ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
CAREGIVING
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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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