of the patients reported a subjective improvement in the mobility of their limbs. While I realize that for someone not suffering from paralysis or limited mobility that might not seem like a big deal, for those that are and the staff caring for them a subjective improvement is good. Considering they also stated that this would be a useful compliment treatment, I fail to see the issue. The number of patients is for a single hospital in Germany, they will only have so many stroke patients with limb mobility issue at their disposal who will agree to treatment. Treatment samples tend to be quite small due to having to monitor for the care of all the patients involved in case of unforeseen consequences. These are not bacteria in a dish after all.
A prolonged placebo effect that affected their blood gas results along with pulmonary function test? I thought the article you submitted earlier and the view point you were using was that placebo effect only altered subjective complaints. If the placebo affect can alter blood gas results then perhaps more research needs to be done along that line of operation. As for the control group, the article states that all patients were kept on their regiments and hospital appointments. The only change made was that acupuncture was added to the treatment regiment for a select group.
Once more note the specificity of the disease process being tested. Chronic Obstructive Bronchitis tested from one site where the researcher attempted to adjust for a common co-morbidly in the disease process. They were not conducting three separate experiments, but the same experiment attempting to control for a variable. Pulmonary hypertension is a very serious complication that occurs with COB. In regard to people not starting at the same point, once more these are not bacteria in a dish. They were examined before as a baseline and examined afterward to see what had changed. There is no way to eliminate all variables from an experiment on human beings.
As you deemed not to read the last one, I can only critique the little doubt you indicated. Another study that investigated surgical intervention of children with this disorder could only pool 12 children of 85. Obviously this is not a common disorder. Also, the number of parents willing to sign up for a doctor to have someone insert needles in their child is probably not an outstanding amount.
As for refuting the entire journal, then I would have to see the editor discredited and stripped of his license for fraud. The journal is staffed by people with appropriate degrees, the research shows the physicians conducting clinical trials and the journal is published by a seemingly reputable publishing company. Quite honestly, if I submitted an article from this journal as part of my research in school I would not think twice that my teacher would refuse the reference.