Liver fibrosis happens when the proteins including collagen surrounding liver cells start to accumulate excessively. Liver fibrosis is often a result of all types of liver diseases.
Science used to consider liver fibrosis to be irreversible condition, but recent evidence suggests the opposite.
Acupuncture has been increasingly used to treat chronic liver diseases. And we’re obviously interested to know how acupuncture can be helpful with liver fibrosis. A study published in the current issue of peer-reviewed international journal Acupuncture in Medicine tried to understand what exactly acupuncture does in combination with curcumin for liver fibrosis.
They found that acupuncture significantly enhances curcumin effects for liver fibrosis. They also found biochemical changes at the cellular level. The effects were attributed to acupuncture and curcumin disrupting platelet-derived growth factor ? receptor/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and stimulates extracellular matrix degradation. Curcumin is the principal active ingredient of turmeric. This is yet another great example of how acupuncture and herbal medicines go hand in hand and enhance each others effect.
Ref: Acupuncture combined with curcumin disrupts platelet-derived growth factor ? receptor/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and stimulates extracellular matrix degradation in carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats. Acupuncture in Medicine doi:10.1136/acupmed-2012-010167
We already have some research to back up use of acupuncture use for weight loss. Some patients who try acupuncture for weight loss get great results.
Thanks, Stephen for the emailed video. It is funny that acupuncturist in the video actually would benefit from some weight loss himself
Acupuncture has made its way into mainstream in military medicine in USA as a battlefield pain relief.
The explanation why military embraces acupuncture may be simple: “As some top medical officers put it, though, there’s nothing like pain to make someone open-minded”
Listen to npr radio report covering this topic here:
Acupuncture is more effective in prevention of chronic migraine headaches and is 10 times safer compared to topiramate treatment. These are the findings of a study published in the current issue of Cephalalgia, a journal for International Headache Society. The researchers compared acupuncture with topiramate. They call for acupuncture to be considered a treatment option for chronic migraine patients, even for those patients with medication overuse.
Studies have shown that addressing tension in the neck, which often accompanies migraines and headaches can be very helpful reducing the severity and frequency of the headaches. I can see in my practice that combining acupuncture with gentle mobilisation of the neck muscles is the most effective way to manage acute migraine and to prevent migraines. It will be interesting to see more studies looking into the combination of these treatments in the future.
The use of acupuncture anesthesia for open heart surgery was introduced in China four decades ago. Although the use of it has declined in recent years, there is a renewed interest in it in China due to the escalating medical costs associated with open heart surgery.
This study designed by scientists from China and USA (Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Shu Guang Hospital and George Washington University, Washington, USA) has sheded some new light on a combined approach of acupuncture plus local anaesthesia in patients undergoing open heart operation under cardiopulmonary bypass.
Compared with the general anesthesia patients, the acupuncture and local anaesthesia patients used less of narcotic drugs and shorter stay in intensive care unit. Surprisingly they also had less postoperative pulmonary infection. Using acupuncture to aid with open heart surgery reduced cost of the treatment significantly.
The results of the study were published in the current issue of International Journal of Cardiology.
The current issue of BJOG, a leading publication in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, features a study on acupuncture and premenstrual syndrome. In attempt to evaluate current evidence, the researchers searched for high quality studies and included 10 of them in this review.
The results showed that acupuncture is superior to all controls. Four studies comparing the effects of acupuncture with different doses of progestin and anti-anxiety medications also supported the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture significantly improved symptoms when compared with sham acupuncture, ruling out the improvements were due to the placebo effect.
The researchers concluded that considering the potential of acupuncture, it needs to be further rigorously studied.
This post is not directly about acupuncture, but needles are a part of the picture.
Dan Ariely is a behavioural economist and an author of a great book Predictably Irrational. In this video he explains reward substitution, one of strategies he used to overcome procrastination and achieve long-term health goals.
What is your strategy?
This doco is an amazing story on stroke recovery with help of acupuncture. It makes me nostalgic for China as most of the movie was filmed in one of the hospitals I have completed my acupuncture training.
How acupuncture helps hypothyroidism? A group of scientists from China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing researched neuroendocrine system of rats with hypothyroidism to understand the effects of acupuncture.
Their findings were that acupuncture regulates serum levels of T3 and testosterone, Beta endorphins in the hypothalamus and plasma nucleotides. This was noted as the possible mechanism of action of acupuncture for hypothyroidism in their study published in the journal of Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (1999-01).
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be also helpful to reduce the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It can help with the side-effects of your thyroid medication. I would not recommend stopping your medication after you start acupuncture treatment without discussing it with your prescribing doctor first.
Yu Qian, et al. Acupuncture use to treat hypothyroidism in patients recovering from severe brain injuries. China Journal of Acupuncture. 1996;16(8):1-3.
Hou Yu-duo1, at al. Experimental Study of Fire Needle Intervention in the Treatment of Hypothyroidism with Western Medicine. Journal of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 2011
Shao Wei Weng, et al. Treating hypothyroidism with moxibustion. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture. 1984
Wang Xiu Jie, et al. Treating coma due to myxedema (coma due to hypothyroidism) with acupuncture. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 1998;14(4)
ABC news have published a video on menopausal hot flashes and acupuncture. We had a number of positive studies recently on hot flashes and acupuncture. Among them hot flashes in experienced by breast cancer patients (a side effect of estrogen-antagonist treatment). Acupuncture has also been shown to be effective for hot flashes experienced by men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer (a side effect of LH-RH agonists and Antiandrogens). Ask me about the studies in the comments if interested.
Short-term acupuncture treatment may result in long-term improvement in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients. That’s the conclusion of a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Pain.
The researchers have followed up patients with carpal tunnel syndrome after 7 and 13 months. The patients were divided into two groups. One group of patients had taken steroids for one month. Another group had one moth of acupuncture. The acupuncture group had a significantly better improvement throughout the 1-year follow-up period.
The findings are inline with research on Carpal Tunnel syndrome and acupuncture published in The Clinical journal of pain in 2009.
A dramatic improvement showed following acupressure for complex regional pain syndrome is reflected in these images below:
This is not an x-ray, it is a bone scan. A radioactive substance injected into one of blood vessels shows an increased circulation to the joints in the affected area. And following a course of acupressure the bone scan looks almost normal!
At World Congress of Pain held in Montréal, Canada, Acupuncture was featured in numerous presentations. Acupuncture was also spotlighted in the plenary session.
Neuroscientist Ji-sheng Han, director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at Peking University and founder of the Chinese Association for the Study of Pain talked about his new studies and perspective on evaluating acupuncture vs placebo:
Just inserting needles under the skin does not work, at least not in rats which are impervious to sham treatments that can nonetheless get results (placebo) in humans. More »
At World Congress of Pain held in Montréal, Canada, Acupuncture was featured in numerous presentations. I will cover the studies in more detail in another post, but there is a quick observation I would like to share here.
As far as physical therapies are concerned, acupuncture was a hand down winner in terms of number of studies presented at the congress: there were 14 abstracts on acupuncture presented, but only 4 for physiotherapy, 1 for osteopathy and none for chiropractic.
This illustrates how much interest and attention acupuncture is receiving from the scientists compared to other modalities.