Home > Lifestyle > Health
Sunday March 2, 2014 MYT 7:28:00 AM
Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 8:09:22 PM
Researchers are studying the effects of acupuncture in inflammation in the body.-AFP
NEW research published in the journal Nature Medicine details a direct connection between acupuncture and the treatment of sepsis, a condition stemming from exposure to infection in hospital intensive care units.
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese remedy, has been used in a variety of contexts, including as a chronic pain treatment, a weight-loss aid and a complement to in-vitro fertilisation.
For this study, doctors turned their attention to sepsis, a major cause of hospital deaths.
“In many cases, patients don’t die because of the infection. They die because of the inflammatory disorder they develop after the infection,” says lead researcher Dr Luis Ulloa, an immunologist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, United States. “So we hoped to study how to control the inflammatory disorder.”
One of the body’s major nerves, the vagus nerve, is responsible for reducing inflammation in the body when stimulated.
Researchers wanted to find out whether electroacupuncture could help reduce inflammation and organ injury in septic mice.
Electroacupuncture is a form of the ancient Chinese remedy that enhances the effect of needle treatment via small electric currents. This treatment is already FDA-approved for human patient use.
In the study, molecules known as cytokines limited inflammation in septic mice who were stimulated with electroacupucture, as the researchers predicted. Half of the mice who received the treatment survived for at least one week, while those who did not receive the treatment died.
Furthering their research, Dr Ulloa and his team found the treatment ceased to work when the adrenal glands were removed, prompting them to seek an alternative treatment that would work for patients with lowfunctioning adrenal glands.
The team ultimately found that fenoldopam, a drug that mimics the effects of dopamine, resulted in reducing sepsis-related deaths by 40%. This was the case even when electroacupuncture was not used.
“I don’t even know whether in the future the best solution for sepsis will be electroacupuncture or some medicine that will mimic electroacupuncture,” said Dr Ulloa.
The immunologist remains hopeful that both electroacupuncture and fenoldopam/similar drugs have potential to treat sepsis among other inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Several other studies have looked into the anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture, including one published in January 2013 that found acupuncture “reduced cerebral infarction and alleviated inflammatory responses”, and anoth er from February 2013, that found acupuncture “may exert anti-inflammatory effects through a complex neuro-endocrinoimmunological network of action”, also saying that more research was required. – AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Acupuncture may not be effective for knee pain
What causes inflammation in our bodies?
The original version
Four anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating
More evidence of Mediterranean diet's heart-healthy benefits
Exploring the latest developments in fighting Alzheimer’s
High triglycerides linked with prostate cancer recurrence
Calorie restriction could slow ageing and preserve memory
Cook at home if you want a healthy diet, says study
Acid reflux explained
At what cost, healthcare in Malaysia?
UPDATE 4-Tunisians vote for first freely elected president of post-Ben Ali era
Vintage Federer seals first Davis Cup for Switzerland
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)