Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Dermatology / 14.11.2023 Interview with: Ying Li MD, PhD Graduate School Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Chengdu, China What is the background for this study? Response: Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is a prevalent dermatological condition affecting approximately 1% of the global population. It is characterized by persistent itching and the development of hives, significantly impairing patients' quality of life. More than 90% of patients with CSU require urgent medical treatment to relieve itching. However, few therapies are specifically designed to treat pruritus in The management of pruritus is one of the main goals in the treatment of chronic spontaneous urticaria . Antihistamines are a common treatment of CSU, and current guidelines recommend second-generation antihistamines as first-line therapy. However, nearly 40% of patients do not respond to second-generation antihistamines, even when the dose is increased 2- to 4-fold. Omalizumab as a second-line treatment is effective in controlling urticaria, but it is costly and is not reimbursed in many countries, limiting its use to most patients worldwide. Given the shortcomings of existing therapies for pruritus in CSU, novel therapeutic interventions or strategies are emerging. Acupuncture, a traditional physical therapy with a rich historical background spanning over a millennium, has been regarded as an effective treatment for urticaria in China. However, previous randomized controlled trials investigating acupuncture's efficacy have been marred by methodological limitations, thereby undermining the credibility of the evidence. To address this gap, we conducted a multicenter randomized controlled trial to comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of CSU. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pain Research / 16.07.2018 Interview with: Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, FASCO Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Leader, Breast Cancer Program Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbia University Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aromatase inhibitors are effective in reducing the risk of recurrence in hormone sensitive breast cancer, however they commonly cause joint pain and stiffness that can lead to early discontinuation of treatment. We know that women who stop early do not get the same benefits as those who continue for the full duration. Acupuncture has been shown to improve a variety of pain syndromes. We conducted a large multicenter trial among women with joint pain on aromatase inhibitors and randomized patients to true acupuncture, sham acupuncture and a waitlist control arm. We found that acupuncture resulted in more pain reduction than the other 2 control groups. Measuring pain can be challenging in clinical trials. We now know that a meaningful reduction for a patient is 2 points on a 10 point scale. We found that nearly 60 percent of women in the true acupuncture group experienced at least a 2-point reduction in pain, versus 33 percent of the sham acupuncture group and 31 percent of the controls. These results where highly statistically significant.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, JAMA, OBGYNE / 16.05.2018 Interview with: “Acupuncture Needle” by Acid Pix is licensed under CC BY 2.0Caroline Smith, PhD Professor Clinical Research Western Sydney University Research Theme Champion Health and Wellbeing What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Despite technological improvements to IVF the success of IVF treatment remains low. Consequently, new drugs, laboratory techniques and other treatments need to be developed and rigorously tested to explore their effects on producing healthy babies for women undergoing IVF.  In 2002, the first randomised controlled trial of acupuncture administered a specific form of IVF acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer. The results indicated the chance of achieving a pregnancy from acupuncture was twice that to women undergoing IVF treatment alone. From mid 2000s many women have started to use adjunctive treatments such as acupuncture whilst undergoing IVF.  We conducted and reported on a  pilot study in 2006 which produced results suggesting a benefit. It is important that these findings were rigorously examined in a larger trial. Findings are presented from our trial presented in JAMA. Our study of over 800 Australian and New Zealand women undergoing acupuncture treatment during their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle has failed to confirm significant difference in live birth rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Urology / 28.06.2017 Interview with: Baoyan Liu, MD Guang’an Men Hospital China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences Beijing, China What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The prevalence of stress urinary incontinence(SUI) is as high as 49% and varies according to the population studied and the definition of stress urinary incontinence. SUI causes psychological burden, affects relationships, lowers physical productivity, and decreases quality of life in women. Yet, few effective therapies are available for treating stress urinary incontinence. In this randomized clinical trial that included 504 women, the mean decrease in urine leakage, measured by the 1-hour pad test from baseline to week 6, was 9.9 g with electroacupuncture vs 2.6 g with sham electroacupuncture, a significant difference. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Depression, Stroke / 04.06.2017 Interview with: Chung-Yen Lu, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Sport and Health Management, Da-Yeh University, Changhua, Taiwan; Department of Chinese Medicine, Taipei Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, New Taipei, Taiwan What is the background for this study? Response: Post-stroke depression is a common mood complication of patients with stroke and may deteriorate motor function and cognitive function. Acupuncture therapy is an alternative and supplementary medical care often used worldwide. Previous studies have reported that acupuncture therapy for post-stroke depression may involve multiple therapeuticeffects including treating neurological disorders and physical disabilities following stroke, which are predictors of post-stroke depression. However, population-based evaluations on the association between acupuncture treatment and prevention of post-stroke depression are rare.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pediatrics / 17.01.2017 Interview with: Acupuncture Wikipedia imageDr Kajsa Landgren Faculty of Medicine, Department of Health Sciences Lund University, Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infantile colic is common, affecting 10-20% of newborns. These infants have intense crying and fussing, more than 3 hours/day more than 3 days/week. There is no medical treatment, causing desperate parents to seek complementary medicine. The evidence for acupuncture is sparse. In this trial including 147 infants with colic, we tested two types of acupuncture. Both types of acupuncture were minimal, i.e needles were inserted for only a few seconds without further stimulation. Group A received only one single needle for 2-5 seconds. Group B received up to five needle insertions for maximum 30 seconds. A third group, C, received no acupuncture. All families came to four extra visits to their Child Health Center where they met a nurse who gave advice and support. During these visits the infants were separated from their parents for five minutes, being alone with an acupuncturist who gave acupuncture to the infants in group A and B, but not to infants in group C. Parents and the nurse were blinded to which group the infant was randomized to. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Menopause, Pain Research / 23.01.2016 Interview with: Carolyn EeMBBS Department of General Practice University of Melbourne Carlton, Victoria, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hot flushes affect up to 90% of women during the menopause and beyond, and women are turning to complementary therapies. Our randomised sham-controlled trial found no difference between real and sham acupuncture (given with a blunt needle) for hot flushes, with both groups improving by around 40% at the end of treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension / 24.08.2015

Stephanie Tjen-A-Looi, MS, PhD Project Scientist Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine Department of Medicine University of Medicine, Interview with: Stephanie Tjen-A-Looi, MS, PhD Project Scientist Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine Department of Medicine University of Medicine, Irvine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Mild to moderate hypertensive patient engaged in a stressful condition can lead to adverse cardiovascular responses such as a heart attack or stroke.  Complementary to conventional medical antihypertensive drug treatments that pose side effects, acupuncture therapy with minimal side effects appears to reduce the high blood pressure. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The main findings indicate a reduction in blood pressure in patients with hypertension.  The data show that about 70% of the acupuncture treated patients benefit from this therapy.  Moreover, plasma hormones indexing high sympathetic activity such as nor-epinephrine as well as renin, angiotensin and aldosterone are reduced with acupuncture. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Orthopedics, Pain Research / 01.10.2014 Interview with: Ben Metcalf BsC (co-author) on behalf or A/Prof Rana Hinman PhD Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Metcalf: This study investigated whether acupuncture is an effective treatment for people aged more than 50 years with chronic knee pain. Participants in our study were randomly assigned to one of four groups; needle acupuncture, laser acupuncture, sham laser acupuncture or no treatment. The people in the treatment groups received acupuncture treatment from a family physician for 12 weeks. Participants were assessed after treatment and again after one year. There were no significant differences in knee pain or physical function between active and sham laser acupuncture at 12 weeks or at one year. Both needle and laser acupuncture resulted in modest improvements in pain compared with no treatment at 12 weeks that were not maintained at one year. Needle acupuncture improved physical function at 12 weeks compared with no treatment but was not different from sham acupuncture and was not maintained at one year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Rheumatology / 19.07.2014

Ling Zhao Ph. D. Associate Professor College of Acupuncture-Tuina, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Interview with: Ling Zhao Ph. D. Associate Professor College of Acupuncture-Tuina, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Zhao: In our study, we found that a 6-week course of moxibustion treatment (i.e., a modality of traditional acupuncture using burning moxa to warm and stimulate the acupoint) significantly reduced pain and improved function in patients with knee osteoarthritis compared to a credible placebo control. Our findings suggest that this ancient modality might be a useful adjunctive treatment for knee osteoarthritis. We also found that our sham device is credible for a double-blind randomized clinical trial assessing this traditional treatment modality. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Outcomes & Safety / 13.02.2014

Professor Yi Min Xie, FTSE, FIEAust      Director, Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials Deputy Head of School, Research & Interview with: Professor Yi Min Xie, FTSE, FIEAust   Director, Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials Deputy Head of School, Research & Innovation School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) Melbourne 3001, Victoria Australia What are the main findings of the study? Professor Yi Min Xie: This study examined acupuncture needles of two of the most popular brands in the world. Significant surface irregularities and defects at needle tips were found, especially of needles from one of the two brands. The main conclusion of the study was that acupuncture needle manufacturers, including the well established ones, should review and improve their quality control procedures for the fabrication of acupuncture needles. (more…)