Category Archives: Latest Research
Researchers have found that acupuncture can be used as an adjunctive therapy to reduce breathlessness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A total of 72 patients with COPD, mean age 67, were randomised to receive either real or sham control acupuncture in thirty minute sessions three times per week for eight weeks. Acupuncture was given in addition to patients’ usual daily medication.
At the end of the trial, six-minute walking distance and health-related quality of life measures had all improved significantly more in the acupuncture group compared with the sham group.
(Acupuncture for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): A multicenter, randomized, sham-controlled trial. Medicine (Baltimore), October 2016.)
A meta-analysis of 20 high-quality randomised trials of acupuncture for chronic pain, shows the beneficial effects of acupuncture persist for at least 12 months. The studies covered data on 6376 patients for conditions such as lower back, neck, and shoulder pain, plus osteoarthritis of the knee, and headache/migraine. The researchers found that in studies comparing acupuncture with a non-acupuncture control such as usual care etc, about 90% of the benefit of acupuncture relative to controls, was sustained 12 months after treatment. In trials comparing acupuncture with sham, the corresponding figure was 50%.
The authors conclude that patients can be reassured that acupuncture offers long-term relief for chronic pain, and that this should be taken into account when assessing the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture.
A study by hospital and university researchers in Londrina, Brazil has shown scalp electro-acupuncture can reduce tinnitus intensity by half, and improve quality of life for affected individuals. Fifty subjects, aged 50 to 85, were randomised to receive either acupuncture or no treatment. Those in the treatment group received electro-acupuncture on the vestibulocochlear scalp line, two times a week for five weeks. The results showed a reduction in tinnitus intensity of 50% in the treatment group, and no change in the control group. Acupuncture was also associated with a decrease in the influence of tinnitus on quality of life, from a classification of “severe interference” to “mild interference”. Again there was no change in the control group.
The team concludes that the significant levels of improvement justify the use of acupuncture. Their study shows that the technique is safe and does not cause any side effects for patients. However, more studies are required to establish other possible effects of Chinese scalp acupuncture on the auditory system.
(Effectiveness of acupuncture therapy as treatment for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial. Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, July-August 2016.)
A retrospective chart review by doctors at a major Veterans Affairs Medical Centre located in the southeastern United States, suggests that auricular (ear) acupuncture is effective in treating stubborn pain conditions. The review covered 147 patients who had received auricular acupuncture for common pain conditions, including body pain and headaches. Most veterans received fewer than three treatments, separated by three to five months. Patients’ mean pain scores decreased by almost 60%. The majority (84%) reported that treatment was helpful, with treatment benefits lasting one to three months in 47% of patients.
(A case series of auricular acupuncture in a veterans population using a revised auricular mapping-diagnostic paradigm (RAMP-uP). Complementary Therapies in Medicine, August 2016.)
Australian researchers have found that acupuncture may help allergic rhinitis by modulating the body’s immune response to house dust mites. They randomised 151 individuals with persistent allergic rhinitis, to receive real, sham or no acupuncture. The intervention groups had sessions twice-weekly for eight weeks. Various cytokines, pro-inflammatory neuropeptides and immunoglobulins were measured in saliva or plasma from baseline to follow-up at four weeks.
Statistically-significant reductions in total IgE and allergen-specific IgE for house dust mite, were observed only in the real acupuncture group. Nasal obstruction, nasal itch, sneezing, runny nose, eye itch and sleep all improved significantly in the real acupuncture group, and continued to improve up to the follow-up at four weeks. The authors report that the results suggest modulation of expression, sensitivity and/or activation of a cellular receptor which plays a central role in our allergic inflammatory response. They conclude that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment modality for patients with allergic rhinitis.
(Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, June 2016.)