ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Add your Article

Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy

Women who experience depression during pregnancy may have another treatment option, new research suggests.

The study found that women treated with depression-specific acupuncture had a 63 percent response rate compared to a 44 percent response rate in women treated with control acupuncture or massage.

"We tested acupuncture as a standalone treatment, and the results are very positive," said study author Rachel Manber, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine Sleep Medicine Center in Redwood City, Calif. But, she added, because this is the first study of its kind, and the acupuncture protocol used was specifically designed for this study, "you always need replication of the findings."

Dr. Shari Lusskin, director of reproductive psychiatry at the New York University Langone Medical Center, echoed that sentiment. "It's encouraging to see alternative treatments being studied in a scientific manner, and this study should generate further studies. It needs to be replicated on a larger scale," she noted.

"This is one treatment, and perhaps it will become another possible treatment tool in our therapeutic toolbox," said Lusskin. But, she cautioned that "acupuncture is not a substitute for the appropriate use of antidepressant therapy especially in women with a prior history of response to antidepressants."

As many as 20 percent of women may experience depression during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Symptoms include sad, hopeless feelings that persist, generally for more than two weeks, Lusskin said. Women may also experience severe anxiety or feel disconnected from the baby. And, she cautioned, suicidal thoughts are never normal and are a sign that you should seek help.

Many women are cautious about using medications during pregnancy, reports the study. Interpersonal psychotherapy is an option for women who are depressed during pregnancy, but this type of therapy isn't always available, according to the study.

For the study, Manber and her colleagues recruited 150 pregnant women who were diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. All were between 12 and 30 weeks of gestation.

The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: depression-specific acupuncture (52 women), control acupuncture (49 women) or massage (49 women). The depression-specific protocol was designed just for this study, and the control acupuncture was specifically designed to avoid using acupuncture needles in any areas known to affect depression.

The treatments lasted for eight weeks. Women received treatment twice a week for the first four weeks, and then once a week for the next four weeks. The treatments lasted an average of 25 minutes.

The researchers found a 63 percent response rate in women who received the depression-specific acupuncture, while the response rate was 44.3 percent in the control acupuncture and massage groups. A response rate was defined as a 50 percent reduction in depression symptoms, Manber said.

Results of the study are scheduled to be published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"We found our acupuncture protocol was helpful, but that does not mean that any acupuncture for depression treatment will be effective. The quality of what you get can differ from one practitioner to another," said Manber.

"Our goal is always to find treatments that have the maximum benefits and minimum risk," said Lusskin. "Many women think it's safer for the baby to go off antidepressants, but there's a real risk to the baby for untreated depression in pregnancy. And, we have enough safety data about antidepressant use in pregnancy that we can make informed choices about managing treatment during pregnancy."

The bottom line, she said, is to talk with your doctor to find the right combination of treatments that can help you. "Depression is not a one-size-fits-all illness, and treatment won't be one-size-fits-all either. If acupuncture ends up being helpful for you, that's great, but make sure you're treated into remission."

SOURCES: Rachel Manber, Ph.D., professor, Stanford University School of Medicine Sleep Medicine Center, Redwood City, Calif.; Shari Lusskin, M.D., director, reproductive psychiatry, New York University Langone Medical Center, and clinical associate professor, psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; March 2010 Obstetrics & Gynecology