Archive for September, 2013

September 30, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

New research into acupuncture and counselling for depression from Dr Hugh Macpherson at The University of York has led to some interesting conclusions by research scientists on the value of adding acupuncture to the standard care of patients suffering with depression.

The researchers recruited 755 patients who had consulted their doctor about depression within the past 5 years and who fell into the category of having moderate to severe depression.

302 patients were randomized to receive up to 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture plus usual care, another 302 patients received up to 12 weekly sessions of counselling plus usual care, and 151 patients received usual care alone. Both the acupuncture protocol and the counselling protocols allowed for some individualization of treatment. Usual care, including antidepressants, was available according to need and monitored in all three groups.

According to the researchers, compared to usual care alone, there was a significant reduction in the average depression scores at both 3 and 6 months for both the acupuncture and counselling interventions. The difference between the score for acupuncture and counselling was not significant. In addition the researchers noted that at 9 months and 12 months, the scores between all groups evened out so that acupuncture and counselling were no longer significantly better than usual care.

All of this led the researchers to conclude that this was the first study to rigorously evaluate the clinical and economic impact of acupuncture and counselling for patients in primary care, and that their research showed that acupuncture versus usual care and counselling versus usual care are both associated with a significant reduction in symptoms of depression in the short to medium term, without being associated with serious adverse effects.

The research received wide ranging media coverage from The Daily Mail’s article on acupuncture for depression, to Reuter’s coverage of the article here, and the original research piece on PLOS medicine can be found here:

Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 17, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Hypnotherapy, Research

Researchers at the Division of Gastroenterology at the Feinberg School of Medicine  in Chicago have been investigating the impact of hypnosis and hypnotherapy on clinical remission rates over a one year period in patients with Ulcerative Colitis.

Ulcerative Colitis, much like it’s sister condition Crohn’s Disease, is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that is thought to be auto immune in origin – a condition in which the body’s immune system conducts an inflammatory response against its own tissues. The resulting symptoms can be a distressing mix of severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloody stools, weight loss and general malaise.

The researchers in this trial aimed to study the feasibility and acceptability of hypnotherapy and assess the impact of hypnotherapy on clinical remission rates over a one year period in patients with a historical rate of their ulcerative colitis flaring 1.3 times a year.

A total of 54 patients were randomised at a single site to seven sessions of gut-directed hypnotherapy or attention control and followed for 1 year. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants in each condition that had remained clinically asymptomatic (in clinical remission) through 52 weeks after their treatment.

The researchers concluded that after 1 year 68% of the patients that received the gut directed hypnotherapy maintained their clinical remission, versus 40% of the patients in the attention control group. In addition they noted that there were no significant differences between groups over time in quality of life, medication adherence, perceived stress or psychological factors.

The researchers concluded their trial was the first prospective study that demonstrated a significant effect of a psychological intervention on prolonging clinical remission in patients with quiescent ulcerative.

You can read about the full details of the trial here:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/apt.12449/abstract

 

September 17, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

In this month’s issue of Acupuncture in Medicine, recent research from Brazil into the effect of acupuncture on the symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) has led to some interesting results.

The researchers conducted a trial of acupuncture  using a single blind randomised controlled trial. 30 volunteers with PMDD were assigned to either group 1, which received acupuncture, or group 2 which received sham acupuncture. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed using the Hamilton Anxiety and Hamilton Depression scales, and participants received acupuncture twice a week for two menstrual cycles so that each participant received 16 acupuncture treatments in total.

Before the intervention the anxiety and depression scores did not differ between groups. Following the intervention, the researchers reported that symptoms of anxiety and depression were reduced in both groups; but that the improvement was significant in group 1 compared to group 2. There was a mean reduction in anxiety scores of 58.9% in group 1 and 21.2% in group 2. The reduction in the mean depression scores were 52.0% in group 1 and 19.6% in group 2.

You can find full details of the trial here:

Acupuncture for premenstrual anxiety and depression

September 7, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

Researchers at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College’s Division of Graduate Education & Research have conducted a systematic review for non-pharmacological interventions for sleep and insomnia during pregnancy.

The researchers conducted an electronic search of multiple online databases from inception up until March 2013. Of 160 articles screened, 7 met the inclusion criteria. 3 trials were prospective randomised controlled trials, one was a prospective longitudinal trial, one experimental pilot study, and two were prospective quasi-randomized trials.

The researchers concluded that exercise, massage, and acupuncture may be associated with improved sleep quality during pregnancy, but that due to the low quality and heterogeneity of the studies yielded, a definitive recommendation could not be made. Further higher quality research was deemed necessary.

You can read full details of the systematic review here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23997252