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Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
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Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
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B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
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Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
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Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
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High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
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Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
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An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
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Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
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