ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
CANCER
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eat Light - Live Longer
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
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
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works

(HealthDay News) -- Traditional Chinese acupuncture, increasingly popular in the West for a variety of ills, eases pain by regulating key receptors in the brain, according to a new study.

The study showed that acupuncture increases the binding availability of mu-opioid receptors in regions of the brain that process and weaken pain signals -- specifically the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala. By directly stimulating these chemicals, acupuncture can affect the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain, the study found.

A report on the findings is in the September issue of NeuroImage.

Using positron emission tomography scans of the brain, the researchers examined 20 women with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. The women took no new medications for their pain during the study period.

"The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain," Richard Harris, a researcher at the University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and a research assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a news release from the university.

What's more, Harris said, the findings could prompt doctors to use morphine and other opioid drugs with greater pain-killing effectiveness after treatment with acupuncture because those drugs bind to the same receptors.

Acupuncture has been used in China for more than 2,000 years. Practitioners insert sharp, thin needles into the body at specific points. Today, people worldwide turn to acupuncture for relief from pain, allergies, respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal disorders and gynecological problems.

Chinese healers claim that acupuncture and traditional remedies work by altering the flow of the body's energy. Practitioners of Western medicine, which follows a more scientific approach, have been investigating exactly how acupuncture works -- or may not work -- for a number of years.

SOURCES: University of Michigan Medical School, news release, August 2009