Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Acupuncture Brings Hope for Parkinson's Disease

Acupuncture Study Brings Hope For Parkinson's Disease Patients

By Brenda Duran, Senior Associate Editor
For people living with Parkinson's disease, the future is full of obstacles and uncertainty.
This is the sole reason the second most prevalent neuro-degenerative disease that affects about 1 million people in the U.S., and 5 million worldwide has researchers constantly on the hunt for not only a cure, but also a way to improve the quality of life for patients.
By the year 2013, a current research study involving acupuncture is hoping to find answers for Parkinson's disease patients living with one of the most debilitating side effects – fatigue.
The research study funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is currently determining whether alternative Eastern medicine, specifically acupuncture, can help alleviate symptoms of severe fatigue in those living with Parkinson's.
The foundation, which was established in 2000 by actor Michael J. Fox, is the largest funder of Parkinson's research in the world. The organization has funded over $270 million in targeted Parkinson's research to date including the latest study on acupuncture.
Dr. Benzi Kluger, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Colorado Hospital has been leading the study, which began in November 2010. The study is being conducted as a double-blind study to find whether acupuncture has a significant effect on Parkinson's patients living with fatigue in their daily lives.
"Western medicine does not have good treatment for fatigue," said Kluger. "Fatigue for patients with Parkinson's is really different, it doesn't improve with rest and is very disabling."

Fatigue affects approximately half of all Parkinson's disease patients. Many of them do not get relief from medication and research has now focused on ancient Eastern medicine such as acupuncture to find answers, said Kluger.
"We wanted to see if we can come up with alternative strategies that can also later help people with other neurological disorders in the future," said Kluger.
Kluger approached the Parkinson's foundation with his study because he said he was interested in non-motor systems in Parkinson's patients. Non-motor symptoms are the most common symptoms that develop first in patients and one of them is fatigue.
Jamie Eberling, associate director of research programs at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research said Kluger's study was chosen based on its merits and because it was something of interest to their donor base.
"We are always interested in different types of approaches," said Eberling. "We are always open to new things, we wish we could see more of these types of studies being presented."
The foundation in the past has funded studies on exercise and even singing for speech problems as well as dancing for motor impairment in Parkinson's disease patients. They review 800 grant proposals a year and are currently supporting more than 300 research projects in industry, academia and government.
Kluger's acupuncture study has a total of 22 patients participating right now. The goal is to have 90-100 patients by the study's end date in 2013.
Patients who joined the study initially came in for a screening visit and filled out a questionnaire about fatigue and their beliefs about acupuncture and alternative medicine. Once people were screened into the study, they were randomized with twice weekly sham or real acupuncture.
Patients in the study are blindfolded while they are receiving acupuncture treatment and Kluger said he doesn't know which patients are receiving acupuncture treatment and which patients are receiving placebo.
Three acupuncturists have been working on the study subjects placing needles in acupuncture points on the patient's face and back. For patients who are in the placebo group, the acupuncturists may place non-penetrating needles in spots that aren't typical acupuncture spots.
Kluger said in the spring, his team is going to try to shell out a paper on the sham acupuncture after spending a lot of time learning how to remove the sham needles to create a really good placebo procedure.
So far, Kluger said he has seen dramatic improvement in fatigue in some of the study subjects. "People have gone back to doing activities that they haven't done in years," he said. Since the statistical data is not yet completed, Kluger said he wouldn't know which group has benefitted the most.
Kluger noted that a large majority of Parkinson's disease patients already use a form of alternative medicine – acupuncture, massage, herbs and chiropractic care, but until now, there weren't many evidence-based studies to determine whether acupuncture is effective for symptoms such as fatigue.
The neuro-degenerative disease affects between 1 percent and 2 percent of people over the age of 65. Those diagnosed with the disease will lose neurons in specific parts of the brain, affecting muscle movement and control over time.
Kluger said if he finds that acupuncture can be used as an alternative form of medicine to alleviate the symptoms of severe fatigue, it might help insurance companies extend their coverage of the treatment.
"We will also be able to see if acupuncture would be effective for people with other diseases like cancer and MS (Multiple Sclerosis)," Kluger said.
Focusing most of his medical career in Western medicine, Kluger said he has really enjoyed doing research on Eastern medicine and finding out about the potential it has to heal people.
"For me it has been a wonderful opportunity to work with acupuncturists to really start to delve into acupuncture. One of my goals is to come out of it with an open mind," he said. "It's been really fun to explore alternative ways to help these patients. We are hopeful."

Using The needles After The Knife

Using The Needle After The Knife

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The use of acupuncture before and during surgery reduces patients' post-operative pain as well as the need for pain-killing medication, researchers said on Tuesday.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina analyzed the results of 15 clinical trials on the effectiveness of acupuncture -- a practice that originated in China of inserting thin needles into specific body points.

They concluded that it is valuable for pain control in surgery patients.

The 15 trials showed that patients getting acupuncture before or during various types of
operations had significantly less pain afterward than patients who did not get acupuncture.
These patients also required less morphine or other opioid pain medication after surgery, which reduced the side effects like nausea and vomiting from these types of drugs, the researchers said.

In terms of pain-drug side effects, the acupuncture patients experienced 1.5 times lower rates of nausea, 1.6 times fewer reports of dizziness and 3.5 times fewer cases of urinary retention compared to the other patients, the study found.

These findings augment a growing body of evidence on the value of acupuncture in improving the surgical experience for patients, the researchers said.

Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture Treats Low Back Pain

Using Acupuncture To Help Children Heal

Using Acupuncture To Help Children Heal
Dr. Mallika Marshall Reporting

Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing. Now local doctors are using it to help treat children.

Sandra Kean suffers from migraines as well as severe abdominal pain as a result of a condition called ulcerative colitis. In addition to having surgery, she comes to Children's Hospital Boston for regular acupuncture treatments to help relieve her pain. "I would be doubled over, uncomfortable and crying, and then after I went to acupuncture, I was more relaxed and calm and the side effects were basically gone."

"After a week or two, we weren't getting any more complaining about her abdominal pain or her back pain," said Sandra's mother Roseanne.

Children's started offering patients acupuncture as a complementary therapy in 2000.

"Lots of kids will be saying to us, 'I don't want needles,' however; after careful explanation and demonstration, kids to very well with acupuncture," said Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin of Children's Hospital Boston.

Doctors have used acupuncture to help hundreds of patients, ranging from teenagers like Sandra to the tiniest of babies."I have done acupuncture for premature infants to decrease their anxiety when they are in the intensive care unit," said Dr. Lin.

Dr. Lin has conducted studies which have shown that children who suffered from headaches, stomach aches and other chronic pain, felt less pain, missed less school and were able to sleep better after receiving acupuncture treatments for a year.

Some of The Cases Treated at Our Acupuncture Centre

  • Migrine
  • arthritis
  • male problems
  • hydrocephalus treated last 21 years back

Pain Relief With Acupuncture

Use of Acupuncture for Pain

Acupuncture, among the oldest healing practices in the world, is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, this regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, 1.4 percent of respondents (an estimated 3.1 million Americans) said they had used acupuncture in the past year. A special analysis of acupuncture data from an earlier NHIS found that pain or musculoskeletal complaints accounted for 7 of the top 10 conditions for which people use acupuncture. Back pain was the most common, followed by joint pain, neck pain, severe headache/migraine, and recurring pain.

What the Science Says About Acupuncture for Pain

Acupuncture has been studied for a wide range of pain conditions, such as postoperative dental pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headache, low-back pain, menstrual cramps, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, and tennis elbow.

Overall, it can be very difficult to compare acupuncture research results from study to study and to draw conclusions from the cumulative body of evidence. This is because studies may use different acupuncture techniques (e.g., electrical vs. manual), controls (comparison groups), and outcome measures.
One particularly complex factor in acupuncture research is choosing the controls for a clinical trial.

 The choice depends in part on whether the researchers want to study a particular aspect of acupuncture (e.g., effects on the brain) or to determine whether acupuncture is useful compared with other forms of care. Examples of control groups include study participants who receive no acupuncture, simulated acupuncture (procedures that mimic acupuncture, sometimes also referred to as "placebo" or "sham"), or other treatments (in addition to or in place of acupuncture or simulated acupuncture).

An emerging theme in acupuncture research is the role of the placebo. For example, a 2009 systematic review of research on the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture compared with placebo (simulated) or no acupuncture was inconclusive.

The reviewers found a small difference between acupuncture and placebo and a moderate difference between placebo and no acupuncture; the effect of placebo acupuncture varied considerably, and the effect of acupuncture appeared unrelated to the specific kind of placebo procedure used. All of the study participants received standard care, typically consisting of analgesic drugs and physical therapy.
The following sections summarize research on acupuncture for a variety of pain conditions, including those reported by NHIS respondents who had used acupuncture. In general, acupuncture appears to be a promising alternative for some of these pain conditions; however, further research is needed.

Acupuncture and Piles

Do you know that piles can be treated with Acupuncture

If the patient responded well with acupuncture.
You need hardly about 5 therapy to remove all the problems of piles.

Read more info at

Organ donation in Islam ‘encouraged’
Muslims are allowed to donate their organs, according to a fatwa issued in 1970
By Atiqa Hazellah
New Straits Times, 3 January 2012 
Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria - Perak mufti
ORGAN transplant is permissible for Muslims to save lives, said Selangor and Perak (two of the fourteen states in Malaysia) muftis.
Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid said myths, misconceptions and a general lack of understanding and awareness had led to an organ donation crisis among Muslims.

"All major religions, including Islam, encourage organ donation, especially when it can prevent death.

"There is also no requirement for the organ or tissues to be donated to someone of the same religion."
Tamyes said in Malaysia, the fatwa on the permissibility of organ donation and transplantation was issued in June 1970.
"Organ transplant is allowed when there is no other way to save the life of a patient, especially when he or she is suffering from organ failure.
"Donors must do so with utmost sincerity for the noble aim of helping the recipient, not to attain wealth and popularity," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
He also advised donors to get consent from family members first to avoid any misconception in allowing organs and tissues to be harvested.
"Doctors face problems in explaining organ donation to the family members of a deceased person. With the consent, the wishes of those both living and deceased are respected."
Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said as long as the objective was to safeguard and to preserve life, organ transplant is permissible.
"Islam stresses that such transplants must not harm the organ recipient or living donor. Organs and tissues should not be traded, as Islam views such transactions trading as haram."
Statistics show that less than one per cent of Malaysians  have registered as organ donors while 14,037 people are on the waiting list.
Organ Donation Awareness Promotion Action Committee chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said only 184,774 Malaysians,  or 0.7 per cent, out of a population of 27 million had pledged their organs  upon their death.
"The lack of cadaveric donors is largely due to attitude, mindset, prejudices, misconception and even misconceived ideas of the public towards donating their organs upon death."
He said as of last December, the number of actual organ donors since the organ transplant programme started in 1976 had totalled only 352.
The Chinese led the number of registered donors with 101,566 people (55 per cent), Indians at 44,600 (24 per cent) and Malays at 33,386 people (18 per cent).
However, Lee said, the number of Malay donors had increased over the past five to 10 years ago, which made up only 3 per cent. 
He said his committee had been promoting organ donations through various campaigns at state levels and inviting muftis  to give their views to the Muslims.
"We also have been working closely with Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia religious experts and non-governmental organisations to give information and motivate the Muslims to donate organs."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Doctor Testing Acupuncture As pain treatment on Flight

Doctors testing acupuncture as pain treatment on medical flights

  • An article and caption on Jan. 19 about acupuncture being tested on air evacuation flights misidentified the head of nursing research for Europe Regional Medical Command. She is Army Lt. Col. Nancy Steele, not Lt. Col. Betty Garner.
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — For the first time, doctors are testing acupuncture to treat injured troops in transit from Ramstein to the States.
The servicemembers are part of a study, looking at whether battlefield acupuncture — a procedure that involves placing tiny needles into troops’ ears — can be effectively used to control pain during an air evacuation.
Air Force Dr. (Col.) Richard Niemtzow, who developed the technique in 2001, said the needles would not replace painkillers during the flight, which lasts about seven hours. But he hopes the study will show that the acupuncture allows injured troops to take reduced doses of narcotics during the long flight to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
“We are approaching this in a safe and scientific manner. These people are not being taken advantage of because they are hurting,” he said. “We’re hoping that there is a benefit, but it may show that it is not useful.”
On a combat evacuation, where even the rattle of a flight can make broken bones much more painful, morphine and other opiate painkillers are typically given to injured troops. And as more troops return from the battlefield with pain, the military has seen a spike in the number of prescriptions for opiate painkillers. More troubling, abuse of painkillers is on the rise: About 22 percent of soldiers admitted misusing prescribed drugs, mostly painkillers, in a 12-month period, according to the results of a Pentagon survey released last year.
As a way to reduce the number of painkillers given to servicemembers, the military has turned to acupuncture as a potential alternative, using it to reduce long-term pain in veterans, as well as using Niemtzow’s technique to ease troops’ aches and strains downrange since 2009.
For this study, volunteers will be solicited prior to the evacuation. They will then be asked to fill out surveys about their pain symptoms before and during the flight

Joan Walter, president of military medical research for the Samueli Institute in Alexandria, Va., said she expects to have about 60 to 70 participants during the 90-day study, which is being funded by the Air Force. Injuries to the servicemembers will likely include headaches, chronic muscular and skeletal pain, and broken limbs from roadside bomb attacks or motor vehicle accidents.
Niemtzow and his colleagues stressed that this study is not meant to prove acupuncture’s efficacy, something that is still debated among researchers and doctors, despite its 5,000-year history. The study is simply trying to determine whether troops feel that acupuncture is a benefit to them on the flight, as well as whether medical personnel can perform the procedure easily during an evacuation.
“We are asking in the environment of an aeromedical evacuation: Does this show promise?” he said. “Can this can be substituted in place of habit-forming medication or other medications with side effects? It’s a feasibility study.”
Small enough that they can be worn beneath headphones or a helmet, the needles are inserted into any of five points in the ear. Niemtzow hypothesizes that the ear acts as an intermediary when pain signals pass from the central nervous system to the brain, and those signals can be intercepted and manipulated by the needles to stop or lessen pain.
“We think that the insertion of the needles into the ear turns off the pain signal,” he said. “They still have the pathological condition, but there is a reduction in the perception of pain.”
At Ramstein’s Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Friedbauer signed up to be one of the first servicemembers in the study. Army Lt. Col. Nancy Steele, head of nursing research for European Regional Medical Command, pricked his ears with several needles: some gold, others silver and platinum.
“I never thought I would go for earrings,” he said.
Friedbauer, of the Army National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group, had been directing traffic at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan when a forklift, carrying 2,200 gallons of diesel fuel, slammed into his back — tearing his shoulder. Doctors said he would need to have rotator cuff surgery immediately, and he was now awaiting a flight home.
Minutes after being stuck with needles, Friedbauer raised his right arm.
“I was very skeptical,” he said. “But I can’t believe the difference. My shoulder and back feel better, and I have more movement in my arm.”
Another patient, Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Smith, of the 47th Ordnance Company, said his back pain, which made him wince every time he bent over, had greatly diminished after the acupuncture.
“This may,” he said, “be an enjoyable flight after all.”

, had greatly diminished after the acupuncture.
“This may,” he said, “be an enjoyable flight after all.”

Acupuncture For Menopause

Acupuncture for Menopause Hot Flashes

According to a new study, women who suffer from hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause may be able to find relief through acupuncture. These symptoms plague menopausal women and usual therapy for it is hormone replacement therapy but that has its own problems including an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.

Turkish researchers recruited 53 postmenopausal women and assigned 27 of them to a five-week course of acupuncture (twice a week for 20 minutes at a time) and 26 of them got sham treatments that they thought were real. The real acupuncture group got pierced with the needles at 10 acupuncture points while the sham group got poked with blunted needles that did not penetrate the skin.

Results showed that at the end of the study period, the women who got acupuncture showed more relief from their symptoms compared to their counterparts who got the fake treatment. Their hot flashes were less severe (there was no change for women who got the sham treatment). Both groups had improvements in their psychological symptoms (as measured by the Menopause Rating Scale), though the benefit was much greater for women who got acupuncture.

n addition, estrogen levels were significantly higher for the women in the treatment group compared to the controls. There were no differences between the two groups in terms of vaginal dryness and urinary tract infection. Had there been more than 10 sessions, the benefits of acupuncture might have been even greater, the researchers said. The results were published online March 7th in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

Acupuncture Treats Retinitis Pigmentosa

Acupuncture Treats Retinitis Pigmentosa

Mounting evidence suggests that acupuncture is an effective treatment for retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disorder that may to lead to blindness. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion concludes that acupuncture treatment protects the optic nerve from damage caused by intraocular pressure by alleviating stresses on retinal and optic nerve axonal ultrastructures.

Acupuncture Treats Infertility

Acupuncture treats infertility

A study found that auricular acupuncture was capable of producing results comparable to those of drug therapy in the treatment of infertility. I. Gerhard and F. Postneek, [Possibilities of Therapy by Ear Acupuncture in Female Sterility], Geburtshilfe Frauenheilke 48, no. 3 (March 1988): 165-71. A study examined the effects of moxibustion and acupuncture on 30 cases of infertility in women ranging from 24 to 37 years of age. Results showed that after just one course of treatment 9 women conceived, with another 8 conceiving after 2 courses of treatment.
- The Woman's Encyclopedia of Natural Healing by Dr. Gary Null

In China, acupuncture has been used in the treatment of infertility for centuries. The first published account of this is seen in medical literature dating back to 11 A.D. The Chinese look at five principal organs - the liver, spleen, heart, lung, and kidney - and use acupuncture to release blockages from these systems so that energy or chi can move freely. This helps the body return to good health. Promoting fertility is one benefit that can be obtained. Acupuncture to kidney points releases psychological blocks that interfere with reproduction.
- Get Healthy Now with Gary Null: A Complete Guide to Prevention, Treatment and Healthy living by Gary Null

The women treated with acupuncture? Twenty-two pregnancies (and no side effects). Finally, a study at the Fertility Clinic Trianglen in Denmark concluded that "acupuncture ... significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF (in vitro fertilization) and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) compared to no acupuncture." Best of all, acupuncture for infertility is truly a "whole person" treatment that looks at the woman as much more than just a dysfunctional reproductive system. "People come into my office and they're completely unprepared for conception," Lawrence told me.
- The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Why by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.

Acupuncture Could Relieve Period Pain

(NaturalNews) A recent study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics has found that acupuncture may be effective at reducing the pain experienced by women who are going through their period. Researchers evaluated 27 studies that included over 3,000 participating women. From these, the study team came to the conclusion that there is "promising evidence" concerning the viability of acupuncture in treating menstrual pain.

  • Doctors usually treat the nausea, diarrhea, migraine headaches, back pain, and other symptoms that accompany a woman's monthly period, with pain killer drugs. However, alternative treatments like acupuncture are gaining popularity because many have experienced superior relief from them without having to take pharmaceuticals.

  • The Kyung Hee Medical Center research team that conducted the study found that patients who underwent acupuncture treatment experienced a greater reduction in pain than did those who relied on drug treatments. They were unable to verify, however, whether or not the treatment actually affects womens' nervous systems when providing relief.

  • Acupuncture treatments involve inserting small needles into the skin at certain points, known as energy meridians, in order to relieve pain. It is commonly used to treat conditions like back pain, depression, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. A traditional Chinese medicine practice, acupuncture is believed to work by correcting the proper flow of "qi", or vital energy, through the meridian points.

  • Some skeptics wonder if a placebo effect is what patients are actually experiencing when they feel relief from acupuncture. Some studies suggest that patients who receive placebo acupuncture, where needles are placed far from meridians, experience similar results as those who receive real acupuncture, leading some to believe that perhaps simply inserting the needles into the skin provides relief.

  • Others claim that because it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how acupuncture works, that it must not actually work. However, this flies in the face of numerous studies that exhibit demonstrable benefits from the treatment, not to mention the countless anecdotal reports from real people who have experienced genuine relief from the therapy.

  • Researchers from the University of York and the Hull York Medical School recently published a paper in Brain Research, verifying that acupuncture treatments legitimately work neurally to deactivate the portions of the brain that process feelings of pain. Their scientific analysis gives tangible credence to what many already recognize as a reality concerning the effectiveness of acupuncture. Their study will also likely increase the acceptance of acupuncture as a viable treatment among mainstream medical professionals.

Sources for this story include:

Acupuncture Pain Relief - How It Works...

(NaturalNews) Let's be real here: Attending frequently with chronic low back pain can be distressing for both patient and doctor. Because conventional treatment options tend to be ineffective and limited, many sufferers now seek help from licensed acupuncturists, who have repeatedly provided the safest, quickest, and most effective treatment available.

The secret to its effectiveness, however, lies in our brain. It's common knowledge that acupuncture relieves pain and treats migraines, but until recently, we didn't know why - the mechanisms of acupuncture responsible for pain reduction were unclear. Dr. Aziz Asghar and his colleagues at the University of York and the Hull York Medical School discovered that it may be because of acupuncture's ability to deactivate areas in the brain associated with the processing of pain.

 Their 2010 study, published in Brain Research, revealed that patients receiving acupuncture treatment experience a sensation known as "deqi", which triggers changes in certain neural structures, leading to the aforementioned brain deactivations. "The results are fascinating," says Asghar, who believes that the new research will help raise awareness of acupuncture as a widely accepted treatment option for patients with various ailments.

"Whether such brain deactivations constitute a mechanism which underlies or contributes to the therapeutic effect of acupuncture is an intriguing possibility which requires further research," he adds.

  Coping with Pain through Acupuncture

 Another study, presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, confirmed the beneficial impact of acupuncture on reducing pain. Researchers in Germany utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare 18 individuals, who agreed to take part in the study, to determine how the brain processes pain with and without acupuncture.

 During the fMRI sessions, scientists captured pictures of the brain while patients were exposed to an external pain stimulus. The interesting part? The obtained data revealed that significantly reduced was not only the pain perception, but the patient's expectation of pain, too.

 "Activation of brain areas involved in pain perception was significantly reduced or modulated under acupuncture," explained Dr. Nina Theysohn, who led the research at University Hospital in Essen. "Our findings support that both these nonspecific and specific mechanisms exist, suggesting that acupuncture can help relieve pain." Sources used: University of York. "Study maps effects of acupuncture on the brain." ScienceDaily, 5 Feb. 2010. Web. 25 Aug. 2011. Learn more:

Acupuncture May Help Relief Nerve Pain

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture may help relieve nerve pain caused by some cancer drugs, according to a new study. Cancer drugs called taxanes, vinca alkaloids and platinum compounds can damage peripheral nerves, especially in the calves and feet, resulting in severe nerve pain or difficulty walking. 

Currently, there is no effective treatment for the condition, called chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. This small, preliminary study included six patients with peripheral neuropathy who underwent acupuncture and five patients with peripheral neuropathy who served as a comparison group.

The acupuncture treatment involved insertion of 20 needles at specific points and depths, which were left in place for 20 minutes during each of the 10 sessions delivered by a doctor over a period of three months. Tests of the signaling speed and intensity of two nerves in the same calf were conducted before acupuncture and again six months after chemotherapy.

The same tests were carried out on patients who did not receive acupuncture. The researchers found that both the speed and intensity of nerve signaling improved in five of the six patients who had acupuncture, and the five patients also said that their condition had improved. Among patients in the comparison group, nerve speed stayed the same in three, improved in one and decreased in one. Nerve intensity improved in two, decreased in two, and stayed the same in one.

 The study appears online in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine. Previous research has suggested that acupuncture may increase blood flow in the legs, which may help repair nerve damage, the study authors noted. They concluded that the findings of their pilot study are "encouraging" and warrant further investigation in a larger study. More information The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about chemotherapy side effects.