ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Low Vitamin A, C Intake Tied to Asthma Risk
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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