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Know Your Asthma Triggers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
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Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
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'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
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In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
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Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
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Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
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High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
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Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
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Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
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Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
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Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
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Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
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Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
FITNESS
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
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
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Any Old Cane Won't Do
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller

The needle pricks involved in acupuncture may help relieve pain by triggering a natural painkilling chemical called adenosine, a new study has found.

The researchers also believe they can enhance acupuncture's effectiveness by coupling the process with a well-known cancer drug -- deoxycoformycin -- that maintains adenosine levels longer than usual.

"Acupuncture has been a mainstay of medical treatment in certain parts of the world for 4,000 years, but because it has not been understood completely, many people have remained skeptical," lead author Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a news release. "In this work, we provide information about one physical mechanism through which acupuncture reduces pain in the body."

Nedergaard and her team report their findings online May 30 in the journal Nature Neuroscience. They are also scheduled to present the results this week at the Purines 2010 scientific meeting in Barcelona.

Working exclusively with mice, Nedergaard and her colleagues administered half-hour acupuncture treatments to a group with paw discomfort.

The investigators found adenosine levels in tissue near the needle insertion points was 24 times greater after treatment, and those mice with normal adenosine function experienced a two-thirds drop in paw pain. By contrast, mice that were genetically engineered to have no adenosine function gained no benefit from the treatment.

The team also found that if they activated adenosine in the same tissue areas without applying acupuncture, the animals' discomfort was similarly reduced, strongly suggesting that adenosine is the magic behind the method.

Adenosine, better known for regulating sleep, inhibits nerve signals and inflammation, the authors explained.

In their experiments with deoxycoformycin, which is known to impede adenosine removal from the body, the researchers said the drug almost tripled the amount of adenosine in the targeted muscles and more than tripled the amount of time that the mice experienced pain relief.