ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
CAREGIVING
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Add your Article

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

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Licensed by www.eholistic.com