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Home > Newsletters > January 2007 > Recent Research

Points - Recent Research

Acupuncture for Postmenopausal Hot Flashes

Study on Brain Response to Acupuncture by Functional MRI

Modern Biological Basis of TCM Theory that "Kidney Nourishes Marrow" and Brain is "Sea of Marrow"


Acupuncture for Postmenopausal Hot Flashes

Nir Y, et al. Stanford University School of Medicine, United States.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether individually tailored acupuncture is an effective treatment option for reducing postmenopausal hot flashes and improving quality of life. METHODS: In a randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study, 29 postmenopausal participants averaging at least seven moderate to severe hot flashes per 24h, with a baseline estradiol concentration of less than 50pg/mL and a normal TSH level, were randomized to receive 7 weeks (nine treatment sessions) of either active acupuncture or placebo acupuncture (placebo needles that did not penetrate the skin at sham acupuncture points). Participants recorded hot flashes in logs that were reported daily. Global indices of the severity and frequency of hot flashes were derived from the participants' daily logs. RESULTS: Participants receiving the active treatment had a greater reduction in hot flash severity (24.5+/-30.7%) compared to those receiving placebo (4.4+/-17.1%, P=0.042). Within group repeated measures analyses of variance revealed a significant reduction in hot flash severity in the active (P=0.042), but not in the placebo treatment group (P=0.15). Although there was no significant group difference in the reduction of hot flash frequency between the active (42.4+/-32.2%) and placebo groups (32.0+/-26.5%; P>/=0.352), within group repeated measures analyses of variance revealed that the reduction was statistically significant in both groups (P</=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Standardized, individually tailored acupuncture treatment was associated with significantly greater decrease in the severity, but not the frequency, of hot flashes, in symptomatic postmenopausal women when compared to placebo acupuncture of equal duration. Future, larger scale, studies are needed.

Maturitas. 2006 Dec 18

Source PubMed

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Study on Brain Response to Acupuncture by Functional MRI

Fang SH, et al. Sir Run Shaw Hospital Affiliated to College of Medical Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou. fangsonghua@163.com

OBJECTIVE: To observe the signal changes of brain functional area during needling Sanyinjiao (ST36), Zusanli (SP6) and Yanglingquan (GB34), the three acupoints in three different meridians, in human by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in order to preliminary explore the neural mechanism of acupuncture. METHODS: Needling was complemented with 30 s of maneuver applying followed by 30 s of rest as a circle on an acupoint, and at the same time, fMRI was performed once 5 min and 12 s. Then the same program was repeated with the same mode on another acupoint, until ending the experiment. RESULTS: The commonly activated regions were postcentral gyrus and right inferior frontal gyrus when needling at ST36 and SP6, and the different activated areas included left inferior frontal gyrus, left insula, left inferior parietal lobule, left culmen, left middle temporal gyrus and left middle frontal gyrus, while no cortical signal enhanced region was found when needling at GB34. Signal weakened regions could be found when needling at all the three points, the commonly activated regions were bilateral parahippocampal, hippocampal, callosal gyrus, bilateral praecuneus and cerebellum. CONCLUSION: Brain response in special regions could be obtained by needling at different acupoints.

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2006 Nov;26(11):965-8.

Source: PubMed

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Modern Biological Basis of TCM Theory that "Kidney Nourishes Marrow and Brain is Sea of Marrow

Li L, et al. Xuanwu Hospital of Capital University of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China. linli97@hotmail.com

The theory that "the kidney nourishes marrow and brain is the sea of marrow" has been instructing traditional Chinese medical doctors in preventing and treating dementia in aged people for thousands of years. However, the modern biological basis of this theory has not been systemically studied. In this review, we summarized our serial pharmacological studies on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with Chinese medicinal herbs, using multiple kinds of AD-like animal and cell models. The results show that "kidney-reinforcing" herbs of traditional Chinese medicine play a very important role in the anti-AD effects; and different "kidney-reinforcing" herbs have different effects in brain functions. The common effects of "kidney-reinforcing" herbs are improving cellular energy metabolism, increasing neurotrophic factors and the number of cholinergic neurons, and decreasing neurotoxin production. Based on above results, we propose that the essence of "brain marrow" is the neurons and neurotrophic factors in the brain; "the deficiency of brain marrow" is induced by the decrease in neurotrophic factors and the atrophy and loss of neurons in the brain, thus resulting in cognitive impairment and dementia. The modern biological basis of "reinforcing kidney to replenish marrow" by traditional Chinese medicine includes improving cellular energy metabolism and utilization, enhancing endogenous neurotrophic effects and decreasing neurotoxin production, thus reducing the cell death and increasing the survival and regeneration of neurons.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2006 Sep;31(17):1397-400, 1417.

Source: PubMed

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