10. October 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Depression, Insomnia

Acupuncture could be a viable alternative to medication for treating depression-related insomnia, report the authors of a meta-analysis from China. Eighteen randomised-controlled clinical trials with 1678 participants were analysed. The results showed that acupuncture treatment led to significant improvements in sleep scores compared with western medicine. Acupuncture combined with western medicine produced a better effect on sleep quality compared with western medicine alone. Acupuncture and western medicine improved depression scores by an equal amount, and acupuncture combined with western medicine was more effective than western medicine alone.
The Efficacy of Acupuncture for Treating Depression-Related Insomnia Compared with a Control Group: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:9614810.

UK researchers examining economic data on 12 non-pharmacological interventions for osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA) have found acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to be cost-effective. The authors applied network meta-analysis to data from 88 randomised controlled trials including 7,507 patients. They based their cost-effectiveness estimations on a threshold of £20–30,000 per QALY (quality-adjusted life year – a measure of disease burden used to assess the value for money of medical interventions), as this is used by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to assess whether treatments represent a cost-effective use of UK NHS resources. When all trials were considered, TENS was found to be cost-effective at the NICE threshold, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £2,690 per QALY versus usual care (meaning one quality-adjusted life year would be gained for each additional £2,690 spent on TENS). When only higher quality trials were considered, acupuncture was found to be cost-effective (with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £13,502 per QALY versus TENS). The authors further noted that, while acupuncture is not currently recommended by NICE as a treatment for KOA, based on their calculations some interventions that are recommended by NICE (insoles, braces and manual therapy) are unlikely to be cost-effective and therefore should not be prioritised for commissioning within the NHS.
Cost-effectiveness of adjunct non-pharmacological interventions for osteoarthritis of the knee. PLoS One. 2017 Mar 7;12(3):e0172749.

10. October 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Multiple Sclerosis

Acupuncture treatment can improve walking gait in patients with multiple sclerosis, report Portuguese investigators. Gait impairment was evaluated using the 25-foot walk test in 20 individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, who were then randomised to either verum or sham acupuncture. Verum acupuncture was administered at Liangqiu ST-34 Weizhong BL-40 and Chengshan BL-57, while sham acupuncture consisted of needling at non-acupuncture points located two cun laterally to the verum points. Verum acupuncture led to a significant decrease in time taken to walk 25 feet. By contrast, differences in time to walk 25 feet were not statistically significant for sham acupuncture. Following verum acupuncture, 95% of patients showed an improvement in 25-foot walk test, compared with only 45 % for sham acupuncture.
Effects of Acupuncture on Gait of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Apr 14. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0355. [Epub ahead of print].

10. October 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Kidney Disease

Acupuncture improves renal function markers in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to research from Taiwan. Fifty nine patients with CKD were randomised into acupuncture and sham treatment groups. In the acupuncture group, manual acupuncture was applied to bilateral Hegu L.I.-4, Zusanli ST-36 and Taixi KID-3 to obtain qi, and electroacupuncture (2 Hz) was applied to two acupoint pairs (right Zusanli ST-36 and Taixi KID-3 and left Zusanli ST-36 and Taixi KID-3) once per week for 12 weeks. In the sham group, needles were inserted 1.5 cm lateral to the acupoints, and no electrical stimulation was applied. Levels of serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were found to have improved significantly in the acupuncture group compared with the control group after 12 weeks of treatment, suggesting that acupuncture is beneficial for renal function in patients with CKD.
Acupuncture on Renal Function in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Single-Blinded, Randomized, Preliminary Controlled Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Apr 19. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0119. [Epub ahead of print].

10. October 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Cancer, Gastric Cancer

Patients with advanced gastric cancer experience a significant reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms induced by chemotherapy when treated with acupuncture, report Chinese clinicians. A cohort of 56 chemotherapy patients was randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group. Those in the experimental group received 30 minutes of acupuncture (at Zusanli ST-36, Shangjuxu ST-37, Tianshu ST-25, Sanyinjiao SP-6, and Neiguan P-6) daily for two weeks. Nausea duration, vomiting frequency, abdominal pain and diarrhoea were all significantly reduced, while quality-of-life scores were higher in the experimental group compared with controls.
The effect of acupuncture on chemotherapy-associated gastrointestinal symptoms in gastric cancer. Curr Oncol. 2017 Feb;24(1):e1-e5.

29. August 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Intensive Care Unit, Pain

Acupuncture is a feasible treatment for relieving pain in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, American researchers report. Forty six patients admitted to an ICU who were experiencing pain and/or nausea received three 20 minute acupuncture treatments in addition to usual care. Needling was carried out at eight predetermined points (unilateral Hegu L.I.-4, Taichong LIV-3, Neiguan P-6 and Zusanli ST-36, plus unilateral auricular points Shenmen, Sympathetic, Stomach and Thalamus). Self-reported pain levels were found to have decreased by a mean of 2.36 points on a 10 point scale immediately following acupuncture, which is above the commonly accepted threshold for clinically relevant analgesia. In addition, nearly half (49%) of all participants spontaneously reported an anxiolytic effect from acupuncture. A significant decrease in morphine usage after each treatment was also observed. The decrease in mean self-reported nausea scores was not statistically significant.
Acupuncture for Pain and Nausea in the Intensive Care Unit: A Feasibility Study in a Public Safety Net Hospital. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Apr 25. [Epub ahead of print].

29. August 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Fybromyalgia

Fibromyalgia patients who exhibit greater sensitivity to pain are more likely to respond to sham acupuncture, and more likely to experience a worsening of pain after verum acupuncture, report US researchers. A cohort of 114 fibromyalgia patients received baseline pressure pain testing and were then randomised to either verum or sham acupuncture. Verum acupuncture consisted of needling nine acupuncture points (Baihui DU-20, right ear Shenmen, left Quchi L.I.-11, right Hegu L.I.-4, left Yanglingquan GB-34, left Zusanli ST-36, left Sanyinjiao SP-6 and right Taichong LIV-3), while sham treatment involved needling at non-acupuncture points. Participants received one to three treatments a week week for a total of 18 treatments. Participants who had higher pressure pain thresholds at baseline demonstrated a greater reduction in clinical pain following verum acupuncture, while participants who had lower baseline pain pressure thresholds showed a better analgesic response to sham acupuncture. In addition, patients with lower pressure pain thresholds reported exacerbated pain following verum acupuncture.
Evoked Pressure Pain Sensitivity Is Associated with Differential Analgesic Response to Verum and Sham Acupuncture in Fibromyalgia. Pain Med. 2017 Mar 15. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx001. [Epub ahead of print].

29. August 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Acupuncture may achieve long-term pain relief in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) by rewiring the brain, according to findings by an American research team. Previous studies have shown that the brain’s primary somatosensory cortex, which receives incoming signals related to the sense of touch, is pathologically remapped in CTS. Specifically, brain cells that usually respond to touch from specific fingers start to respond to signals from multiple fingers (measured as reduced cortical separation distance). In a sham-controlled neuroimaging study of acupuncture for CTS, researchers divided 80 patients into three groups. One group received electro-acupuncture on the hand and arm near the site of their pain (local), the second received electro-acupuncture on the ankle opposite the wrist with the pain (distal), while the third received sham electro-acupuncture with non-penetrating needles near the site of carpal tunnel pain. Each patient received 16 treatments over two months. At the end of the treatment period, the researchers found that all three interventions improved patient-reported CTS symptoms. However, only verum (local and distal) acupuncture produced improvements in neurophysiological outcomes, both local to the wrist (median sensory nerve conduction speed) and in the brain (cortical separation distance). Local verum acupuncture led to measurable improvements in outcomes both at the affected wrist and in the brain, while distal verum acupuncture produced improvement at the wrist only. Brain remapping seen after local verum acupuncture was correlated with sustained improvements in symptom severity at three-month follow-up. No physiological improvements resulted from sham acupuncture. The authors propose that while sham acupuncture may provide short-term benefits by modulating known placebo circuitry in the brain, real acupuncture can lead to lasting improvement in CTS symptoms by rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex, in addition to modulating local blood flow to the peripheral nerve in the wrist.
Rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex in carpal tunnel syndrome with acupuncture. Brain. 2017 Apr 1;140(4):914-927.

25. July 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Babies, Colic

Acupuncture can reduce crying in infants with colic, according to a Swedish study. In a three-armed randomised trial, 147 infants received usual care together with either standardised minimal acupuncture (at Hegu L.I.-4), or semi-standardised individual acupuncture based on TCM (any combination of Sifeng M-UE-9, Hegu L.I.-4 and Zusanli ST-36), twice a week for two weeks. The effect of the two types of acupuncture was similar and both were superior to standard care alone. Relative to baseline, there was a greater reduction in time spent crying by the second week in infants receiving both types of acupuncture.
Effect of minimal acupuncture for infantile colic: a multicentre, three-armed, single-blind, randomised controlled trial (ACU-COL). Acupunct Med. 2017 Jan 16. pii: acupmed-2016-011208. [Epub ahead of print].

25. July 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Anxiety, Auricular Acupuncture