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Home > Newsletters > October 2009 > Recent Research

Points - Recent Research

Acupuncture for Nasal Congestion

Clinical and Endocrinological Changes after Electro-Acupuncture Treatment in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Antiproliferative Activities of Five Chinese Herbs and Active Compounds in Elephantopus Scaber (Tu Gong Ying)

Acupuncture for Nasal Congestion

Sertel S, Bergmann Z, Ratzlaff K, Baumann I, Greten HJ, Plinkert PK.

BACKGROUND: Nasal congestion is one of the most common complaints dealt with in otorhinolaryngology. Side effects of decongestants are frequently seen in patients with chronic nasal congestion. This leads to an increasing demand of alternative treatments such as acupuncture. Future studies on acupuncture should aim at objectifying effects by both physical measuring and double blinding. Therefore, we were interested in whether these effects can potentially be measured as increase in nasal airflow (NAF) in ventus ("wind") disease of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). METHODS: Twenty-four patients with a history of nasal congestion due to hypertrophic inferior turbinates or chronic sinusitis without polyposis were additionally diagnosed according to the Heidelberg model of TCM. They were asked to score the severity of their nasal congestion on a visual analog scale(VAS). The acupuncturist was blinded according to the Heidelberg blinding assay. NAF was measured by using active anterior rhinomanometry (ARM). Specific verum acupoints according to the Chinese medical diagnosis were tested against nonspecific control acupoints. VAS and NAF were scored and measured before and 15 and 30 minutes after acupuncture. RESULTS: Control acupuncture showed a significant improvement in VAS and a deterioration of NAF. Verum acupuncture showed highly significant improvements in VAS and NAF. In addition, verum acupuncture improved NAF and VAS significantly over time. CONCLUSION: Our control and verum acupoints fulfill the condition of a control and verum treatment, respectively. Measuring NAF by RRM and scoring VAS are possible and reflect acupuncture effects in vivo.

Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2009 Sep 18.    

Source: PubMed


Clinical and Endocrinological Changes after Electro-Acupuncture Treatment in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Ahsin S, et al. Department of Physiology, Army Medical College Rawalpindi, Pakistan; Department of Natural Sciences, School of Health and Social Science, Middlesex University, UK.

Neurobiological mechanisms invoking the release of endogenous opioids and depression of stress hormone release are believed to be the basis of acupuncture analgesia. This study compared plasma beta-endorphin and cortisol levels with self assessment scores of intensity of pain, before and after 10 days of electro-acupuncture treatment in patients suffering from chronic pain as a result of osteoarthritis knees. Forty patients of either sex over 40 years with primary osteoarthritis knee were recruited into a single-blinded, sham-controlled study. For electro-acupuncture group the points were selected according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridian Theory. In the sham group, needles were inserted at random points away from true acupoints and no current was passed. Both groups were treated for 10 days with one session every day lasting for 20-25min. Pre- and post-treatment Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) index of osteoarthritis knee and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain were recorded and blood samples were taken for the measurement of plasma cortisol and beta-endorphin levels. Following electro-acupuncture treatment there was a significant improvement in WOMAC index and VAS (p=0.001), a significant rise in plasma beta-endorphin (p=0.001), and a significant fall in plasma cortisol (p=0.016). In conclusion, electro-acupuncture resulted in an improvement in pain, stiffness and disability. Of clinical importance is that an improvement in objective measures of pain and stress/pain associated biomarkers was shown above that of a sham treatment; hence demonstrating acupuncture associated physiological changes beyond that of the placebo effects.

Pain. 2009 Sep 17.   


Antiproliferative Activities of Five Chinese Herbs and Active Compounds in Elephantopus Scaber (Tu Gong Ying) 

Su M, et al. Department of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

Extracts and fractions prepared from five medicinal herbs used to treat cancer in Chinese folk medicine were tested for their antiproliferative activities on five cancer cell lines using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The MTT results revealed that the ethanolic extracts possessed stronger antiproliferative activities than the corresponding aqueous ones. The bioactive fractions of the ethanolic extracts were mostly found in n-hexane and/or ethyl acetate fractions, which by TLC analysis were shown to contain terpenes and/or phenolic compounds. The ethyl acetate fraction from the ethanolic extract of Elephantopus scaber showed the highest effect with IC50 values of less than 25 microg/mL on three susceptible cell lines, namely, PC-3 (human prostate carcinoma cell), CNE (human nasopharyngeal carcinoma epithelial cell) and HL-60 (human acute promyelocytic leukemia cell). Further isolation and analysis of this fraction led to the identification of three sesquiterpene lactones, two flavonoids and five triterpenes. MTT results showed that the sesquiterpene lactones were the most effective group with IC50 values ranging from 0.9 to 7.5 microM while the flavonoids possessed moderate to strong effect with IC50 values ranging from 17.3 to 42.6 microM. However, the triterpenes displayed weak effect with IC50 values larger than 50 microM. Among the active compounds, deoxyelephantopin, a sesquiterpene lactone, exhibited the strongest effect on the PC-3, CNE and HL-60 cells, with IC50 values of 4.6, 2.6 and 0.9 microM, respectively. Flow cytometric analysis showed that treatment with deoxyelephantopin caused subG-1 population augmentation in PC-3, CNE and HL-60 cells, suggesting apoptosis was induced in these cells.

Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Aug;4(8):1025-30.

Source: PubMed


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