ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
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