ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
CANCER
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Eat Light - Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Freckles, Moles May Indicate Risk for Eye Cancer
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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