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Originating in ancient China, acupuncture using needles has been developed for thousands of years and has received attention for its reported medical remedies, such as pain relief and chronic disease treatment. Heat transfer through the needles, which might have effects on the biomechanism of acupuncture, providing a stimulus and regulating homeostasis, has never been studied. This article analyzes the significance of heat transfer through needles via convection and conduction, approached by means of computational analysis. The needle is a cylindrical body, and an axis symmetrical steady-state heat-transfer model that viscosity and static pressure was not applied. This article evaluates heat transfer via acupuncture needles by using five metal materials: silver, copper, brass, iron, and stainless steel. A silver needle of the type extensively applied in acupuncture can dissipate more than seven times as much heat as a stainless steel needle of the same type. Heat transfer through such a needle is significant, compared to natural body-energy consumption over a range of ambient temperatures. The mechanism by which heat flows in or out of the body through the needles may be crucial in the remedial efficacy of acupuncture.
Volume transmission is a new major communication signaling via extracellular fluid (interstitial fluid) pathways. It was proposed by the current authors that such pathways can explain the meridian phenomena and acupuncture effects. To investigate whether meridian-like structures exist in fish body and operate via volume transmission in extracellular fluid pathways, we injected alcian blue (AB) under anesthesia into Gephyrocharax melanocheir, which has a translucent body. The migration of AB could be seen directly and was recorded by a digital camera. The fish was then embedded and cut transversely to observe the position of tracks in three dimensions. Eight longitudinal threadlike blue tracks were recognized on the fish. The positions of these threadlike tracks were similar to meridians on the human body. Transverse sections showed that these tracks distributed to different layers of distinct subcutaneous loose connective tissues and intermuscular septa. Lymphatic vessels were sometimes associated with the extracellular blue tracks where the migration of AB occurred. Extracellular fluid pathways were found on fish through their transport of AB. These pathways operating via volume transmission appeared to be similar in positions and functions to the acupuncture meridians in Chinese medicine.
Acupuncture physicians have studied the application of reflexotherapy to cardiology. However, no one has investigated the connection of ancient Chinese diagnostic methods with modern tools. A total of 102 patients (54 men and 48 women) with heart pathology, namely, sick-sinus syndrome, Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, and atrioventricular blockade, were studied using the usual instrumental methods (transesophageal electrophysiological study of the heart, echocardiography), after which they underwent Akabane thermopuncture testing as in traditional Chinese medicine. The results of cardio examination from one side of the Akabane test with that from the other side were compared by means of a multiple stepwise regression analysis. We revealed the effects on the characteristic pattern of acupuncture channel lesions inherent in a definite heart pathology, i.e., the most vulnerable acupuncture channel (AC), of such factors as disturbances of the contractile, conductive, or automatic heart functions, and changes in the chambers' size or circulation volume. Сhanges in the indices of the left and the right branches of these channels usually reflect the opposing natures of the changes in these indicators, which should be considered in reflexotherapy. The main value of the Akabane test along with the use of mathematical analysis lies in early, quick, and inexpensive detection of the above-mentioned heart disturbances.
Edema is an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells or intercellular tissues. In order to examine the effects of acupuncture and moxibustion on edema, seven subjects were randomly divided into three groups, that was a Control group, an Acupuncture group (Acp), and an acupuncture and moxibustion group (Acp-Mox). After sitting for 60 minutes keeping their bodies still, the Acp and Acp-Mox subjects were administered acupuncture or acupuncture/moxibustion on the points of Zusanli (ST-36) and Sanyinjiao (SP-6), separately as against the Control group who only lied on the bed after modelization. After modelization at 60 minutes, the skin temperature and blood flow of all the groups were significantly lower in blood flow when compared with premodelization. But shortly after the procedure at 80 minutes, skin temperature in the Acp and Acp-Mox groups were significantly increased when compared with premodelization (vs. 60 minutes, p < 0.05). Moreover, the skin temperature and blood flow of the Acp-Mox group were significantly increased as compared to both the Control and the Acp group at the 80-minute time point. These results indicate that Acp and Mox-Acp could relieve edematous conditions significantly, especially the procedure of moxibustion with warming needle, was effective in improving edema which is often accompanied with cold intolerance and would be a recommended and superior therapy for edema.
Sixteen shorthorn cows from Xiazhuang farm were admitted to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University for evaluation of poor appetite, listlessness, fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, lethargy, positive jugular venous pulse and anemia. Blood smear examination and polymerase chain reaction analysis in these cows revealed an infection with Mycoplasma wenyonii. The subjects were divided into two groups: control group (three cows) treated with intramuscular injection with imidocarb dipropionate (3 mg/kg/day for 2 days) and the experimental group (13 cows), treated with injection-acupuncture (Imidocarb Dipropionate, 1 mg/kg, once every 3 days for 6 days) at BL17, BL18, BL20, BL25, ST36, SP06 and CV04. At day 15, negative results were found using blood smear examination in all control and experimental groups. Sixteen shorthorn cows from Xiazhuang farm were admitted to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University for evaluation of poor appetite, listlessness, fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, lethargy, positive jugular venous pulse and anemia. Blood smear examination and polymerase chain reaction analysis in these cows revealed an infection with Mycoplasma wenyonii. The subjects were divided into two groups: control group (three cows) treated with intramuscular injection with imidocarb dipropionate (3 mg/kg/day for 2 days) and the experimental group (13 cows), treated with injection-acupuncture (Imidocarb Dipropionate, 1 mg/kg, once every 3 days for 6 days) at BL17, BL18, BL20, BL25, ST36, SP06 and CV04. At day 15, negative results were found using blood smear examination in all control and experimental groups.
This study aimed to retrospectively examine the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for the relief of pain originating from temporomandibular joint disorder and trigeminal neuralgia. Participants included patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia or temporomandibular disorder with osseous pathology ruled out by panoramic X-rays. Participants received a series of 8−10 weekly acupuncture treatments and rated their pain via a visual analogue scale. From assessment of a total of 39patients, analysis of pain severity before and after treatment showed that acupuncture intervention was highly beneficial for patients with temporomandibular joint disorder (88.6%, p < 0.01), compared with patients with trigeminal neuralgia in which there was only a minor effect (25%). The data also demonstrated that acupuncture was both efficacious in acute patients (91%, p < 0.01) and chronic patients (70%, p < 0.05) and elicited no side effects during the course of treatment. Acupuncture treatment was a safe and efficient methodology for relieving the pain of patients suffering from temporomandibular disorder with no detectable osseous joint component. Based on these results, a randomized clinical trial is being initiated at the Stomatologic Clinic at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to assess the role of acupuncture in treating temporomandibular joint disorder.
This study investigates whether visual deprivation influences participants’ accuracy in differentiating between real and sham acupuncture needles. It also evaluates the relative contributions of tactile, visual, and auditory cues that participants use in their decisionmaking processes. In addition, a simple sensory decision-making model for research using acupuncture sham devices as comparative controls is proposed. Forty healthy individuals underwent two conditions (blindfolded and sighted) in random sequence. Four sham and four real needles were randomly applied to the participants’ lower limb acupoints (ST32 to ST39). Participants responded which needle type was applied. Participants then verbally answered a questionnaire on which sensory cues influenced their decisionmaking. The proportion of correct judgments, P(C), was calculated to indicate the participants’ accuracy in distinguishing between the needle types. Visual deprivation did not significantly influence the participants’ discrimination accuracy. Tactile cues were the dominant sensory modality used in decision-making, followed by visual and auditory cues. Sharp and blunt sensations were associated with the real and sham needles, respectively, for both conditions. This study confirmed that tactile cues were the main sensory modalities used in participant decision-making during acupuncture administration. Also, shortterm blindfolding of participants during procedures will unlikely influence blinding effectiveness. Clinical trial registration number: Not applicable. This study does not fall under the definition of a clinical trial under the ICMJE guidelines.
A great number of reflexologies use ancient concepts that do not coincide with modern medical terminology of anatomy, physiology, and biophysics, substantially reducing the trust of today’s physicians in this direction of their profession. Recently, several mathematical models of internal and biological active points of meridian structures interaction have been proposed. These models allowed specification of diseases for which reflex diagnostics and reflex therapy methods are most effective and also increased the efficacy of these procedures. Good results for the prediction and early diagnosis of diseases from the reaction energy of biologically active points (acupuncture points) are obtained using fuzzy logic decision making.
Toroski et al in their study, Comparison of the CostUtility Analysis of Electroacupuncture and Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs in the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain, identifies a gap in the pharmacoeconomic literature regarding the treatment of chronic low back pain. There is evidence to demonstrate that traditional acupuncture is efficacious in the treatment of chronic low back pain; however, there are no studies comparing the effectiveness of electroacupuncture to other standards of care, such as nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 1,2 Although this study aimed to answer a novel and relevant question, there are several limitations that prevent the study results from being generalizable and ultimately applicable to therapeutic decision-making. First, there is no description of the comparator. It is important to explain why NSAIDs were chosen as the comparator and what types and dosing schedules of NSAIDs were studied. Without this information, it is difficult to evaluate the true cost and effectiveness of NSAIDs. Second, the costs presented in the study are not transparent. It is challenging to analyze the specific costs, especially the direct nonmedical costs because they are not specified. Third, the study failed to present the results in the appropriate format; costeutility analyses require results in terms of qualityadjusted life years and incremental costeutility ratios. However, only utilities and average cost-effectiveness ratios were reported in the study. The average cost- effectiveness ratio is the ratio of the cost to benefit of an intervention without any comparisons to alternatives, and incremental costeutility ratio is always utilized when comparing different treatment options. Consequently, the results cannot be properly evaluated, and this study cannot be classified as a true costeutility analysis. Finally, because most pharmacoeconomic studies deal with assumptions and variable data, sensitivity analysis is a must in any pharmacoeconomic analyses. The study did not conduct any sensitivity analysis, thus not allowing for any uncertainty in the estimates of costs and consequences, which were already vague and difficult to decipher. Overall, this study aimed to answer a unique pharmacoeconomic question;however, its numerous limitations prevent its generalizability and overall usefulness in clinical decision-making for the treatment of chronic low back pain.
This is a case report of a female patient who developed complex regional pain syndrome in the left upper limb after a traumatic injury to the distal part of the left forearm. The pain was immediate and resistant to oral analgesics and continued transcutaneous elec- trical nerve stimulation. Five months after the injury, the patient presented to our clinic with severe pain, swelling, redness, cold sensation of the left hand, and loss of function from the left hand up to the left shoulder. Acupuncture points LI5, LU2, SI10, HT1, GB21, and SI11 (which are localized in the joints or in the muscles responsible for the movement of the left upper limb) were selected for the application of the placental extract. Injec- tion of placental extract into the acupuncture points resulted in dramatic pain relief, swelling remission, motor recovery, temperature normalization, and disappearance of redness in this patient with complex regional pain syndrome type 1.