Monday, June 18, 2012

Research: Acupuncture For Depression

New research concludes that acupuncture is an effective monotherapy for major depressive disorder. Researchers from the Depression Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) cited prior research as the basis for this investigation. The researchers note, “We have previously shown that a standardized acupuncture augmentation was effective for antidepressant partial responders with major depressive disorder (MDD).” In a follow-up investigation, the researchers examined the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of depression as a stand alone therapy.

Acupuncture for Depression
Patients in the study received 8 weeks of acupuncture, 1-2 times per week, with each treatment lasting 30 minutes. A choice of 5 acupuncture points were included in the study. Manual stimulation was applied every 10 minutes to the acupuncture points and electroacupuncture at 2 Hz was applied to acupoints on the head. Based on the results, the researchers concluded that, “Standardized acupuncture treatment was safe, well-tolerated and effective, suggesting good feasibility in outpatient settings.”

More Research
Prior research at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) demonstrated that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of clinical depression for patients who are non-responsive to conventional pharmaceutical antidepressant therapies. The study researched the ability of acupuncture to augment conventional antidepressant therapy and concluded that acupuncture is an effective adjunct to antidepressants for both partial and non-responders.

Additional recent research reveals that electroacupuncture has an antidepressant effect and prevents atrophy of brain cells. Researchers measured that electroacupuncture prevents atrophy of glial cells in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain. They note that mounting data shows major depressive disorder is linked to glial cell atrophy. The researchers posit that the antidepressant effect of electroacupuncture may be due to its ability to prevent “glial atrophy in the hippocampus.” In the study, electroacupuncture was applied to acupoints Du20 (BaiHui) and AnMian at a rate of once per day for a period of three weeks. The antidepressant effects were quantified and the protective effects of electroacupuncture on brain cells was measured by “immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.”

Additional new research concludes that acupuncture is effective in relieving depression and increases the therapeutic effect of fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Fontex). In the study, electroacupuncture was applied to acupuncture points: Baihui (DU20), Yintang (EX-HN3), Sishencong (EX-HN1), Toulinqi (GB15), Shuaigu (GB8), Taiyang (EX-HN5), Touwei (ST8). The researchers demonstrated that electroacupuncture produces a “rapid effect in alleviating depressive symptoms in both clinician-rated (HAMD-17) and self-rated (SDS) measures of depression.” The investigators conclude that electroacupuncture is effective in augmenting the antidepressant effects of fluoxetine for the treatment of moderate and severe major depressive disorder.

Abstract and full text for this pilot study may be found online.

Those interested in using acupuncture to address depression and emotional well-being should contact Health On Point to schedule a consultation and session. We are happy to provide complete care for our community here in Iowa City.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Acupuncture Speeds Baby Delivery - New Labor Research

New research demonstrates that acupuncture is safe and effective for reducing the time needed to deliver a baby. Researchers from the China Meitan General Hospital conclude “EA (electroacupuncture) at Sanyinjiao (acupoint SP6) can shorten the duration of the active phase of the 1st labor stage.” In addition, they found electroacupuncture is safe for both mother and the baby.

A random single-blind method was used in the clinical investigation. A total of 111 women were divided into three groups: non-treatment group, electroacupuncture at SP6 group, sham acupuncture group. The sham acupuncture group received stimulation at SP6 with an acupuncture needle guide tube and an acupuncture needle remained at the acupoint using an adhesive plaster.

Blood pressure and heart rate for both mothers and the babies were recorded during labor. No statistical differences in blood pressure or heart rates were demonstrated. In addition, no additional bleeding after labor occurred in the electroacupuncture group. Electroacupuncture shortened both the active phase and the latent phase of the first stage of labor. As a result, the researchers determine that acupuncture is a safe and effective method for shortening the duration of the first stage of labor.

If you are expecting and would like pregnancy or pre-labor support, please contact us for a consultation and to schedule a visit. Our clinic offers personalized care for parents to be.

Details about the study may be found online here.
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