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Home > Newsletters > August 2009 > Recent Research

Points - Recent Research

Acupuncture Improves Balance Function in Stroke Patients

Anxiety as a Factor Influencing Physiological Effects of Acupuncture 

Stimulating Effects of Fermented Radix Astragali on Hyaluronic Acid Production in Human Skin Cells

Acupuncture Improves Balance Function in Stroke Patients

Liu SY, et al. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan.
The disturbance of balance function is one of main etiology resulting in falling down in stroke patients. A number of studies report that acupuncture may improve the motor function of stroke patients. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of acupuncture on balance function. We designed a single-blinded, controlled, randomized study. A total of 30 stroke patients were randomized into experimental and control groups. Experimental groups received acupuncture treatment accompanied by the manual twisting of needles and obtaining of qi (the subjects experienced sensations of soreness, numbness, swelling and heaviness, while the acupuncturist experienced a sensation of needle resistance), whereas the control group did not receive manual twisting of needles and without obtaining of qi. All of the subjects were first-time stroke patients; infarction location was limited to either the left or right hemisphere, and all subjects were able to walk for at least 6 meters. Acupuncture stimulation (AS) was applied to Baihui (GV 20) acupoint as well as to 4 spirit acupoints (1.5 cun anterior, posterior, left and right laterals from Baihui acupoint, respectively) for 20 min. Balance function outcome measures were: (1) the displacement area of the patient's center of gravity; (2) the time taken for a patient to stand vertically from a seated position; (3) the time taken for a patient to walk a distance of 6 meters; (4) muscle strength of both lower extremities. Results indicated that the displacement area from the center of gravity decreased in the experimental group, but not in the control group. There was greater reduction in the displacement area in the experimental group than in the control group. Following AS, the time taken to reach a standing position from a seated position, as well as the time taken to walk 6 meters was decreased equally in both the experimental and control groups. The muscle strength of the hip flexor and knee extensor were increased in the paralyzed and non-paralyzed sides of patients in the experimental group, but not in the control group. The results of the present study suggest that acupuncture stimulation may induce an immediate effect that improves balance function in stroke patients.
Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(3):483-94.

Source: PubMed


Anxiety as a Factor Influencing Physiological Effects of Acupuncture

Vickland V, et al. Department of Medical and Molecular Biosciences, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW 2007, Australia.
PURPOSE: This study investigated the influence of manual acupuncture on heart rate variability and the role which Anxiety can play in modifying physiological outcomes. METHOD: Analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) was used as a sensitive and a reliable indicator of the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic regulation of the heartbeat. Two groups of healthy female subjects were recruited into the study. The control group (n=30) attended one experimental session where no acupuncture treatment was used. The experimental group (n=30) attended three sessions in which unilateral manual stimulation of acupuncture points LU7 and KD6 was performed. RESULTS: The stimulation of the acupuncture points LU7 and KD6 was not associated with significant changes in HRV. Previous familiarity with acupuncture did not influence the outcomes but level of Anxiety had a strong impact on physiological outcomes. Stimulation of LU7 acupuncture point counterbalanced naturally occurring sympathetic increase over time and had relaxing and harmonizing effect on the heart rhythm without influencing subjective perception of increased Anxiety. Stimulation of KD6 acupuncture point had sympathetic influence on HRV in subjects with low "trait" anxiety and this influence was nullified by simultaneous stimulation of LU7 acupuncture point. CONCLUSIONS: It seems likely that the level of Anxiety can modify HRV during acupuncture treatment and up to 40 min after the treatment. Psychological factors such as Anxiety level should be considered as having important influence on physiological response to acupuncture.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2009 Aug;15(3):124-8. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Source: PubMed


Stimulating Effects of Fermented Radix Astragali on Hyaluronic Acid Production in Human Skin Cells

Hu Q, et al. Department of Renal Medicine, King's College London, London, UK. 

BACKGROUND: We recently developed high-throughput assays of inflammation-independent anti-fibrotic activities based on TGF-beta1-induced total collagen accumulation and nodule formation in normal rat kidney fibroblasts. METHODS: These assays were applied to examine the anti-fibrotic activities of 21 compounds isolated from plants used in Chinese medicine and methanol extracts of 12 Chinese herbs. Lactate dehydrogenase release assay and cell detachment index were used to monitor cytotoxicity. Changes in fibrogenic molecular markers were observed by reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction and high-content imaging analysis of immunofluorescence. RESULTS: Three flavonoids (quercetin, baicalein and baicalin) and two non-flavonoids (salvianolic acid B and emodin) demonstrated anti-fibrotic activities in both total collagen accumulation and nodule formation assays. The remaining 16 compounds had little anti-fibrotic effect or were cytotoxic. The anti-fibrotic compounds suppressed collagen I expression at both mRNA and protein levels and also variably suppressed alpha-smooth muscle actin expression and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation. Methanol extracts of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge and Rheum palmatum L., which are rich sources of baicalein, baicalin, salvianolic acid B and emodin, respectively, also showed in vitro anti-fibrotic activities. CONCLUSIONS: Five herbal compounds and three herbal extracts have in vitro anti-fibrotic activities. These data warrant further studies on these anti-fibrotic entities and suggest it a promising strategy to discover new anti-fibrotic drugs by screening more plant materials. 

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2009 May 27.

Source: PubMed


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