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Acupuncture Research

As acupuncture becomes more widely accepted in the West, scientists and clinicians have started large scale studies of acupuncture's effectiveness.

Clinical Trial: Acupuncture and Hypertension

Sponsored by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Although traditional Chinese medicine advocates the use of acupuncture not only to induce analgesia but also to treat essential hypertension, acupuncture's postulated antihypertensive efficacy in humans has not been subjected to rigorous Western scientific testing. Before advocating acupuncture as an effective complementary/alternative medicine strategy for essential hypertension, it is necessary to demonstrate that the beneficial effects of acupuncture are scientifically robust, long-lasting, and explicable in terms of modern scientific mechanisms. In spontaneously hypertensive rats, acupuncture-like electrical stimulation of thinly myelinated (Group III) somatic afferents activates central endorphin (naloxone-sensitive) pathways that elicit long-lasting decreases in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) and blood pressure. The ability to record SNA with microelectrodes in conscious humans provides a new opportunity to test this novel mechanistic hypothesis in patients undergoing electroacupuncture, a modification of the ancient technique that provides a quantifiable and reproducible stimulus to human skeletal muscle afferents. Using a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled design, we will test the following major hypotheses: Electroacupuncture produces a long-lasting reduction in SNA, thereby providing a safe and effective complementary treatment of human hypertension. Given the enormous interest in acupuncture by our lay public, but the paucity of Western scientific data about its efficacy in cardiovascular disorders, our studies in normotensive and hypertensive humans should provide a conceptual framework for deciding whether to accept or reject the large body of Chinese (and Russian) literature advocating acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment of essential hypertension and other cardiovascular disorders (such as heart failure, and myocardial ischemia).

Clinical Trial: Acupuncture and Moxa: A RCT for Chronic Diarrhea in HIV Patients

Sponsored by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

The objective of this study is to test alternative treatment strategies to reduce the frequency of chronic diarrhea among HIV positive individuals. 60 percent of patients with HIV disease in the U.S. will have diarrhea at some point in their illness. Although in general many of the opportunistic infections (OI's) associated with HIV have decreased due to new "drug cocktails", many of these drugs, however, have diarrhea as a side effect. In Asian countries, acupuncture (including moxibustion) has been widely used for the treatment of various gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. However, there are no published studies that test treatment protocols using acupuncture or moxibustion on patients with HIV experiencing chronic diarrhea.

Further Study Details: 

The subjects in the study will be 144 men and women with HIV infection who report experiencing 3 or more episodes of diarrhea (non-pathogen related) per 24 hour period for 3 weeks or more. Subjects will be randomized to one of four experimental intervention conditions: Condition 1 subjects receive true acupuncture and true moxibustion; Condition 2 subjects receive true acupuncture and placebo moxibustion; Condition 3, subjects receive true moxibustion and sham acupuncture; Condition 4( Control Group), subjects receive sham acupuncture and placebo moxibustion. Subjects in Conditions 1,2,3,& 4 will attend 20 scheduled sessions over 24 weeks. Week 1 is a baseline session followed by two sessions per week for weeks 2-8 (sessions 2-15), one session per week for weeks 9, 10, 11 and 12 (sessions 16, 17, 18 & 19) and a final follow-up session at week 24. All subjects will complete daily bowel movement and medication data collection diaries for the duration of the study. Measurement of quality of life and level of functioning will be taken pre-intervention (session 1), week 6 (session 10), week 12 (session 19) and week 24 (session 20). All interventions will be implemented by licensed acupuncturists trained in traditional Chinese medicine. This study is designed to assess the efficacy of two alternative medicine treatments for chronic diarrhea associated with HIV in a prospective, randomized, controlled, blinded, parallel groups study under the intent-to-treat principle. True acupuncture, moxibustion, and combination therapy, in which specific meridian points are stimulated according to protocol, will be compared to each other and with the control group, with one-way ANOVA models for pre-treatment minus post-treatment difference scores for diarrhea frequency and stool consistency as the dependent measures and treatment group assignment (Conditions 1 - 4) as the independent variable. Average pretreatment diarrhea frequency and stool consistency scores will be entered as covariates into these models. Sample size determination for the above analysis, based on preliminary data, with 80% power and a two-tailed type I error rate of .05% by the method of Holm (1979) and a 20% attrition factor indicates the need for 36 subjects assigned to each condition to detect a 0.95-standardized difference between the most extreme experimental conditions.

Clinical Trial: Acupressure to Treat Nausea and Vomiting in HIV/AIDS Patients

Sponsored by National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

The purpose of this study is to see whether acupressure (acupuncture using pressure applied by the hands instead of needles) can help nausea and vomiting in persons with HIV/AIDS.

Further Study Details: 

This is a Phase I trial (a study to evaluate effectiveness in a small number of patients). Patients will get 4 acupressure treatments and will wear acupressure wristbands for 1 week. Patients will write down all drugs they take and will make a note of when they get nausea and vomiting. They also will give written answers to different questions. No drugs will be given as part of this study. Patients will be paid for participating.

Clinical Trial: Acupuncture for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Sponsored by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

The purpose of this study is to evaluate acupuncture as a treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and to correlate the diagnosis of PTSD with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnostic patterns.

Further Study Details: 

This study will evaluate: 1) the TCM diagnostic differentiation patterns of people who have PTSD as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition; 2) if an acupuncture treatment approach is acceptable to people with PTSD; and 3) if an acupuncture treatment approach is associated with a reduction in PTSD symptoms that is comparable to that of standard treatments. Because symptoms of depression, insomnia, and pain are often associated with PTSD, we will also evaluate the potential benefit of an acupuncture approach to depression, insomnia, and pain symptoms in people with PTSD.

Patients in this study will be randomized to one of three groups. Group A will receive acupuncture therapy. Group B will receive standard Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Group C is a control group and will receive no treatment. Patients in Groups A and B will undergo a total of 24 hours of therapy over the 3 month study course. All patients will have five nontherapeutic study visits; these visits will address diagnosis and assessment. Study visits will include assessments of PTSD symptoms, sleep symptoms, and level of impairment.

Clinical Trial: Acupuncture for Shortness of Breath in Cancer Patients

Sponsored by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

The purpose of this study is to determine whether acupuncture is effective in relieving shortness of breath among breast and lung cancer patients.

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Disclaimer: The information on this Website is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Copyright ©2004-2007, All Rights Reserved. [Last accessed April 25, 2017 9:26]

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