Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Chinese medicine double chances childless couples conceiving"

"Couples with fertility problems are twice as likely to get pregnant using traditional Chinese medicine as western drugs, say researchers."

"They found a two-fold improvement in pregnancy rates over just four months of treatment from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.
At least six million Britons have consulted a Western or traditional Chinese herbal practitioner in the last two years, according to Ipsos Mori research.
Previous research suggests acupuncture may help some childless couples to conceive.
The latest study from researchers at Adelaide University, Australia, reviewed eight clinical trials, 13 other studies and case reports comparing the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with western drugs or IVF treatment."

"The review funded by the Australian government included 1,851 women with infertility problems, says a report in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Review of the clinical trials alone found a 3.5 rise in pregnancies over a four-month period among women using TCM compared with western medicine. 
Other data covering 616 women within the review showed 50 per cent of women having TCM got pregnant compared with 30 per cent of those receiving IVF treatment.
TCM is far less expensive than IVF treatment and less stressful

The overall analysis concluded there was a two-fold increase in the likelihood of getting pregnant in a four-month period for women using TCM compared with orthodox approaches.
The study’s authors said ‘Our meta-analysis suggests traditional Chinese herbal medicine to be more effective in the treatment of female infertility - achieving on average a 60 per cent pregnancy rate over four months compared with 30 per cent achieved with standard western drug treatment.’
The study said the difference appeared to be due to the careful analysis of the menstrual cycle – the period when it is possible for a woman to conceive – by TCM practitioners.
It said ‘Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle integral to TCM diagnosis appears to be fundamental to the successful treatment of female infertility.’

Dr Karin Ried of the university’s school of population health and clinical practice, who led the study, said infertility affects one in six couples and even after investigations 20 per cent of infertility remains ‘unexplained’.
She said TCM recognises many more ‘menstrual disturbances’ than conventional medicine, is far less expensive than IVF treatment and less stressful.
She said ‘Infertility issues can be treated with the integration of TCM and contemporary medicine to minimise the financial and emotional strain on people.’
Geeta Nargund, medical director of Create fertility clinic in London’s Harley Street, who uses a kinder form of IVF called in-vitro maturation or IVM which spares the woman exposure to drug hormones, said the study findings should be treated with caution.

She said ‘We should be doing everything we can to use the least invasive methods to help patients get pregnant, if they don’t work then we can move on to drugs and more invasive approaches.
‘What we desperately need is detailed research into these alternative approaches that monitors what is happening to the body’s hormone systems and ovaries so we can see what difference they are making.
‘But we should not lose sight of the fact that Chinese herbs are potent medicines. They are regarded as natural but they have powerful effects on the body which can include a syndrome that mimics the over-stimulation we sometimes see from western IVF drugs.

‘There are potential risks from using herbs and people should be aware of that’ she added.

To read this full article please click here

Reposted by Sharon Wyse L.Ac.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Does Acupuncture Help Depression? - Researchers Find It Regulates Zinc and Copper Levels

Acupuncture has been found helpful for a variety of psychiatric issues including depression and anxiety.  Depression is a common reason for working with an acupuncturist, particularly for those where western medicines either have too many side effects, were not effective or were not desirable for any number of reasons.  While we see benefit both in clinical studies and in practical day to day observation, the underlying mechanisms for how acupuncture helps with depression are not well understood.  Researchers from the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine within Xiamen University in China recently conducted an animal study to evaluate biochemical changes from electro-acupuncture to better understand how acupuncture helps.
Serum levels of copper, zinc, calcium and magnesium have relationships to psychiatric imbalances.  In this study electro acupuncture was used to see how these levels changes from treatment to help evaluate why it is helpful in a human patient.  Researchers used 40 male rats with depression and were divided into a control group, an electro-acupuncture group and a maprotiline group (a western tricyclic antidepressant medication).  Acupuncture points used were GV 20, Yintang, ST 40 and LV 3 for 15 minutes each session every other day for 3 weeks.  Then serum levels were checked.
Researchers found that electroacupuncture led to decreases in serum copper levels (associated with better psychiatric states) and increases in serum zinc levels (the copper/zinc ratio being related to mental health) with no significant changes in calcium or magnesium levels.  Researchers conclude that by regulate zinc and copper levels electroacupuncture may be helpful for depression.
Reposted from yinyanghouse.com