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Points - Recent Research
Laser Acupuncture for Depression: A Randomised Double Blind Controlled Trial Using Low Intensity Laser Intervention
Acupuncture and Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Pilot Study
Electroacupuncture Alleviates Stress-Induced Visceral Hypersensitivity through an Opioid System in Rats

Laser Acupuncture for Depression: A Randomised Double Blind Controlled Trial Using Low Intensity Laser Intervention

Quah-Smith I, et al. School of Psychiatry University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia. Electronic address:

INTRODUCTION: Trials of acupuncture for the treatment of depression have produced mixed results. We examined the effectiveness of laser acupuncture compared with placebo acupuncture for the treatment of major depression. METHODS: A randomised, double blinded, placebo controlled trial was conducted in Sydney, Australia. Participants aged 18-50 years with DSM-IV major depressive disorder were eligible to join the study. Forty-seven participants were randomised to receive laser acupuncture or placebo laser at acupoints LR14, CV14, LR8, HT7 and KI3. The intervention was administered twice a week for 4 weeks and once a week for another four weeks, for a total of 12 sessions. The primary outcome assessed the change in severity of depression using the Hamilton-Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), and secondary outcomes assessed the change in severity of depression using the Quick Inventory for Depression-Self Reporting (QID-SR), the Quick Inventory for Depression-Clinician (QIDS-CL), with outcomes assessed at eight weeks. The treatment response (greater than 50% improvement in HAM-D) and remission (HAM-D<8) were analysed. RESULTS: At eight weeks participants showed greater improvement in the active laser group on the primary and clinician-rated secondary outcome measures (HAM-D (mean 9.28 (SD 6.55) vs. mean 14.14 (SD 4.78 p<0.001); QIDS-CL (mean 8.12 (SD 6.61 versus 12.68 (mean SD 3.77)) p<0.001). The self-report QIDS-SR scores improved in both groups but did not differ significantly between the groups. In the active laser group, QIDS-SR scores remained significantly lower than baseline at 3 months follow-up. Response rates (active laser, placebo laser) on ITT (intention to treat) analyses were 72.0% and 18.2% (p<0.001), respectively. Remission rates on ITT analyses (active laser, placebo laser) were 56.0% and 4.5% (p<0.001). Transient fatigue was the only adverse effect reported. LIMITATIONS: There was no follow-up for the placebo group at one and 3 months. CONCLUSION: Laser acupuncture showed a clinically and statistically significant benefit with reducing symptoms of depression on objective measures.

J Affect Disord.2013 Jan 18. pii: S0165-0327(12)00825-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.058.

Source: PubMed


Acupuncture and Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Pilot Study

Sardella A, et al. Department of Biomedical Sciences, Surgery and Dentistry, Unit of Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Gerodontology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic condition most common in middle-aged and elderly women, with prevalence rates in the general population ranging from 0.5% to 5%. Defined by the International Headache Society as "an intraoral burning sensation for which no medical or dental cause can be found," BMS is considered a form of neuropathic pain. The management of BMS remains unsatisfactory. In this pilot study, we investigated the use of acupuncture in a small group of BMS patients. The study group, after 4 refusals, was composed of 10 BMS patients (9 females and 1 male; mean age, 65.2 years; range, from 48 to 80 years; mean duration of BMS, 2.6 years; SD 0.8 years). Oral pain/burning sensation (primary outcome) was measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS). Health-related quality of life (secondary outcome) was measured using the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). Acupuncture treatment lasted 8 weeks and consisted of 20 sessions. Patients reported a mean reduction in pain of 0.99 points on the VAS (max 2.1-min 0.1), which, although slight, was statistically significant (Wilcoxon test P < 0.009). No significant improvement in the overall score for quality of life was observed, although subjects receiving acupuncture treatment seemed better able cope with their oral symptoms.

Pain Pract. 2013 Jan 21. doi: 10.1111/papr.12031.

Source: PubMed


Electroacupuncture Alleviates Stress-Induced Visceral Hypersensitivity through an Opioid System in Rats

Zhou YY, et al. Yuan-Yuan Zhou, Ying Xiao, Xing-Hong Jiang, Guang-Yin Xu, Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Neurobiology, Key Laboratory of Pain Research and Therapy, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, Jiangsu Province, China.

AIM: To investigate whether stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity could be alleviated by electroacupuncture (EA) and whether EA effect was mediated by endogenous opiates. METHODS: Six to nine week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were used in this study. Visceral hypersensitivity was induced by a 9-d heterotypic intermittent stress (HIS) protocol composed of 3 randomly stressors, which included cold restraint stress at 4 C for 45 min, water avoidance stress for 60 min, and forced swimming stress for 20 min, in adult male rats. The extent of visceral hypersensitivity was quantified by electromyography or by abdominal withdrawal reflex (AWR) scores of colorectal distension at different distention pressures (20 mmHg, 40 mmHg, 60 mmHg and 80 mmHg). AWR scores either 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 were obtained by a blinded observer. EA or sham EA was performed at classical acupoint ST-36 (Zu-San-Li) or BL-43 (Gao-Huang) in both hindlimbs of rats for 30 min. Naloxone (NLX) or NLX methiodide (m-NLX) was administered intraperitoneally to HIS rats in some experiments. RESULTS: HIS rats displayed an increased sensitivity to colorectal distention, which started from 6 h (the first measurement), maintained for 24 h, and AWR scores returned to basal levels at 48 h and 7 d after HIS compared to pre-HIS baseline at different distention pressures. The AWR scores before HIS were 0.6 0.2, 1.3 0.2, 1.9 0.2 and 2.3 0.2 for 20 mmHg, 40 mmHg, 60 mmHg and 80 mmHg distention pressures, respectively. Six hours after termination of the last stressor, the AWR scores were 2.0 0.1, 2.5 0.1, 2.8 0.2 and 3.5 0.2 for 20 mmHg, 40 mmHg, 60 mmHg and 80 mmHg distention pressures, respectively. EA given at classical acupoint ST-36 in both hindlimbs for 30 min significantly attenuated the hypersensitive responses to colorectal distention in HIS rats compared with sham EA treatment [AWRs at 20 mmHg: 2.0 0.2 vs 0.7 0.1, P = 4.23 711 E-4; AWRs at 40 mmHg: 2.6 0.2 vs 1.5 0.2, P = 0.00 163; AWRs at 60 mmHg: 3.1 0.2 vs 1.9 0.1, P = 0.003; AWRs at 80 mmHg: 3.6 0.1 vs 2.4 0.2, P = 0.0023; electromyographic (EMG) at 20 mmHg: 24 4.7 vs 13.8 3.5; EMG at 40 mmHg: 60.2 6.6 vs 30 4.9, P = 0.00 523; EMG at 60 mmHg: 83 10 vs 39.8 5.9, P = 0.00 029; EMG at 80 mmHg: 94.3 10.8 vs 49.6 5.9, P = 0.00 021]. In addition, EA at the acupuncture point BL-43 with same parameters did not alleviate visceral hypersensitivity in HIS rats. EA in healthy rats also did not have any effect on AWR scores to colorectal distention at distention pressures of 20 and 40 mmHg. The EA-mediated analgesic effect was blocked by pretreatment with NLX in HIS rats [AWR scores pretreated with NLX vs normal saline (NS) were 2.0 vs 0.70 0.20, 2.80 0.12 vs 1.50 0.27, 3 vs 2.00 0.15 and 3.60 0.18 vs 2.60 0.18 for 20 mmHg, 40 mmHg, 60 mmHg and 80 mmHg; P = 0.0087, 0.0104, 0.0117 and 0.0188 for 20, 40, 60 and 80 mmHg, respectively]. Furthermore, EA-mediated analgesic effect was completely reversed by administration of m-NLX, a peripherally restricted opioid antagonist (EMG pretreated with m-NLX vs NS were 30.84 4.39 vs 13.33 3.88, 74.16 9.04 vs 36.28 8.01, 96.45 11.80 vs 50.19 8.28, and 111.59 13.79 vs 56.42 8.43 for 20 mmHg, 40 mmHg, 60 mmHg and 80 mmHg; P = 0.05 026, 0.00 034, 0.00 005, 0.000 007 for 20 mmHg, 40 mmHg, 60 mmHg and 80 mmHg, respectively). CONCLUSION: EA given at classical acupoint ST-36 alleviates stress-induced visceral pain, which is most likely mediated by opioid pathways in the periphery.

World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Dec 28;18(48):7201-11. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i48.7201.

Source: PubMed


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