Latest Acupuncture Research
Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second leading type of dementia after Alzheimer's disease plaguing the aging population. Acupuncture has served as alternative and complementary medicine in the world for a long time and its use for VaD is based on a large body of preclinical and clinical researches. The mechanisms that underlie the protective effects of acupuncture are slowly beginning to be understood. Acupuncture influences multiple aspects of the pathological process of VaD. It improves cognitive function through protecting cerebral neurons from oxidative stress, apoptosis, and neuroinflammation, regulating glucose metabolism and neurotransmitters. Acupuncture may also improve synaptic plasticity and blood vessel function. It is likely that no single factor can explain the protection provided by acupuncture. This review provides a comprehensive overview of established and recent findings in animal-based researches aiming to elucidate the complex mechanisms of acupuncture on VaD. Neurochem Int. 2016 Dec 26. pii: S0197-0186(16)30255-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2016.12.001.
Acupuncture, a key part of traditional Chinese medicine, is used to relieve symptoms of diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of needling CV-12 (Zhongwan) on blood glucose levels in healthy volunteers. Thirty-six individuals were recruited and randomized into either the acupuncture group or the placebo control group. The participants in the acupuncture group were needled at CV-12 (4 cun above the center of the umbilicus), and those in the placebo control group were needled at a nonexisting "sham" point on the right side of the abdomen (1 cun beside the CV-12)-a nonacupuncture point. For both groups, the needle was retained for 20 minutes without stimulation. Assessments were performed prior to and after the intervention. Statistical analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 16. The result of this study showed a mild reduction in random blood glucose (RBG) levels in the acupuncture group and a mild increase in RBG levels in the placebo control group. However, these changes were not statistically significant both within and between groups. The result of this study suggests that although 20 minutes of needling at CV-12 without stimulation produced a mild reduction in RBG levels in healthy volunteers, it did not produce a statistically significant result. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2016 Dec;9(6):307-310. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2016.08.002.
Acupuncture has been suggested to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in China. This multicenter, randomized, sham-controlled study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture for treating patients with COPD. Seventy-two participants with COPD were recruited and randomly divided into 2 groups (real acupuncture group and sham acupuncture group) in a 1:1 ratio. Patients received either real or sham needling at the same acupoints 3 times weekly for 8 weeks. The primary outcome was dyspnea on exertion evaluated using the 6-minute walk test. In addition, health-related quality of life was also evaluated. Measurements were obtained at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment. Six-minute walking distance measurements and health-related quality of life were significantly better in the real acupuncture group than that in the sham acupuncture group. The findings suggest that acupuncture can be used as an adjunctive therapy to reduce dyspnea in patients with COPD. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Oct;95: DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004879
The primo vascular system (PVS) is being established as a circulatory system that corresponds to acupuncture meridians. There have been two critical questions in making the PVS accepted as a novel liquid flowing system. The first one was directly to show the flow of liquid in PVS and the second one was to explain why it was not observed in the conventional histological study of animal tissues. Flow in the PVS in the abdominal cavity was previously verified by injecting Alcian blue into a primo node. However, the tracing of the dye to other subsystems of the PVS has not been done. In the current work we injected fluorescent nanoparticles (FNPs) into a primo node and traced them along a primo vessel which was inside a fat tissue in the abdominal wall. Linea alba is a white middle line in the abdominal skin of a mammal and a band of fat tissue is located in parallel to the linea alba in the parietal side of the abdominal wall of a rat. In this fat band a primo vessel runs parallel to the prominent blood vessels in the fat band and is located just inside the parietal peritoneum. About the second question on the reason why the PVS was not in conventional histological study the current work provided the answer. Histological analysis with hematoxyline and eosine, Masson’s trichrome, and Toluidine blue could not discriminate the primo vessel even when we knew the location of the PVS by the trace of the FNPs. This clearly explains why the PVS is hard to observe in conventional histology: it is not a matter of resolution but the contrast. The PVS has very similar structure to the connective tissues that surround the PVS. In the current work we propose a method to find the PVS: Observation of mast cell distribution with toluidine blue staining. PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0150423
The peripheral nervous system may play an important role in normal bone maintenance and remodeling. The purpose of this study is to determine if treadmill running combined with electro-acupuncture at Jiaji acupoints (Jiaji-EA) affects tibial bone mass and SP expression in rabbits with sciatic nerve injury. Treatment (treadmill and ET groups) increased all measures compared to the SNCr group (p0.05). Further, TSI, BMD, bone strength, and SP expression in the ET group were higher than the treadmill group (p0.05). Our results indicate that treadmill therapy combined with electro-acupuncture at Jiaji acupoints prevents bone loss in rabbit tibias after sciatic nerve injury. This may occur in two ways: indirectly in association with axon regeneration and directly via loading on the bone mediated through increased SP expression. This study provides important evidence for the clinical treatment of bone loss after peripheral nerve injury. PLoS One. 2016 Nov 23;11(11):e0164652. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164652
Insomnia is a common disease in modern society; it is made worse by increasingly fierce competition in the workplace and elsewhere, along with rapid economic and social development. Sleep disorders can result in changes in serum biomarkers and decreased immunity, and may cause maladies such as depression and cardiac diseases, as well as many other somatic symptoms. Western medications for treating insomnia can easily lead to addiction and other adverse effects. Fortunately, acupuncture can ease the symptoms of insomnia. This review summarizes the hazards associated with insomnia and the use of acupuncture in its treatment. Furthermore, the authors introduce an effective and low-cost method of treating insomnia with acupuncture. This review indicates that insomnia poses a major threat to mental health through its effects on serum components, heart function and the immune system of patients, which may lead to other physiological disorders. Anxiety and depression are the two main negative emotions affected by insomnia. Acupuncture, which has showed effectiveness against insomnia and its complications, may be an effective and complementary method for the treatment of insomnia and associated maladies. J Integr Med. 2016 May;14(3):174-86. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60248-0.
Electroacupuncture (EA) has been shown to exert beneficial effects on obesity, but the mechanism is unclear. The acupuncture group received acupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) and Quchi (LI11) for 20 minutes once per day for 28 days. The effect of acupuncture on weight loss may be related to improved insulin resistance caused by changes in the adipocyte size and by reductions in the expressions of neuroprotein Y/agouti-related protein and protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B. This study indicates that EA may be a better method of alternative therapy for treating obesity and other metabolic diseases.
One hundred twenty patients with PE in an outpatient urology clinic were randomized to receive dapoxetine 30 mg and 60 mg, acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Comparisons between the groups showed that changes observed with acupuncture was significantly higher than those observed with sham acupuncture. Acupuncture had a significant ejaculation-delaying effect. Urol Int. 2016 Apr 7.
Although acupuncture therapy is widely used in traditional Asian medicine for the treatment of diverse internal organ disorders, its underlying biological mechanisms are largely unknown. TNF-a production in mouse serum, which was induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration, was decreased by manual acupuncture (MAC) at the zusanli acupoint (ST36). These results suggest that the therapeutic effects of acupuncture may be mediated through vagal modulation of inflammatory responses in internal organs. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 18;11(3):e0151882. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151882.
Forty-three participants with chronic kidney disease received three successive treatment sessions of indirect moxibustion bilaterally at BL 23, a crucial acupuncture point, in the session. Renal vascular resistance was decreased after indirect moxibustion therapy. J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Mar 16.
Female sexual dysfunction affects up to 43% of women in the United States and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is the most common type; however, we lack treatment options showing improvement for this condition. Participants underwent 25-minute twice-weekly acupuncture sessions for 5 weeks with one certified acupuncturist. Questionnaires were completed again 6 weeks after onset of treatment. Sexual function improved after intervention, particularly desire. In this cohort of premenopausal women with HSDD, 5 weeks of acupuncture therapy was associated with significant improvements in sexual function, particularly desire. This supports a role for acupuncture as a therapeutic option for women with low desire. Sex Med. 2016 Mar 28. pii: S2050-1161(16)00032-5. doi: 10.1016/j.esxm.2016.02.005.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for stable angina pectoris. Clinical randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the efficacy of acupuncture to conventional drugs in patients with stable angina pectoris were searched. Total 8 RCTs, including 640 angina pectoris cases with 372 patients received acupuncture therapy and 268 patients received conventional drugs, were included. Overall, our result showed that acupuncture significantly increased the clinical curative effects in the relief of angina symptoms (OR=2.89, 95% CI=1.87-4.47, P0.00001) and improved the electrocardiography (OR=1.83, 95% CI=1.23-2.71, P=0.003), indicating that acupuncture therapy was superior to conventional drugs. No adverse effects associated with acupuncture therapy were found. Acupuncture may be an effective therapy for stable angina pectoris. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015; 8(4): 5112–5120.
We systematically searched electronic databases (EMBASE, PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, ClinicalTrials.gov, Wanfang Data Chinese Database, and China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database) and the reference lists of the identified studies. We identified 31 randomized controlled trials with 34 effect sizes involving a total of 2,433 participants. Studies with a large effect size of acupuncture-associated changes in serum estradiol had a significantly lower odds of sleep disturbances than did those with a small-to-moderate effect sizes. Acupuncture is associated with a significant reduction in sleep disturbances in women experiencing menopause-related sleep disturbances. Our findings suggest that acupuncture should be adopted as part of a multimodal approach for improving sleep disturbances in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Feb 4.
In this prospective randomized controlled trial, 60 patients with sepsis were randomly assigned to the control group and the intervention group equally by block randomization. Patients in the control group received routine treatment and those in the intervention group received electro-acupuncture at bilateral Zusanli and Guanyuan in addition to routine treatment. Electro-acupuncture at Zusanli and Guanyuan could improve clinical curative effect in patients with sepsis, which might be achieved by regulation of the immune system. Chin J Integr Med. 2016 Jan 29.
This randomized, single-blind, sham-control study examined patients (18-60 years old) with normal hearing and chronic, idiopathic, continuous tinnitus. Fifty-seven subjects were randomly assigned to true (n?=?30) or sham (n?=?27) acupuncture. A significant improvement in THI scores was observed at the end of true ACP treatment for all domains (all p?values < 0.01) except the catastrophic scale. Acupuncture improved the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory scores in tinnitus patients. Eur Radiol. 2016 Jan 8.
Acupuncture alleviates impairment and dysfunction of the sense of smell, dysosmia. Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers conducted an acupuncture clinical trial of ten patients with dysosmia. Acupuncture achieved a total effective rate of 90%. Two patients completely recovered, three patients achieved excellent clinical improvements, four patients achieved significant clinical improvements, and one patient demonstrated no signs of improvement. The results indicate that acupuncture restores olfaction. Zhao H. (2014). Study in Clinical Effect of Sensory Dysosmia Patients in 10 Cases Treated With Acupuncture. Guangming Journal of Chinese Medicine. 29(8).
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for atherosclerosis. Researchers from the Qian’an Hospital of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) investigated the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of carotid artery related atherosclerosis. The study compared two types of acupuncture treatments with drug therapy. One acupuncture protocol produced significantly greater positive patient outcomes than drug therapy. Another acupuncture protocol produced equivalent results to drug therapy. Li YH, Huang HB, Wang WX & Yang LX. (2014). Observation of the head acupuncture through hole on the treatment of carotid artery atherosclerosis. Hebei Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 36(8).
40 participants from a psychiatry waiting list were randomised into one of two groups: group 1 (n=25) received 10 weeks of acupuncture at PC6, HT7 and LR3, and group 2 was a waiting list control group. The waiting list group (n=15) then received acupuncture. Both groups were followed up for 10 weeks after treatment. The outcome measure was the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory. 6 patients completed the study, with two dropouts in each group. State anxiety scores in the acupuncture group decreased from 57.7 (SD 13.1) to 38.8 (12.0); scores in the waiting list control group decreased from 61.5 (11.6) to 60.6 (11.7). The difference was highly significant (p<0.0001). Acupuncture is a promising intervention for patients with chronic anxiety symptoms that have proven resistant to other forms of treatment. Acupunct Med. 2015 Apr;33(2):98-102. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2014-010524. Epub 2015 Jan 16.
Acupuncture alleviates irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers from the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of electroacupuncture for the treatment of IBS. A comparison group in the clinical trial received oral administration of pinaverium bromide. The acupuncture treatment group demonstrated an 86.7% improvement rate. The drug group demonstrated a 50% improvement rate. Sun YZ & Song J. (2014). Therapeutic Observation of Acupuncture at Jiaji (EX-B2) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 34(9).
One hundred and twenty patients aged 18 to 96 months (American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II) undergoing minor elective surgery under general anaesthesia with sevoflurane. Patients were randomly assigned to either undergo bilateral stimulation of HT7 with two PNS devices (1?Hz, 50?mA) during surgery (Group HT7) or a control group that did not undergo electrical stimulation of HT7 during surgery. The incidence of emergence agitation was significantly lower in the HT7 group compared with the control group (31.7 vs. 56.7%, respectively; P?=?0.010). Bilateral electrical stimulation of HT7 using two PNS devices significantly decreases the incidence of emergence agitation. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2015 Nov 28.
Acupuncture alleviates dementia and cognitive impairment. Researchers from the Anhui University of Chinese Medicine demonstrate that acupuncture has a 90% total effective rate for the treatment of vascular dementia. Researchers from the Heilongjiang University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) demonstrate that acupuncture improves cognitive abilities for patients with non-dementia related vascular cognitive impairment. In addition, researchers from the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine demonstrate that acupuncture has an 88% total effective rate for the treatment of chronic cerebral circulatory insufficiency (CCCI). Wang Y, Zhu CQ & Chen SF. (2014). Clinical Effect of Long-Term Scalp Acupuncture in Treatment of Vascular Dementia:A Report of 30 Cases. Journal of Anhui Traditional Chinese Medical College. 33(2).
Randomized clinical trial with 50 participants with tinnitus, divided into two groups: 25 participants in the acupuncture group (AG) and 25 participants in the control group (CG). The AG received acupuncture treatment and the CG received no treatment. A statistically significant result was found for the primary outcome, reducing the intensity of tinnitus, with p=0.0001 and the secondary endpoint, showing improvement in quality of life, with p=0.0001. Chinese scalp acupuncture associated with bilateral electroacupuncture demonstrated, in the short term, a statistically significant improvement by reducing the level of tinnitus intensity, as well as improving the quality of life of individuals with tinnitus. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Nov 14. pii: S1808-8694(15)00206-2. doi: 10.1016/j.bjorl.2014.12.011.
Acupuncture and moxibustion are effective for the treatment of diabetes. Researchers from the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine conclude that acupuncture combined with moxibustion has a total effective rate of 84.78% for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Moxibustion increases efficacy for diabetes treatments. The researchers also investigated the implementation of acupuncture as a standalone therapy. Without moxibustion, acupuncture had a total effective rate of 69.57%. As are result, the researchers conclude that the combined therapy produces superior patient outcomes. Hu, Z. H., Wang, Y., Huang, J. Y., Xu, J. H., Jiang, Z. F. & Wang, S. S. (2014). Research for Optimizing the Acupuncture-moxibustion Treatment Protocol for Diabetic Gastroparesis. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 33 (12).