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Category Archives: Latest Research
A review by American clinicians of acupuncture in cancer care, shows it is associated with improvements across a range of symptoms patients typically encounter. They studied records on 375 patients, mean age 56, presenting for acupuncture treatment over one year at an outpatient integrative medicine clinic. The worst symptoms at baseline were poor sleep, fatigue, impaired wellbeing and pain.
After the initial acupuncture session, statistically significant improvements were noted across all symptoms. The highest mean reduction occurred for hot flushes, followed by fatigue, numbness/tingling and nausea. Clinically significant reductions were observed in both physical and psychological symptom scores, including those for anxiety, appetite, depression, dry mouth, shortness of breath and wellbeing. Response rates were highest for symptoms of spiritual pain (59%), dry mouth (58%) and nausea (57%).
The study authors point out that a 2017 National Cancer Institute paper identified as a future direction the need to advance the evidence-based integration of acupuncture into conventional cancer care settings.
(Outpatient acupuncture effects on patient self-reported symptoms in oncology care: a retrospective analysis. Journal of Cancer, 8 September 2018.)
An American randomised trial studying acupuncture for postoperative nausea, has shown that children receiving the treatment alongside anti-sickness medication, are less likely to experience symptoms. A total of 161 children aged 3 to 9 and undergoing tonsillectomy, were randomised to receive either acupuncture plus antiemetic drugs, or antiemetics alone. Acupuncture consisted of needling the well-known point Neiguan on each wrist.
During phases 1 and 2 of recovery, the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting was 7% in the acupuncture group and 35% in the group on medication alone. This was mainly due to the reduction in nausea. Vomiting was no different between the two groups. The day after surgery, nausea and vomiting was 36% in the acupuncture group and 49% in the medication only group.
(Randomized trial of acupuncture with antiemetics for reducing postoperative nausea in children. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica , 6 November 2018.)
A Cochrane Database systematic review by Italian authors looking at acupuncture for prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, has concluded that based on short term follow up, acupuncture reduces prostatitis symptoms in an appreciable number of participants compared with sham procedure. In an appreciable number of patients, it probably also decreases prostatitis symptoms when compared with standard medical therapy. In all, the authors examined 38 studies covering 3300 men, which made 23 comparisons between different treatment and lifestyle interventions.
(Non-pharmacological interventions for treating chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12 May 2018.)
A pilot study undertaken in Korea suggests acupuncture can offer clinically meaningful improvements in functional constipation (constipation not due to IBS or other diseases). Thirty patients with the condition, mean age 50, were randomised to receive either real acupuncture or sham acupuncture in a university hospital setting. The sham sessions consisted of 12 shallow needle insertions at non-acupuncture points. Patients received twelve treatment sessions over four weeks.
Real acupuncture, but not sham, resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in frequency of bowel movements, and these were maintained at follow-up four weeks after completion of treatment. The researchers conclude that a full-sized randomised controlled trial with long-term follow-up should be conducted to confirm their promising efficacy and safety findings.
(Efficacy & safety of acupuncture for functional constipation: a randomised, sham-controlled pilot trial. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 15 June 2018.)
Chinese authors of a network meta-analysis have concluded acupuncture ranks as one of the best non-pharmacological treatments for chronic functional constipation. They looked at 33 randomised trials covering over 4300 participants, which compared eight non-pharmacological treatments with placebo, sham and conventional interventions. Compared with laxatives, acupuncture had a significantly greater effect on stool frequency, with a lower incidence of adverse events.
(Non-pharmacological conservative treatments for chronic functional constipation: A systemic review & network meta-analysis. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 20 August 2018.)
An American research team has found preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing the incidence of high grade chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, in women being treated for breast cancer. A total of 104 stage I-III breast cancer patients receiving weekly paclitaxel (Taxol) treatment, were screened for symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (usually manifesting as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet). Of these, 37 developed symptoms, and 27 were then given acupuncture. Of the latter, 26 completed chemotherapy treatment without a significant worsening of neuropathy symptoms.
The researchers conclude acupuncture is safe and shows preliminary evidence of effectiveness in reducing the incidence of high grade peripheral neuropathy. A follow-up randomised controlled trial is needed to establish definitive efficacy for patients at risk.
(A phase IIA trial of acupuncture to reduce chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy severity during neoadjuvant or adjuvant weekly paclitaxel chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. European Journal of Cancer, September 2018.)