Posts Tagged Acupuncture

[WEB SITE] Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help?

 

Epilepsy is a disease that disrupts the electrical activity of the nervous system, causing seizures.

More than 65 million people in the world have epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation estimate that 1 in 26 Americans will develop the disease during their lives.

Children are the group most frequently diagnosed with new cases of epilepsy. In the United States, 300,000 children under 14 are affected by the condition. Some may outgrow the disorder, but most will not. The number of senior citizens with epilepsy is also 300,000.

People with epilepsy have a range of treatment options, including alternative therapies.

The illness is a complex condition, however, and all alternative treatment options must be looked at carefully, to ensure they are effective.

It is essential to work with a doctor when making changes in treatment, as every epileptic seizure can cause brain damage, and the effects build up. So, any treatment must work to avoid seizures.

Causes of epilepsy

electrical activity in the brain diagram

Epilepsy is a complex disease that can disrupt the electrical activity of the nervous system.

Infections, which can cause scarring on the brain that leads to seizures, are among the more common causes of epilepsy.

Possible links between autism and epilepsy are also under investigation, as a third of children on the autism spectrum are also likely to have seizures.

In the over 65s, strokes are the most common cause of new seizures. Family history and brain injuries account for other cases.

However, the Epilepsy Foundation say the cause is unknown in 60 percent of people.

Eight natural remedies for epilepsy

People with epilepsy and their doctors are expressing growing interest in alternative therapies.

Although antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) help most people control their symptoms, these do not work for everyone. Furthermore, some people are concerned about the long-term safety of these drugs.

Complementary health practices for epilepsy, such as the eight natural remedies discussed here, are designed for use in combination with AEDs.

After talking to a doctor, and before beginning natural treatments, people with epilepsy should ensure they are working with a well-qualified and informed therapist.

Common complementary treatments for epilepsy include the following:

Medical marijuana

Cannabis sativa, or marijuana, as it is commonly known, has been used to treat convulsions for centuries. Today, it is attracting increasing attention from people with epilepsy, clinicians, and researchers.

Interest in the use of medical marijuana is particularly strong for the roughly 1 million U.S. residents whose seizures are not controlled by AEDs. Some families with young children, suffering from severe seizures, have moved to one of the 22 states where medical marijuana use is legal.

Charlotte’s Web is a strain of cannabis bred to contain high levels of CBD, a part of the plant showing promise against seizures. It is named after a child whose convulsions dropped from more than 300 a week to 2-3 a month with this treatment.

However, since broad-based, well-designed scientific studies have yet to prove the effectiveness of marijuana in treating epilepsy, doctors do not generally recommend its use.

Diet

The ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that may help to reduce seizures.

Diet is one of the earliest forms of treatment for epilepsy and is used with contemporary variations to make it easier for children and adults to adopt.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has had some success in reducing seizures in children who cannot tolerate or benefit from AEDs. It requires extensive commitment and monitoring.

The Atkins diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is less restrictive and has shown positive effects.

Low glycemic index treatment (LGIT) is similar but allows for a targeted level of carbohydrate consumption.

Herbal treatments

Herbs are used for many illnesses by 80 percent of the world’s population. Remedies drawing on Chinese traditions have shown promise in treating epilepsy.

Some herbs, such as chamomile, passionflower, and valerian, may make AEDs more effective and calming.

However, ginkgo, ginseng, and stimulating herbs containing caffeine and ephedrine can make seizures worse.

St. John’s wort can interfere with medications and make seizures more likely, similarly to evening primrose and borage.

Caution is advised when working with all these herbs.

It is important to remember that herbs are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If any herbs are used, they should be researched and bought from reputable sources.

Vitamins

Low levels of the B6 vitamin have been known to trigger seizures.

Magnesium, vitamin E, and other vitamins and nutritional supplements, have been identified as either promising or problematic for treating epilepsy.

People taking AEDs are often advised to take vitamin D supplements to keep their systems in balance.

Along with vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E, which have been found to be helpful in treating epilepsy, doctors have found treatment with manganese and taurine reduced seizures, as well.

Thiamine may help improve the ability to think in people with epilepsy.

Biofeedback

When AEDs do not work, some people have successfully used biofeedback to reduce seizures.

With the use of extensive training and a machine that detects electrical activity in the brain, the technique teaches individuals to recognize the warning signs of seizures, and train their brains to prevent a full-blown attack.

Relaxation

Stress and anxiety are both linked to seizures.

There are many different practices that people with epilepsy can follow on their own to help them feel calmer, relax their muscles, get better sleep, and enjoy a better state of mind.

All these actions taken together can help reduce seizures and make it easier for people to manage their epilepsy.

People should be cautious if trying meditation, as this can change the electrical signals in the brain.

Some essential oils used in aromatherapy, such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, have been found to be effective in preventing seizures when used with relaxation techniques.

However, the Epilepsy Society report that others may provoke seizures. These include spike lavender, eucalyptus, camphor, sage, rosemary, hyssop, and fennel.

Acupuncture and chiropractic

acupuncture

Acupuncture may help to reduce the stress of living with epilepsy.

While acupuncture does not seem to be helpful in preventing seizures, people with epilepsy find it can reduce the stress of living with the condition.

There is little evidence on chiropractic care, but it also may be among the natural treatments people with epilepsy find useful.

Education and avoiding triggers

Education and avoidance can have a big impact on quality of life for people with this condition.

Many of those with epilepsy find that their seizures develop in response to specific triggers. This is the case for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Learning how to avoid situations and stimuli that could spark a seizure can be very helpful. Some children may learn to avoid using video games in dark rooms, for example, or to cover one eye when exposed to flashing lights.

Do natural treatments for epilepsy work?

For many practices, there has not been enough study to give a definite answer to this question, one way or the other.

The following overview of the top natural treatments for epilepsy offers a quick summary of their reported effectiveness:

  • Diet: The ketogenic diet, usually prescribed for children whose epilepsy does not respond to AEDs, has been shown to cut their seizures by half and eliminate seizures completely for 10-15 percent of those studied.
  • Herbal treatments: Two studies of Chinese herbal compounds found them effective at reducing seizures in children and adults. But some herbs, such as St. John’s wort, can make seizures worse.
  • Vitamins: Many studies have linked low levels of vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E to seizures. Treating people with supplemental doses helped reduce the frequency of seizures.
  • Biofeedback: Researchers in 10 different studies showed that 74 percent of people whose epilepsy could not be treated with medication, reported fewer seizures after they learned this technique.
  • Relaxation: Fewer seizures and a better quality of life were reported by children who took part in trials, according to research.
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic: Scientific studies have not found acupuncture to be effective for people with epilepsy. However, positive outcomes were reported for some children with drug-resistant epilepsy who tried chiropractic therapy.
  • Education: After learning more about epilepsy, coping strategies for it, and how to take medication, improved quality of life was observed for people of all ages with epilepsy.

Conclusion

Many reports on the effectiveness of complementary treatments for epilepsy come from personal experience, and from studies that are not considered conclusive.

Most importantly, people should always talk to their doctor before trying natural treatments to help ease their symptoms.

Source: Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help? – Medical News Today

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[Abstract] Electro-acupuncture for post-stroke spasticity: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effects and safety of electro-acupuncture (EA) for stroke patients with spasticity.

Data Sources

Five English (PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and AMED) and four Chinese databases (CBM, CNKI, CQVIP and Wanfang) were searched from their inception to September 2016.

Data Selection

Randomized controlled trials were included if they measured spasticity with Modified Ashworth Scale in stroke patients and investigated the add-on effects of electro-acupuncture to routine pharmacotherapy and rehabilitation therapies.

Data Extraction

Information on patients, study design, treatment details and outcomes assessing spasticity severity, motor function and activity of daily living were extracted.

Data Synthesis

In total, 22 trials met the search criteria and were included involving 1,425 participants. The estimated add-on effects of EA to reduce spasticity in upper limb measured by MAS (SMD: -0.57[-0.84, -0.29]) and improve overall motor function measured by FMA (MD: 10.60[8.67, 12.53]) were significant. It was also found that for spasticity in lower limb, lower-limb motor function and activity of daily living, significant add-on effects of EA were also shown (SMD: -0.88[-1.42, -0.35], MD:4.42[0.06, 8.78] and MD: 6.85[3.64, 10.05] respectively), though with high heterogeneity. For upper-limb motor function, no significant add-on effects of EA was received.

Conclusions

Electro-acupuncture combined with conventional routine care has the potential of reducing spasticity in upper and lower limb and improving overall and lower extremity motor function and activity of daily living for spasticity patients within 180 days post stroke. Further studies of high methodological and reporting quality are needed to confirm the effects and safety of electro-acupuncture, and to explore the adequate and optimal protocol of EA for post-stroke spasticity incorporating a group of comprehensive outcome measures in different populations.

Source: Electro-acupuncture for post-stroke spasticity: a systematic review and meta-analysis – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[Poster] Acupuncture as a Treatment to Improve Cognitive Function After Brain Injury: A Case Study

Explore the relationship between acupuncture and cognitive therapy with change in cognitive domains following traumatic brain injury. The secondary objective was to evaluate the potential relationship between acupuncture and cognitive therapy with volume activation in select brain areas as shown by functional MRI (fMRI).

Source: Acupuncture as a Treatment to Improve Cognitive Function After Brain Injury: A Case Study – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[Abstract] Acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation. – PubMed – NCBI

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Stroke is the second most common cause of death in the world and in China it has now become the main cause of death. It is also a main cause of adult disability and dependency. Acupuncture for stroke has been used in China for hundreds of years and is increasingly practiced in some Western countries. This is an update of the Cochrane review originally published in 2006 .
OBJECTIVES: To determine the efficacy and safety of acupuncture therapy in people with subacute and chronic stroke. We intended to test the following hypotheses: 1) acupuncture can reduce the risk of death or dependency in people with subacute and chronic stroke at the end of treatment and at follow-up; 2) acupuncture can improve neurological deficit and quality of life after treatment and at the end of follow-up; 3) acupuncture can reduce the number of people requiring institutional care; and 4) acupuncture is not associated with any intolerable adverse effects.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (June 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; Cochrane Library 2015, Issue 7), MEDLINE (1966 to July 2015, Ovid), EMBASE (1980 to July 2015, Ovid), CINAHL (1982 to July 2015, EBSCO), and AMED (1985 to July 2015, Ovid). We also searched the following four Chinese medical databases: China Biological Medicine Database (July 2015); Chinese Science and Technique Journals Database (July 2015); China National Infrastructure (July 2015), and Wan Fang database (July 2015).
SELECTION CRITERIA: Truly randomised unconfounded clinical trials among people with ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke, in the subacute or chronic stage, comparing acupuncture involving needling with placebo acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or no acupuncture.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion, assessed quality, extracted and cross-checked the data.
MAIN RESULTS: We included 31 trials with a total of 2257 participants in the subacute or chronic stages of stroke. The methodological quality of most of the included trials was not high. The quality of evidence for the main outcomes was low or very low based on the assessment by the system of Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE).Two trials compared real acupuncture plus baseline treatment with sham acupuncture plus baseline treatment. There was no evidence of differences in the changes of motor function and quality of life between real acupuncture and sham acupuncture for people with stroke in the convalescent stage.Twenty-nine trials compared acupuncture plus baseline treatment versus baseline treatment alone. Compared with no acupuncture, for people with stroke in the convalescent phase, acupuncture had beneficial effects on the improvement of dependency (activity of daily living) measured by Barthel Index (nine trials, 616 participants; mean difference (MD) 9.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.34 to 14.05; GRADE very low), global neurological deficiency (seven trials, 543 participants; odds ratio (OR) 3.89, 95% CI 1.78 to 8.49; GRADE low), and specific neurological impairments including motor function measured by Fugl-Meyer Assessment (four trials, 245 participants; MD 6.16, 95% CI 4.20 to 8.11; GRADE low), cognitive function measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (five trials, 278 participants; MD 2.54, 95% CI 0.03 to 5.05; GRADE very low), depression measured by the Hamilton Depression Scale (six trials, 552 participants; MD -2.58, 95% CI -3.28 to -1.87; GRADE very low), swallowing function measured by drinking test (two trials, 200 participants; MD -1.11, 95% CI -2.08 to -0.14; GRADE very low), and pain measured by the Visual Analogue Scale (two trials, 118 participants; MD -2.88, 95% CI -3.68 to -2.09; GRADE low). Sickness caused by acupuncture and intolerance of pain at acupoints were reported in a few participants with stroke in the acupuncture groups. No data on death, the proportion of people requiring institutional care or requiring extensive family support, and all-cause mortality were available in all included trials.
AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: From the available evidence, acupuncture may have beneficial effects on improving dependency, global neurological deficiency, and some specific neurological impairments for people with stroke in the convalescent stage, with no obvious serious adverse events. However, most included trials were of inadequate quality and size. There is, therefore, inadequate evidence to draw any conclusions about its routine use. Rigorously designed, randomised, multi-centre, large sample trials of acupuncture for stroke are needed to further assess its effects.

Update of Acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation. [Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006]

PMID: 27562656DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004131.pub3

Source: Acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation. – PubMed – NCBI

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[A case report] Direct electrical stimulation on the injured ulnar nerve using acupuncture needles combined with rehabilitation accelerates nerve regeneration and functional recovery

Abstract

Objective

This study illustrates that direct electrical stimulation (ES) improve functional recovery and time of return to work evaluated by prognostic scoring system after ulnar nerve injury.

Design

The Rosén and Lundborg (R&L) protocol, Disabilities of the Arm, shoulder and Hand (DASH) scores, and electromyography were applied for measuring improvements after direct ES intervention.

Setting

A 32-year-old male with deep cutting wound and total rupture of right proximal forearm ulnar nerve was treated using direct ES and daily rehabilitation activities.

Intervention

Direct ES, transmitted using 2 acupuncture needles inserted in the cubital tunnel, was applied along the site of the injured ulnar nerve. Other needles were placed according to muscle origins and insertions. All needles were connected to electrical stimulators. We executed these procedures once per week and conducted rehabilitating activities daily.

Main outcome measures

The R&L protocol, DASH scores, and electromyography were used to measure the intervention outcomes.

Results

The total score in the R&L protocol was 0.703 of the initial state; the sensory domain contributed the least amount. Among the improved numerical factors, pain/discomfort domain was the first to reach a stable ameliorative state in the first month. The sensory and motor domains reached stable growth in fourth and third months, respectively. The patient returned to the previous job in third month; his time off work was 75 days.

Conclusions

Directly applying ES to the proximal site of an injured nerve can augment nerve regeneration through three suspected mechanisms. Although direct ES on the injured nerve contributed to an effective recovery of this patient with minimal adverse effects, additional investigation of treatment protocols is warranted and the actual mechanism must be identified.

 

Source: Direct electrical stimulation on the injured ulnar nerve using acupuncture needles combined with rehabilitation accelerates nerve regeneration and functional recovery—A case report

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[REVIEW] Miscellaneous Treatments | EBRSR – Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text PDF

Abstract

The medical management of stroke is often a dynamic process. While treatment regimens have been established, practitioners and patients are constantly searching for new techniques to improve patient outcomes. The use of treatments not traditionally taught in medical schools has begun to gain popularity. Reports suggest that up to 40% of adults living in the United States and elsewhere have used some form of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine to treat a health problem (Astin et al. 2000). Physicians and researchers are also using standard interventions in new ways to treat difficult medical complications. New applications for medications and technologies are regularly being evaluated. In this review, we examine the use of miscellaneous treatments as they relate to patients who have suffered a stroke. Evidence regarding complimentary and alternative medicine, medications used for the treatment of motor and language recovery, and new technological therapies are evaluated. Alternative therapies include acupuncture, traditional Chinese patent medicine, Reiki, and massage therapy. Medications include those specifically used to aid in motor and language recovery. New technological therapies assessed are hyperbaric oxygen therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and motor cortex stimulation.

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via Miscellaneous Treatments | EBRSR – Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation.

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[ARTICLE] Integrative medicine for subacute stroke rehabilitation: a study protocol for a multicentre, randomised, controlled trial – Full Text HTML

Abstract

   Introduction: Many patients with stroke receive integrative medicine in China, which includes the basic treatment of Western medicine and routine rehabilitation, in conjunction with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. The question of whether integrative medicine is efficacious for stroke rehabilitation is still controversial and very little research currently exists on the integrated approach for this condition. Consequently, we will conduct a multicentre, randomised, controlled, assessor-blinded clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of integrative medicine on stroke rehabilitation.

Methods and analysis: 360 participants recruited from three large Chinese medical hospitals in Zhejiang Province will be randomly divided into the integrative medicine rehabilitation (IMR) group and the conventional rehabilitation (CR) group in a 1:1 ratio. Participants in the IMR group will receive acupuncture and Chinese herbs in addition to basic Western medicine and rehabilitation treatment. The CR group will not receive acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. The assessment data will be collected at baseline, 4 and 8 weeks postrandomisation, and then at 12 weeks’ follow-up. The primary outcome is measured by the Modified Barthel Index. The secondary outcomes are the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), Fugl-Meyer Assessment, the mini-mental state examination and Montreal Cognitive, Hamilton’s Depression Scale and Self-Rating Depression Scale, and the incidence of adverse events.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval was obtained from ethics committees of three hospitals. The results will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at international congresses. The results will also be disseminated to patients by telephone, during follow-up calls inquiring on patient’s post-study health status.

Trial registration number: Chinese Clinical Trial Register: ChiCTR-TRC-12001972, http://www.chictr.org/en/proj/show.aspx?proj=2561

Full Text HTML –> Integrative medicine for subacute stroke rehabilitation: a study protocol for a multicentre, randomised, controlled trial — Fang et al. 4 (12) — BMJ Open.

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[ARTICLE] Acupuncture for acute stroke: study protocol for a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial – Full Text HTML

Discussion

Acupuncture is widely accepted by Chinese people and it is increasingly requested by patients and their relatives in Western countries. Stroke is one of the most common diseases for which acupuncture treatment is recommended, according to the World Health Organization [27]. However, Cochrane reviews have shown that although acupuncture appeared to be safe, there is no clear evidence of benefit. The number of patients in existing trials is too small to be certain whether acupuncture is effective for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Larger, methodologically sound trials are required [16,28].

For clinical trials blinding is difficult for acupuncture so real randomized placebo-controlled trials seem impossible. In Western medical hospitals in China, acupuncture is used less for stroke compared with Chinese medical hospitals, so setting up a no acupuncture control is feasible. We will conduct our trial in three Western medicine hospitals to ensure a sufficient source of subjects and compliance of the control group. Because many stroke patients will ask for traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatment during the recovery period, we have set the follow-up period as only four weeks.

Under strict quality control, this study could potentially confirm whether or not acupuncture (including scalp acupuncture and electroacupuncture) is an effective adjunct to the standard rehabilitation therapy for acute stroke. Our study may also confirm if acupuncture can be effective in promoting the recovery of motor function and is beneficial to swallowing disorder and cognitive impairment.

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via Trials | Full text | Acupuncture for acute stroke: study protocol for a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial.

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WEB SITE: Acupuncture research – the path least scientific?

…A recent, rather flattering, article on acupuncture on this website holds a mirror to a broader problem in the world of acupuncture research. A problem that goes to the heart of the most fundamental scientific principles.

There’s no doubt that acupuncture is gaining traction on the grounds that it holds up under scientific interrogation. But does it really?…

via Acupuncture research – the path least scientific?.

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WEB SITE: Stroke Acupuncture | Stroke Engine Intervention

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy involving the stimulation of specific trigger points along the body’s 18 meridian lines to help regulate the flow of Qi (energy). The meridian lines represent the normal flow of Qi through the body. It is believed that when this energy is disrupted, disease ensues. The use of thin metal needles or other acupuncture techniques is proposed to conduct Qi through its correct paths. The trigger points used are areas of the skin where Qi flows close to the surface and thus can be reached by the various acupuncture therapies…

via Stroke Acupuncture | Stroke Engine Intervention: A site about stroke rehabilitation.

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