ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
CAREGIVING
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies

THURSDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to real acupuncture, placebo acupuncture was associated with significantly higher overall pregnancy rates among women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF), says a University of Hong Kong study.

In real acupuncture, fine needles are inserted into particular points on the body. In placebo acupuncture, blunt needles that look identical to real acupuncture needles retract into the handle of the needle when pressed on the skin, but still give the sensation and appearance of entering the skin.

The researchers gave real or placebo acupuncture to 370 women on the day of embryo transfer and found that 55.1 percent of those who received placebo acupuncture became pregnant, compared to 43.8 percent of those who received real acupuncture. The findings were published in the Nov. 13 issue of Human Reproduction.

"We found a significantly higher overall pregnancy rate following placebo acupuncture when compared with that of real acupuncture," study author Dr. Ernest Hung Yu Ng, an associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, said in a European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology news release. "In addition, there was a trend towards higher rates of clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, live birth and embryo implantation in the placebo acupuncture group, although the differences did not reach statistical significance."

The results suggest that placebo acupuncture may not act as an inert control for real acupuncture and may be having a real effect. That theory is supported by the fact that the researchers noted significant changes in measurements for uterus receptivity and patient stress levels after the women received both the real and placebo acupuncture.

There are two possible explanations for the study results.

"Placebo acupuncture is similar to acupressure and therefore is good enough to improve the pregnancy rate," said Ng, who added it's also possible that real acupuncture may, in some way, reduce the pregnancy rate.

"So far, there is no evidence that real acupuncture would adversely affect IVF outcomes because, in a previous meta-analysis of several acupuncture studies, the pregnancy rate was higher in the acupuncture group than in the control group. However, we cannot draw a firm conclusion about this from our current study, as we did not compare the two groups with a third control group of patients who received neither form of acupuncture. Further studies should be conducted to compare placebo or noninvasive acupuncture and controls without acupuncture," Ng said.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about acupuncture.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, news release, Nov. 12, 2008

Last Updated: Nov. 13, 2008

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