ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Internet Program Helps Problem Drinkers
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Now new research suggests that acupuncture may help ease some of these side effects, and it may be more effective than antidepressants for relieving hot flashes and more.

"This study compared the effectiveness of acupuncture to drug therapy, and we found acupuncture was just as effective and had no side effects," said study author Dr. Eleanor M. Walker, director of breast radiation oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

"We were also able to show that the effect of acupuncture was longer lasting. After about two weeks of stopping drug therapy, women started having symptoms. With acupuncture, it was 15 weeks," she said.

Walker was expected to present the findings Monday at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's annual meeting, in Boston.

Acupuncture is an ancient treatment that's a mainstay of Chinese medicine. It has been practiced for thousands of years, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Acupuncture involves the placement of very slender needles into the skin along certain points.

In Chinese medicine, it's believed that acupuncture works by unblocking the flow of energy along meridians. In Western medicine, the exact reason acupuncture might work isn't clear, but some theorize that the placement of needles may release endorphins, a chemical that make you feel good. Walker added that the meridian lines from Chinese medicine closely correspond to the body's network of nerves.

Treatments for breast cancer can induce early menopause, and many dampen the production of estrogen, leaving women with hot flashes, excessive sweating, fatigue and more.

Women with breast cancer can't be given hormone replacement therapy, so doctors often prescribe antidepressants, which can have their own side effects.

In the current study, Walker and her colleagues compared acupuncture with the use of the antidepressant Effexor in 47 women with breast cancer. Each woman was randomly assigned to receive a 12-week course of the antidepressant or acupuncture. Prior to the study, the women reported having at least 14 hot flashes per week.

After the study intervention, both groups reported similar improvements in hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. However, there were no side effects reported in the acupuncture group, whereas some women in the antidepressant group had nausea, dry mouth, headache, trouble sleeping, constipation and other side effects.

Walker also said that many of those receiving acupuncture reported having more energy, a greater sense of well-being, and an improved sex drive.

"There are alternatives to drugs. This is a viable treatment without side effects, but it's going to take patients pushing insurance companies to get them to pay," said Walker. Currently, most insurance companies won't pay for acupuncture.

Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La., said that this is "an interesting, but very small study. Right now, I wouldn't recommend acupuncture to patients outside of a clinical trial. We need a larger prospective trial. Because the symptoms you're measuring are so variable, it really requires a large number of people to answer."

More information

To learn more about acupuncture, visit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.



SOURCES: Eleanor Walker, M.D., director, breast radiation oncology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit; Jay Brooks, M.D., chairman, hematology/oncology, Ochsner Health System, Baton Rouge, La.; Sept. 22, 2008, presentation, American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's annual meeting, Boston

Last Updated: Sept. 22, 2008

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