Posts Tagged ‘research’

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

August 14, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

Pelvic pain and back pain are common in pregnancy with two thirds of women experiencing low back pain, and almost 20% of pregnant women experiencing pelvic pain. During the advancing stages of pregnancy pain can severely impact sleep, mood, and quality of life.

The esteemed Cochrane Collaboration have conducted a review of trials to assess the effects of interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. This review included 26 randomised trials comprising results from 4093 pregnant women.

The researchers note that for pelvic pain there was moderate-quality evidence that acupuncture significantly reduced evening pain better than exercise; both were better than usual care and acupuncture was significantly better than sham acupuncture for improving evening pain and function, but not average pain. Evening pain relief was the same following either deep or superficial acupuncture. Acupuncture improved pain and function more than usual care or physiotherapy and pain and function improved more when acupuncture was started at 26- rather than 20- weeks’ gestation. Ear acupuncture significantly improved these outcomes more than sham acupuncture.

Overall the authors concluded that moderate-quality evidence suggested that acupuncture or exercise, tailored to the stage of pregnancy, significantly reduced evening pelvic pain or lumbo-pelvic pain more than usual care alone. Acupuncture was significantly more effective than exercise for reducing evening pelvic pain.

Acupuncture was more effective than physiotherapy at relieving evening lumbo-pelvic pain and disability and improving pain and function when it was started at 26- rather than 20-weeks’ gestation, although the effects were small.There was no significant difference in evening pelvic pain between deep and superficial acupuncture.

For full details of the trial, click here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23904227

July 24, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

Acupuncture researchers in Brazil have been investigating acupuncture and fibromyalgia, and particularly the action of needling the multiple tender points which characterize the condition. Fibromyalgia is a chronic rheumatic disorder characterized by a multitude of symptoms such as muscular skeletal pain, numbness, tingling and stiffness, and often fatigue and disturbances in sleeping. Often there can be co existent bowel and bladder problems and anxiety or depression. Around 2-4% of the population suffer with fibromyalgia with females far outweighing males and considerable variation in how each individual manifests the symptoms.

This small study aimed to assess the effect of using acupuncture specifically at the tender points of the condition, and eight female patients were assessed for pain tolerance, depression and anxiety scores and quality of life measurements over the duration of the treatment. The women received a two month course of acupuncture for fibromyalgia.

The researchers note that by the end of the study (details of which you can find here) they observed a reduction in the pain threshold and sensitivity, and improvement in the areas of anxiety and depression and quality of life. This study was reported on at the about.com’s page on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue which also contains lots of other useful information.

The British Acupuncture Council also produce a fact sheet on Fibromyalgia detailing research regarding traditional acupuncture and the condition. The British Acupuncture Council are the primary governing body for the practice of classical or traditional acupuncture in the UK. All members of the British Acupuncture Council (of which I’m one) have had an extensive training in traditional acupuncture to degree level.

If you’re curious about what acupuncture could do for you, feel free to telephone me on 07717 515 013 or email me at sean@seanheneghan.com

 

 

 

 

July 15, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research, Sean's opinion

Researchers in Brazil have been investigating the effects of acupuncture on sleep parameters, quality of life measures, and symptoms of depression in post-menopausal women.

This study was a double blind, placebo controlled randomized controlled trial and included 18 women aged 50-67 years old. The participants were not using hormonal therapy, anti depressants or hypnotic medications and the groups were randomized into two groups: those receiving ‘real’ acupuncture and those receiving a ‘sham’ form. The researchers then performed ten sessions of acupuncture over a period of 5 weeks.

The researchers report that comparison of the groups post acupuncture treatment revealed that those treated with ‘real’ acupuncture showed significantly lower scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and showed better improvements in quality of life than the group treated with the sham form of acupuncture.

For me as I’m sure is the case for many acupuncturists, double blind trials of acupuncture cannot be performed without compromising the quality of acupuncture delivered in the trial, which is one of the many pitfalls in assessing acupuncture in the context of research. So what is interesting in this trial is the positive result despite that what is delivered in the trial is likely to be a less than optimal form of the treatment.

You can find all the details of the trial here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22943846?dopt=Abstract

 

I provide acupuncture in Berkhamsted at Berkhamsted Chiropractic Clinic and you can reach me on 07717 515 013 if you have any questions about acupuncture and it’s suitability for you.

 

 

June 19, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

An interesting study in The Journal of Psychiatric Research has studied the impact of combining acupuncture therapy with a commonly used anti-depressant, paroxetine.

The trial was a 6 week randomized controlled trial with a 4-week follow-up and involved 160 patients with major depressive disorder. The trial participants were randomly assigned to receive either paroxetine alone, or paroxetine combined with 18 sessions of manual acupuncture or electrical acupuncture.

The researchers noted that the addition of manual acupuncture and electro acupuncture produced a significantly greater reduction from baseline in depression scores than the use of paroxetine alone, and that the clinical response was markedly greater in manual acupuncture (69.8%) and electro acupuncture (69.6%) groups than the group treated with paroxetine alone (41.7%). The proportion of patients who required an increase dose of the anti-depressant due to symptom aggravation was significantly lower with manual acupuncture (5.7%) and electro acupuncture (8.9%) than paroxetine alone (22.9%)

At 4 weeks follow-up after the end of their acupuncture treatment, patients with electro acupuncture, but not manual acupuncture, continued to show significantly greater clinical improvement. The incidence of adverse events was not different in the three groups.

The researchers concluded that acupuncture can accelerate the clinical response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and prevent the aggravation of depression, and that in addition electro acupuncture may have a long-lasting enhancement of the antidepressant effect.

 

You can read the full details of the trial here:

http://www.journalofpsychiatricresearch.com/article/S0022-3956(13)00052-6/abstract

 

 

June 16, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Cognitive Hypnotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Research

While conducting clinical trials with hypnotherapy that honour the individuality of each client is complicated, a recent pilot study by researchers on the use of hypnotherapy for managing stress yielded some interesting results not only in terms of the experience of the patients using the hypnosis, but also on a physiological marker for inflammation – considered a reflection of the stress response.

The researchers gave 11 participants a self hypnosis CD designed to recondition and improve participants’ emotional and physical reactions to perceived work and life stressors. The patients then had their subjective measures of coping, resilience, and stress tolerance measured, as well as, IL-6, an objective blood measure of inflammatory activity. The pilot study took place over 12 weeks.

The participants in the trial reported a significant decrease in negative thinking patterns such as, self-deprecating statements, perfectionism, and pessimistic thinking, and an improvement in eating/nutritional habits following the hypnosis as well as a reduction in the marker for inflammation.

It’s interesting that even a generic self hypnosis cd could produce such positive change and one could wonder how those results might be improved upon with a highly tailored and individualized hypnotherapy program working with a hypnotherapist in the context of a therapeutic relationship. In this context, it’s possible to work  with suggestive work that is personally tailored to be specific to each client – a very important part of good hypnotherapy since everybody experiences their problem and their idea of what constitutes a solution, in a very different way. For me, and for those using Cognitive Hypnotherapy, this is a key factor in effective hypnotherapy.

All in all the research was suggestive that hypnotherapy can produce some promising results in managing stress, good news for anyone that might be looking for how hypnotherapy could help reduce their stress levels naturally.

I provide hypnotherapy for stress management at my hypnotherapy clinics in Berkhamsted and Milton Keynes and can be contacted by email or telephone if you have any questions about what hypnotherapy could do for your stress levels.

The details of the trial mentioned can be found here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23561065

 

 

February 28, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

In recent research into acupuncture for Bell’s palsy, researchers from China have determined that those patients who received a stronger style of acupuncture had a better chance of recovering their full facial function at a six month period then patients receiving a milder form of needling.

During acupuncture treatment, the needle sensation known as ‘de qi’ describes the mild aching, tingling and heavy feeling that comes from adequate stimulation of a nerve ending (or an acupuncture point). Different acupuncturists and different styles of acupuncture put different emphasis on achieving this sensation. Japanese acupuncture for example places little emphasis on this feeling, Chinese acupuncture often puts a strong emphasis on achieving it. For many years it has been unclear as to what extent de qi (which could be thought of as the dosage of acupuncture) contributes to the treatment effect with different styles of acupuncture professing different theories. This trial appears to show however that at least in the case of Bell’s palsy, stronger acupuncture confers a larger benefit.

In the trial 317 adults with Bell’s palsy underwent five half-hour acupuncture treatments for four weeks. Half of the participants were assigned to a group that was designed to illicit de qi sensations, the other half had the needles inserted but received no manipulation and therefore little needle sensation. Neurologists were assigned to determining scores for facial function without knowing which patients received which kind of acupuncture.

The researchers found that 94 percent of participants who received de qi sensation completely recovered their facial function by the end of six months, while 77 percent did in the other acupuncture group.

Interestingly Dr. Jian Kong, one of the researchers note the de qi is rarely measured in clinical trials, which could be a key factor in the varying results of acupuncture trials. On this trial alone, it would suggest de qi sensation is a critical component of the treatment effect and needs to be accounted for when studying the effect of acupuncture.

Full details of the trial are available at Reuter’s health here on acupuncture for bell’s palsy

 

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