ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Get to Know the Pap Test
CAREGIVING
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Lower Vitamin D Levels in Blacks May Up Heart Risks
Laugh and the World Understands
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
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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