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Acupuncture improves quality of life of patients exhausted by chemotherapy

People exhausted by chemotherapy felt better and had the energy to walk to the shops and to socialise, so their quality of life improved significantly after six sessions of acupuncture in a study conducted by Alex Molassiotis, professor of cancer and supportive care at the University of Manchester.

In this randomised placebo-controlled trial, the chemotherapy patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups to receive either (1) acupuncture or (2) acupressure or (3) sham acupressure.

The acupuncture group (1) received six 20 minute sessions spread over three weeks.

Patients in the acupressure group (2) were taught to massage the same acupuncture points.

The sham acupressure (3) patients were taught the same massage technique, but were told to massage points on not associated with energy and fatigue.

Patients receiving acupuncture (1) reported a 36% improvement in fatigue, whilst those in the acupressure group (2) improved by 19%. The sham acupressure group (3) reported a mere 0.6% improvement.

Reference: Complementary Therapies in Medicine (DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2006.09.009)

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Acupuncture: Reduced anxiety, less depressed, reduced cravings

Acupuncture for Women With Concurrent Substance Use and Anxiety/Depression
In this controlled trial, women receiving acupuncture reported

  • having reduced physiological cravings for substances,
  • felt significantly less depressed, less anxious, and
  • were better able to reflect on and resolve difficulties

than women in the control group.

It was found that auricular acupuncture, as an adjunct therapy to a comprehensive psychoeducational treatment program for women with addictions, shows promise in being an effective, more viable treatment alternative to anti-anxiety drugs anxiolytics.

This study was published in Family & Community Health April/June 2007 Volume 30 Number 2 Pages 112 – 120.


Acupuncture for pregnancy depression

In a study carried out at Stanford University, 61 women with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments:
(i). Individually tailored true acupuncture designed to treat their depression,
(ii). True acupuncture but with points not chosen to treat the depression, and
(iii). Massage treatment (included to provide a control for attention, physical contact, relaxation and respite from daily stress).

Acute phase treatment was given for twelve sessions over eight weeks, with continued treatment throughout pregnancy for those who responded.

As far as possible the acupuncture treatment was double-blinded, with the treatment
to be given by a treating acupuncturist determined by a different (assessing) acupuncturist. The assessment, treatment design, needle insertion, and needle stimulation were all standardised. Response rates at the end of the acute
phase were:
68.8% in the depression specific acupuncture,
47.4% in the non depression-specific acupuncture, and
31.6% in the massage group.

The study also showed that successful treatment of depression during pregnancy offers protection from postpartum depression.

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Fibromyalgia :: Acupuncture effectively relieves pain, anxiety and tiredness

Fibromyalgia, is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, joint stiffness and sleep disturbance.

No cure is known and available treatments are only partially effective.

According to a research team led by Dr. David Martin, an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia patients who received acupuncture reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.

Acupuncture was also well tolerated with minimal side effects, the researchers said in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The study involved 50 fibromyalgia patients enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial to determine if acupuncture improved their symptoms. Twenty-five in the acupuncture group and 25 in the control group.

In the acupuncture group, total fibromyalgia symptoms were significantly improved compared with the control group during the study period.

Fatigue and anxiety were the most significantly improved symptoms during the follow-up period.

“We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety,” the researchers concluded.


Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor and Zoloft

Antidepressants Get FDA Warning

antidepressants-depressionAgency’s Recommendations on Suicid

e Risk
Include Adults as Well as Children

March 23, 2004; Page D1

The Food and Drug Administration sharply stepped up warnings about possible risks to patients taking antidepressant drugs, asking doctors, families and caregivers to watch closely for signs of increasing depression or suicidal thinking.

The FDA asked the makers of 10 major antidepressant drugs, including versions of Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor and Zoloft, to place more detailed, explicit warnings on the labels for their medicines. The FDA didn’t order the manufacturers to change their labels, but urged them to do so voluntarily. The new cautions would ask doctors to monitor patients for a variety of symptoms from insomnia and irritability to hostility and panic attacks that might possibly signal greater risks.

The announcement comes more than a month after an FDA advisory committee urged the agency to provide clearer warnings about possible risk of suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. Still, yesterday’s development went well beyond the earlier recommendations, and included adults as well.

The most immediate result may be that doctors, particularly those who don’t focus on pediatric psychiatry, become more cautious in how they prescribe antidepressants for kids and teenagers. They could start prescribing smaller doses and being slower to step up the amounts of medicine.

“People might wait until they’ve been in talking therapy a little bit, before trying drugs,” said Richard Malone, a child psychiatrist at Drexel University College of Medicine, who was a member of the FDA advisory committee.