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Home > Newsletters > August 2006 > Recent Research

Points - Recent Research

Electroacupuncture Elicits Dual Effects: Stimulation of Delayed Gastric Emptying and Inhibition of Accelerated Colonic Transit Induced by Restraint Stress in Rats

Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis

Effectiveness of a Chinese Herbal Medicine Preparation in the Treatment of Cough in Uncomplicated Upper Respiratory Tract Infection


Electroacupuncture Elicits Dual Effects: Stimulation of Delayed Gastric Emptying and Inhibition of Accelerated Colonic Transit Induced by Restraint Stress in Rats

Iwa M, et al. Department of Surgery, Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, 27705, USA.

Acupuncture has been used for treating functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Animal studies have demonstrated that acupuncture antagonized various stress-induced responses. We investigated the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) at ST-36 (Zusanli; lower limb) on stress-induced alteration of GI motor activities. Solid gastric emptying was significantly delayed by restraint stress ( 29.6+/-2.4%; n=7) compared to that of controls (60.0+/-2.5%; n=8). Delayed gastric emptying was significantly improved by EA at ST-36 (47.2+/-1.8%). Intracisternal (IC) injection of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF; 1 mug) delayed gastric emptying to 25.4+/-3.1%, which was also improved by EA at ST-36, to 53.0+/-7.1% (n=8). The stimulatory effect of EA on stress-induced delayed gastric emptying was abolished by atropine (17.6+/-1.9%) but not by guanethidine (42.2+/-2.3% ). Colonic transit was significantly accelerated by restraint stress (GC=7.2+/-0.3; n=8) compared to that of controls (GC=5.2+/-0.2; n=8). Accelerated colonic transit was significantly reduced by EA at ST-36 (GC=4.9+/-0.3 ). IC injection of CRF accelerated colonic transit (GC=6.9+/-0.2), which was also normalized by EA at ST-36 (GC=4.7+/-0.2). The inhibitory effect of EA on stress-induced acceleration of colonic transit was not affected by guanethidine (GC= 4.6+/-0.3). In conclusion, EA at ST-36 showed dual effects: stimulation of stress-induced delayed gastric emptying and inhibition of stress-induced acceleration of colonic transit. The stimulatory effect of EA on stress-induced delayed gastric emptying is mediated via cholinergic pathways. The inhibitory effect of EA on stress-induced acceleration of colonic transit is independent of the sympathetic pathway.

Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Jul 26

Source PubMed

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Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis

Scharf HP, et al. University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

BACKGROUND: Despite the popularity of acupuncture, evidence of its efficacy for reducing pain remains equivocal. OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA) compared with sham acupuncture (needling at defined nonacupuncture points) and conservative therapy in patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee. DESIGN: Randomized, controlled trial. SETTING: 315 primary care practices staffed by 320 practitioners with at least 2 years' experience in acupuncture. PATIENTS: 1007 patients who had had chronic pain for at least 6 months due to osteoarthritis of the knee (American College of Rheumatology [ACR] criteria and Kellgren-Lawrence score of 2 or 3). Interventions: Up to 6 physiotherapy sessions and as-needed anti-inflammatory drugs plus 10 sessions of TCA, 10 sessions of sham acupuncture, or 10 physician visits within 6 weeks. Patients could request up to 5 additional sessions or visits if the initial treatment was viewed as being partially successful. MEASUREMENTS: Success rate, as defined by at least 36% improvement in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score at 26 weeks. Additional end points were WOMAC score and global patient assessment. RESULTS: Success rates were 53.1% for TCA, 51.0% for sham acupuncture, and 29.1% for conservative therapy. Acupuncture groups had higher success rates than conservative therapy groups (relative risk for TCA compared with conservative therapy, 1.75 [95% CI, 1.43 to 2.13]; relative risk for sham acupuncture compared with conservative therapy, 1.73 [CI, 1.42 to 2.11]). There was no difference between TCA and sham acupuncture (relative risk, 1.01 [CI, 0.87 to 1.17]). LIMITATIONS: There was no blinding between acupuncture and traditional therapy and no monitoring of acupuncture compliance with study protocol. In general, practitioner-patient contacts were less intense in the conservative therapy group than in the TCA and sham acupuncture groups. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with physiotherapy and as-needed anti-inflammatory drugs, addition of either TCA or sham acupuncture led to greater improvement in WOMAC score at 26 weeks. No statistically significant difference was observed between TCA and sham acupuncture, suggesting that the observed differences could be due to placebo effects, differences in intensity of provider contact, or a physiologic effect of needling regardless of whether it is done according to TCA principles.

Ann Intern Med. 2006 Jul 4; 145(1):12-20

Source: PubMed

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Effectiveness of a Chinese Herbal Medicine Preparation in the Treatment of Cough in Uncomplicated Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Wong WC, et al.

ABSTRACT: Background Rigorous scientific and well-designed clinical trials to evaluate the effect of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is lacking. We, therefore, designed this study to evaluate the effectiveness of a commonly used TCM preparation in treating acute cough of uncomplicated URTI in adults and to search for a safe, effective and affordable alternative treatment for this common condition. Methods A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-control study comparing this TCM preparation with a placebo was conducted in 82 patients who attended the Family Medicine Training Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong between November and December, 2003. The TCM herbal preparation includes nine commonly used TCM herbs for cough such as chuanbei, fangfeng, jiegeng, gancao and baibu (see Table 1). The treatment lasted for 5 days and patients were followed-up for another 6 days. Patients were asked to fill in a cough score and validated Leicester cough questionnaire (LCQ). Results 62 patients ( 75.6%) had completed the trial and no adverse effects were reported. Both intervened and control groups had improved in cough score and LCQ in the follow-up period, despite no overall statistical significance was observed in the differences of scores between the two groups. Women taking TCM had significantly fewer problems with sputum production (p= 0.03) and older subjects (>35 years of age) reported a significant improvement in hoarseness (p=0.05) when compared to those using placebo. Conclusions TCM was well-tolerated and received among the Hong Kong Chinese population. This TCM preparation appeared to have some benefits in the treatment of cough. Future research on TCM should concentrate more on commonly encountered conditions such as UTRI and cough. Our experience on the sensitivity of assessment tools used in detecting subtle differences in an otherwise self-limiting illness and clinical trial methodology when applying the underlying theory of how TCM works in disease management was invaluable.

Cough. 2006 Jun 22;2(1):5

Source: PubMed

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