ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
CANCER
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Healthy Living Adds Years to Life
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis 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