ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Eating Less May Slow Aging Process
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Smog Tougher on the Obese
EYE CARE, VISION
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
FITNESS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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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