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Acupuncture and TCM

Warren LR, Rao PA, Paton DC.

A Pilot Observational Study of an Acupressure/Acupuncture Intervention in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, (in press).

Objectives: To determine whether children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) would tolerate an acupressure/acupuncture intervention and whether parents would adhere to a twice-weekly, 8-week intervention protocol. Second, to further understand best measures to use to capture impact of intervention on behavioral and regulatory functions.

Design: This is an observational pilot study with pre-, mid-, and postintervention measures.

Settings/location: The intervention was carried out in a private practice office in a large metropolitan area.

Subjects: A total of 10 children of ages 3-10 years with ASD and one of their parents participated.

Interventions: A total of 16 biweekly treatment sessions of acupressure and/or acupuncture were carried out by a licensed acupuncturist, and a daily home-based acupressure intervention was carried out by a parent.

Outcome measures: Attendance, tolerance of intervention, parent compliance with home program, and parent compliance in completing daily diary and five standardized measures of behavioral and regulatory functions pre-, mid-, and postintervention were recorded.

Results: The 10 children in this observational study, collectively, tolerated the intervention and parents adhered to the 16 sessions, biweekly protocol, and home protocol, as well as completing daily diary and five standardized measures at three

different time intervals. The five measurements appeared to be sensitive to behavioral and regulatory functions that may improve with this type of intervention.

Conclusions: The results of this observational pilot study suggest that acupressure/acupuncture is a feasible intervention for children with ASD that merits rigorous evaluation through a randomized controlled trial.

Razavy S, Gadau M, Zhang S, Wang F, Bangrazi 5, Berle C et al.

Psychophysical responses in patients receiving a mock laser within context of an acupuncture clinical trial: an interoceptive perspective. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:348

Background: The psychophysical responses induced by verum acupuncture are characterized by a constellation of unique subjective sensory responses commonly termed De Qi. Furthermore, a variety of sham interventions have been used as a control for acupuncture clinical trials. Indeed, one such control has been mock laser which has been used as control intervention in several acupuncture clinical controlled trials. The current study aim was to examine the De Qi sensory responses and its related characteristics elicited from acupuncture and compare them to those reported following sham laser in participants enrolled in a clinical trial.

Methods: The study was embedded in a multi-center, two-arm randomised clinical trial, which evaluated the effect of acupuncture on lateral elbow pain. De Qi was assessed using the Massachusetts General Hospital Acupuncture Sensation Scale (MASS). Ninety-six participants were randomly allocated to receive either acupuncture (n = 47) or mock laser (n = 49) at the acupoints LI 10 and LI 11.

Results: Participants in both intervention groups reported similar De Qi psychophysical characteristics; however, both intensity and frequency of the individually perceived De Qi characteristics were significantly higher in the acupuncture group. 'Soreness', 'deep pressure', and 'fullness-distension' in the acupuncture group and 'tingling', and 'sharp pain' in mock laser group, were identified as the leading characteristics. Similar level of MASS De Qi Index (MDI) scores were reported for 'Hong Kong-China' and Australia-Italy' with a significantly higher level of De Qi reported by 'Hong Kong-China'. Furthermore, two distinct De Qi categories were identified, namely De Qi (in line with classical sensory responses of Suan, Ma, Zhang, and Zhong) and pain.

Conclusions: Subjective 'somatic or interoceptive awareness' should be taken into account when De Qi psychophysical responses are examined. The study accentuates the necessity and the significance of further research into interoception phenomenon which may contribute to a better understanding of the placebo effect and De Qi psychophysical responses

Ho X, Yuan M, Yin Y, Wang Y, Li Y, Zhang N et al.

Electroacupuncture at LI11 promotes jejunal motility via the parasympathetic pathway. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:329. 2906-017-1826-9

Background: Gastrointestinal motility disorder has been demonstrated to be regulated by acupuncture treatment. The mechanisms underlying the effects of acupuncture stimulation of abdominal and lower limb acupoints on gastrointestinal motility have been thoroughly studied; however, the physiology underlying the effects of acupuncture on the forelimbs to mediate gastrointestinal motility requires further exploration. The aim of this study was to determine whether electroacupuncture (EA) at LI11 promotes jejunal motility, whether the parasympathetic pathway participates in this effect, and if so, which somatic afferent nerve fibres are involved.

Methods: A manometric balloon was used to observe jejunal motility. The effects and mechanisms of EA at LI11 were explored in male Sprague-Dawley rats with or without drug administration (propranolol, clenbuterol, acetylcholine, and atropine) and with or without vagotomy. Three types of male mice ([[beta].sub.1] [[beta].sub.2] receptor-knockout [[beta].sub.1] [[beta].sub.2] -/-] mice, M2M3 receptor-knockout [M2M3 -/-] mice and wild-type [WT] mice) were also studied by using different EA intensities (1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 mA). A total of 72 rats and 56 mice were included in the study.

Results: EA at LI11 increased the contractile amplitude of jejunal motility in the majority of both rats and mice. However, EA at LI11 did not enhance jejunal motility in rats administered atropine, rats that underwent vagotomy, and [M.sub.2] [M.sub.3] -/- mice (at all intensities). In WT mice, EA at LI11 significantly increased jejunal motility at all intensities except 1 mA, and a plateau was reached at intensities greater than 4 mA.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that EA at LI11 promotes jejunal motility primarily by exciting the parasympathetic pathway, and that A6-fibres and C-fibres may play important roles in the process.


Choi SY, Park, K.

Effect of inhalation of aromatherapy oil on patients with perennial allergic rhinitis: A randomized controlled trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016; 7896081.

This study aimed to investigate the effects of aromatherapy oil inhalation on symptoms, quality of life, sleep quality, and fatigue level among adults with perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR). Fifty-four men and women aged between 20 and 60 were randomized to inhale aromatherapy oil containing essential oil from sandalwood, geranium, and Ravensara or almond oil (the placebo) for 5 minutes twice daily for 7 days. PAR symptoms determined by Total Nasal Symptom Score (TNSS), the Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ), sleep quality by Verran Synder-Halpern (VSH) scale, and fatigue level by Chalder Fatigue Scale (CFS) were assessed before and after intervention period. Compared with the placebo, the experimental group showed significant improvement in TNSS, especially in nasal obstruction. The aromatherapy group also showed significantly higher improvements in total score of RQLQ and CFS. These findings indicate that inhalation of certain aromatherapy oil helps relieve PAR symptoms, improve rhinitis-specific quality of life, and reduce fatigue in patients with PAR. In conclusion, inhalation of aromatherapy essential oil may have potential as an effective intervention to alleviate PAR.

Complementary medicine

Whedon J, Tosteson TD, Kizhakkeveettil A, Kimura M.

Insurance Reimbursement for Complementary Healthcare Services. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2017, (in press)

Introduction: Insurance reimbursement for clinical services provided by complementary healthcare professionals in the United States likely differs by provider specialty. It is hypothesized that a lower likelihood of insurance reimbursement demonstrates that complementary healthcare services are not utilized to an optimal level and are not financially accessible to all who may need or want these services. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the likelihood of insurance reimbursement for complementary healthcare services compared with other complementary services and with conventional primary care medical services in New Hampshire.

Methods: The authors studied health claims for services provided in a nonemergent outpatient setting in New Hampshire in 2014. The study population consisted of New Hampshire residents aged 18-99 years with claims for selected clinical services commonly provided by complementary healthcare providers. The authors modeled the proportion of reimbursed claims by specialty of complementary healthcare service provider, compared with the reimbursement rate for primary care physicians' claims. The authors modeled first for the proportion of reimbursement for any selected clinical service, next for any evaluation and management (E&M) service, and finally for the most commonly used E&M procedure code, current procedural terminology (CPT) 99213 (reevaluation of established patient).

Results: Compared with primary care physicians, the likelihood of reimbursement for any service was 69% lower for acupuncturists, 71% lower for doctors of chiropractic medicine, and 62% lower for doctors of naturopathic medicine. For any E&M service, likelihood of reimbursement was 69% lower for acupuncturists, 78% lower for doctors of chiropractic medicine, and 60% lower for doctors of naturopathic medicine. With further restriction to CPT 99213 only, likelihood of reimbursement was 34% lower for acupuncturists, 77% lower for doctors of chiropractic medicine, and 60% lower for doctors of naturopathic medicine.

Conclusions: In New Hampshire, the likelihood of health insurance reimbursement for certain clinical services differs significantly by provider specialty. More research is needed to evaluate the extent and cause of such differences and the effect of such differences on the utilization of complementary healthcare services in the United States.

Bahall M.

Prevalence, patterns, and perceived value of complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients: a cross-sectional, descriptive study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:345. 2906-017-1853-6

Background: Sophisticated conventional medicine (CM) has brought significant advances to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. However, many cancer patients still turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment. This study explored the prevalence, patterns, and perceived value of CAM among cancer patients.

Methods: This quantitative descriptive study was conducted between March 1, 2015, and July 31, 2015, among a cross-sectional, convenience sample of patients from the Oncology Department of San Fernando General Hospital in Trinidad and Tobago. Face-to-face interviews were conducted at the oncology clinic and treatment suite after obtaining informed consent. Data analysis included descriptive analysis, chi-square tests, and binary logistic regression analysis.

Results: The prevalence of CAM use among a sample of 350 cancer patients was 391% (39.6% for breast cancer, 44.4% for prostate cancer, 37% for ovarian cancer, and 38.7% for colon cancer patients). Herbs were the most common type of CAM used (93-4%), followed by spiritual therapy (73-7%). CAM use was more prevalent among females (68.6%), Indo-Trinidadians (635%), and patients aged 41-50 years (37.2%). The majority (70%-80%) rated CAM efficacy on perceived value. CAM was used mainly because of a desire to try anything that might help (67.6%), followed by it being congruent with the patients' beliefs (591%). Patients knew about CAM mainly through friends (69.3%) and family (69.3%). Most patients were generally satisfied (93.6%) and considered CAM helpful (898%), but the majority never informed their health care provider of CAM use (78.8%). Patients reported the simultaneous use of more than one type of CAM, without considering or knowing of possible side-effects.

The perceived value of CAM included empowerment, control, cure, and improved quality of life. CAM use was associated with age, but no predictors of CAM use could be identified.

Conclusion: Medicinal herbs and spiritual therapy are commonly used among cancer patients because of perceived benefits and satisfaction. CAM use is more prevalent among females, Indo-Trinidadians, and patients aged 41-50 years old. There are no useful predictors of CAM use. More than one type of CAM is commonly used simultaneously without disclosure to health care providers.

Eaves ER, Howerter A, Nichter M, Floden L, Gordon JS, Ritenbaugh C et al.

Implementation of tobacco cessation brief intervention in complementary and alternative medicine practice: qualitative evaluation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:331. 12906-017-1836-7

Background: This article presents findings from qualitative interviews conducted as part of a research study that trained Acupuncture, Massage, and Chiropractic practitioners' in Arizona, US, to implement evidence-based tobacco cessation brief interventions (BI) in their routine practice. The qualitative phase of the overall study aimed to assess: the impact of tailored training in evidence-based tobacco cessation BI on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners' knowledge and willingness to implement Bis in their routine practice; and their patients' responses to cessation intervention in CAM context.

Methods: To evaluate the implementation of skills learned from a tailored training program, we conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with 54 CAM practitioners in Southern Arizona and 38 of their patients. Interview questions focused on reactions to the implementation of tobacco cessation Bis in CAM practice.

Results: After participating in a tailored BI training, CAM practitioners reported increased confidence, knowledge, and motivation to address tobacco in their routine practice. Patients were open to being approached by CAM practitioners about tobacco use and viewed Bis as an expected part of wellness care.

Conclusions: Tailored training motivated CAM practitioners in this study to implement evidence-based tobacco cessation Bis in their routine practice. Results suggest that CAM practitioners can be a valuable point of contact and should be included in tobacco cessation efforts.

Herbal medicine

Kang O-H, Shon M-Y, Kong R, Seo Y-S, Zhou T, Kim D-Yet al.

Anti-diabetic effect of black ginseng extract by augmentation of AMPK protein activity and upregulation of GLUT2 and GLUT4 expression in db/db mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:341

Background: Black ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer), three to nine times-steamed and dried ginseng, has biological and pharmacological activities. In this study, the anti-diabetic effects of the black ginseng ethanol extract (GBG05-FF) in typical type 2 diabetic model db/db mice were investigated.

Methods: The effect of GBG05-FF in Type 2 diabetic mice was investigated by their blood analysis, biological mechanism analysis, and histological analysis.

Results: The mice group treated with GBG05-FF showed decreased fasting blood glucose and glucose tolerance compared to that of the nontreated GBG05-FF group. In the blood analysis, GBG05-FF decreased main plasma parameter such as HbAlc, triglyceride, and total-cholesterol levels related to diabetes and improved the expression of genes and protein related to glucose homeostasis and glucose uptake in the liver and muscle. The histological analysis result shows that GBG05FF decreased lipid accumulation in the liver and damage in the muscle. Moreover, GBG05-FF increased the phosphorylation of the AMPK in the liver and upregulated the expression of GLUT2 in liver and GLUT4 in muscle. Therefore, the mechanisms of GBG05-FF may be related to suppressing gluconeogenesis by activating AMPK in the liver and affecting glucose uptake in surrounding tissues via the upregulation of GLUT2 and GLUT4 expression.

Conclusion: These findings provided a new insight into the anti-diabetic clinical applications of GBG05-FF and it might play an important role in the development of promising functional foods and drugs from the viewpoint of the chemical composition and biological activities.

Amri Z, Ghorbel A, Turki M, Akrout FM, Ayadi F, Elfeki A et al.

Effect of pomegranate extracts on brain antioxidant markers and cholinesterase activity in high fat-high fructose diet induced obesity in rat model. BMC

Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:339

Background: To investigate beneficial effects of Pomegranate seeds oil (PSO), leaves (PL), juice (PJ) and (PP) on brain cholinesterase activity, brain oxidative stress and lipid profile in high-fat-high fructose diet (HFD) induced-obese rat.

Methods: In vitro and in vivo cholinesterase activity, brain oxidative status, body and brain weight and plasma lipid profile were measured in control rats, HFD-fed rats and HFD-fed rats treated by PSO, PL, PJ and PP.

Results: In vitro study showed that PSO, PL, PP, PJ inhibited cholinesterase activity in dose dependant manner.

PL extract displayed the highest inhibitory activity by IC50 of 151.85 mg/ml. For in vivo study, HFD regime induced a significant increase of cholinesterase activity in brain by 17.4% as compared to normal rats. However, the administration of PSO, PL, PJ and PP to HDF-rats decreased cholinesterase activity in brain respectively by 15.48%, 6.4%, 20% and 18.7% as compared to untreated HFD-rats. Moreover, HFD regime caused significant increase in brain stress, brain and body weight, and lipid profile disorders in blood. Furthermore, PSO, PL, PJ and PP modulated lipid profile in blood and prevented accumulation of lipid in brain and body evidenced by the decrease of their weights as compared to untreated HFD-rats. In addition administration of these extract protected brain from stress oxidant, evidenced by the decrease of malondialdehyde (MDA) and Protein carbonylation (PC) levels and the increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) levels.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the neuroprotective effects of pomegranate extracts and one of mechanisms is the inhibition of cholinesterase and the stimulation of antioxidant capacity.

Cho Y-G, Jung J-H, Kang J-H, Kwon JS, Yu SP, Baik TG.

Effect of a herbal extract powder (YY-312) from Imperata cylindrica Beauvois, Citrus unshiu Markovich, and Evodia officinalis Dode on body fat mass in overweight adults: a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:375. -4

Background: YY-312 is a herbal extract powder from Imperata cylindrica Beauvois, Citrus unshiu Markovich, and Evodia officinalis Dode, which have health promoting effects, including body fat reduction. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of YY-312 for body fat reduction in overweight adults.

Methods: This was a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebocontrolled, parallel-group clinical trial performed in overweight Korean adults aged 19-60 years with a body mass index of 25.0-299 kg/m2. The daily dose of YY-312 was 2400 mg (containing 1800 mg of active herbal extract and 600 mg of cyclodextrin). Primary outcomes were reductions in body fat mass (BFM) and body fat percentage (BF%) after 12 weeks.

Secondary outcomes included reductions in body weight and waist circumference (WC) after 12 weeks.

Results: After 12 weeks, BFM (1.6 kg vs. 0.1 kg; P = 0.023) and BF% (1.5% vs. -0.2%; P = 0.018) decreased significantly more in the YY-312 group than in the placebo group, as did body weight (2.7 kg vs. 1.0 kg; P = 0.014) and WC (2.2 cm vs. 0.8 cm; P = 0.049). All safety parameters were within normal limits; no serious adverse events occurred in either group.

Conclusions: In a 12-week clinical trial in overweight adults, YY-312 resulted in significantly greater reduction in body fat vs. placebo, while being safe and well tolerated.

Trout t WD, DiDonato MD.

Carbonyl Compounds Produced by Vaporizing Cannabis Oil Thinning Agents.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2017, (in press)

Objective: Cannabis use has increased in the United States, particularly the use of vaporized cannabis oil, which is often mixed with thinning agents for use in vaporizing devices. E-cigarette research shows that heated thinning agents produce potentially harmful carbonyls; however, similar studies have not been conducted (1) with agents that are commonly used in the cannabis industry and (2) at temperatures that are appropriate for cannabis oil vaporization. The goal of this study was to determine whether thinning agents used in the cannabis industry produce potentially harmful carbonyls when heated to a temperature that is appropriate for cannabis oil vaporization.

Design: Four thinning agents (propylene glycol [PG], vegetable glycerin [VG], polyethylene glycol 400 [PEG 400], and medium chain triglycerides [MCT]) were heated to 230[degrees]C and the resulting vapors were tested for acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde. Each agent was tested three times.

Setting/Location: Testing was conducted in a smoking laboratory.

Outcome measures: Carbonyl levels were measured in micrograms per puff block.

Results: Analyses showed that PEG 400 produced significantly higher levels of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde than PG, MCT, and VG. Formaldehyde production was also significantly greater in PG compared with MCT and VG. Acrolein production did not differ significantly across the agents.

Conclusions: PG and PEG 400 produced high levels of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde when heated to 230[degrees]C. Formaldehyde production from PEG 400 isolate was particularly high, with one inhalation accounting for 1.12% of the daily exposure limit, nearly the same exposure as smoking one cigarette. Because PG and PEG 400 are often mixed with cannabis oil, individuals who vaporize cannabis oil products may risk exposure to harmful formaldehyde levels. Although more research is needed, consumers and policy makers should consider these potential health effects before use and when drafting cannabis-related legislation.


Fitch S, Brinkhaus B, Teut M.

Hypnosis in patients with perceived stress - a systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:323. 2906-017-1806-0

Background: Although hypnosis and hypnotherapy have become more popular in recent years, the evidence for hypnosis to influence perceived stress is unclear. In this systematic review we searched and evaluated randomized clinical studies investigating the effect of hypnosis on perceived stress reduction and coping.

Methods: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Database of Abstracts of Review of Effects, EMBASE, Medline, PsycINFO, PSYNDEX and PubMed were systematically screened from their inception until December 2015 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting about hypnosis or hypnotherapy for stress reduction in healthy participants. Risk of Bias was assessed according the Cochrane Collaboration recommendations.

Results: Nine RCTs with a total of 365 participants met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Most included participants were medical students, predominantly female (n = 211). Mean age of participants ranged in most studies between 20 and 25 years, in three studies the mean ages were between 30 and 42 years. Perceived stress was measured by a wide range of psychological questionnaires including Face Valid Stress Test, Stress Thermometer, and immunological data was collected. All nine included studies used explorative designs and showed a high risk of bias. Six out of nine studies reported significant positive effects of hypnosis for stress reduction in the main outcome parameter compared to control groups (3 active controls, 3 no therapy controls). Immunological outcomes were assessed in six studies, the results were inconclusive.

Conclusions: Due to exploratory designs and high risk of bias, the effectiveness of hypnosis or hypnotherapy in stress reduction remains still unclear. More high quality clinical research is urgently needed.


Perchoux CA, Puggina A, Aleksovska K, Buck C, Burns C, Cardon G et al.

A life course examination of the physical environmental determinants of physical activity behaviour: A "Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity" (DEDIPAC) umbrella systematic literature review. PLoS One.

2017; 7;12(8):e0182083. doi: 10.1371 /journal.pone.0182083. eCollection 2017.

Background: Participation in regular physical activity is associated with a multitude of health benefits across the life course. However, many people fail to meet PA recommendations. Despite a plethora of studies, the evidence regarding the environmental (physical) determinants of physical activity remains inconclusive.

Objective: To identify the physical environmental determinants that influence PA across the life course.

Methods: An online systematic literature search was conducted using MEDLINE, ISI Web of Science, Scopus and SPORTDiscus. The search was limited to studies published in English (January 2004 to April 2016). Only systematic literature reviews (SLRs) and meta-analyses (MAs) of observational studies, that investigated the association between physical determinants and physical activity outcomes, were eligible for inclusion. The extracted data were assessed on the importance of determinants, strength of evidence and methodological quality.

Results: The literature search identified 28 SLRs and 3 MAs on 67 physical environmental characteristics potentially related to physical activity that were eligible for inclusion. Among preschool children, a positive association was reported between availability of backyard space and outdoor toys/equipment in the home and overall physical activity. The availability of physical activity programs and equipment within schools, and neighbourhood features such as pedestrian and cyclist safety structure were positively associated with physical activity in children and adolescents. Negative street characteristics, for example, lack of sidewalks and streetlights, were negatively associated with physical activity in adults. Inconsistent associations were reported for the majority of reviewed determinants in adults.

Conclusion: This umbrella SLR provided a comprehensive overview of the physical environment determinants of physical activity across the life course and has highlighted, particularly amongst youth, a number of key determinants that may be associated with overall physical activity. Given the limited evidence drawn mostly from cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies are needed to further explore these associations.

Massage,moyotherapy and other bodywork

Wilke J, Krause F, Vogt L, Banzer W.

What Is Evidence-Based About Myofascial Chains: A Systematic Review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2016; 97(3): 454-461

Objective: To provide evidence for the existence of 6 myofascial meridians proposed by Myers based on anatomic dissection studies.

Data Sources: Relevant articles published between 1900 and December 2014 were searched in MEDLINE (PubMed), ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar.

Study Selection: Peer-reviewed human anatomic dissection studies reporting morphologic continuity between the muscular constituents of the examined meridians were included. If no study demonstrating a structural connection between 2 muscles was found, articles on general anatomy of the corresponding body region were targeted.

Data Extraction: Continuity between 2 muscles was documented if 2 independent investigators agreed that it was reported clearly. Also, 2 independent investigators rated methodologic quality of included studies by means of a validated assessment tool (Quality Appraisal for Cadaveric Studies).

Data Synthesis: The literature search identified 6589 articles. Of these, 62 article met the inclusion criteria. The studies reviewed suggest strong evidence for the existence of 3 myofascial meridians: the superficial back line (all 3 transitions verified, based on 14 studies), the back functional line (all 3 transitions verified, based on 8 studies) and the front functional line (both transitions verified, based on 6 studies). Moderate-to strong evidence is available for parts of the spiral line (5 of 9 verified transitions, based on 21 studies) and the lateral line (2 of 5 verified transitions, based on 10 studies). No evidence exists for the superficial front line (no verified transition, based on 7 studies).

Conclusions: The present systematic review suggests that most skeletal muscles of the human body are directly linked by connective tissue. Examining the functional relevance of these myofascial chains is the most urgent task of future research. Strain transmission along meridians would both open a new frontier for the understanding of referred pain and provide a rationale for the development of more holistic treatment approaches.

Xia T, Long CR, Vining RD, Gudavalli MR, DeVocht JW, Kawchuk GN et al.

Association of lumbar spine stiffness and flexion-relaxation phenomenon with patient-reported outcomes in adults with chronic low back pain - a single-arm clinical trial investigating the effects of thrust spinal manipulation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:303. 2906-017-1821 -1

Background: Spinal manipulation (SM) is used commonly for treating low back pain (LBP). Spinal stiffness is routinely assessed by clinicians performing SM. Flexion-relaxation ratio (FRR) was shown to distinguish between LBP and healthy populations. The primary objective of this study was to examine the association of these two physiological variables with patientreported pain intensity and disability in adults with chronic LBP (>12 weeks) receiving SM.

Methods: A single-arm trial provided 12 sessions of side-lying thrust SM in the lumbosacral region over 6 weeks. Inclusion criteria included 21-65 years old, Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) score [greater than or equal to] 6 and numerical pain rating score [greater than or equal to] 2. Spinal stiffness and FRR were assessed pre-treatment at baseline, after 2 weeks and after 6 weeks of treatment. Lumbar spine global stiffness (GS) were calculated from the force-displacement curves obtained using i) hand palpation, ii) a hand-held device, and iii) an automated indenter device. Lumbar FRR was assessed during trunk flexion-extension using surface electromyography. The primary outcomes were RMDQ and pain intensity measured by visual analog scale (VAS). Mixed-effects regression models were used to analyze the data.

Results: The mean age of the 82 participants was 45 years; 48% were female; and 84% reported LBP >1 year. The mean (standard deviation) baseline pain intensity and RMDQ were 46.1 (18.1) and 9.5 (4.3), respectively.

The mean reduction (95% confidence interval) after 6 weeks in pain intensity and RMDQ were 20.1 mm (14.1 to 26.1) and 4.8 (37 to 5.8). There was a small change over time in the palpatory GS but not in the hand-held or automated GS, nor in FRR. The addition of each physiologic variable did not affect the model-estimated changes in VAS or RMDQ over time. There was no association seen between physiological variables and LBP intensity. Higher levels of hand-held GS at L3 and automated GS were significantly associated with higher levels of RMDQ (p = 0.02 and 0.03, respectively) and lower levels of flexion and extension FRR were significantly associated with higher levels of RMDQ (p = 0.02 and 0.008, respectively) across the 3 assessment time points.

Conclusions: Improvement in pain and disability observed in study participants with chronic LBP was not associated with the measured GS or FRR.

Buttagat V, Taepa N, Suwannived N, Rattanachan N.

Effects of scapular stabilization exercise on pain related parameters in patients with scapulocostal syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2016; 20(1 ):115-22.

Summary: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of scapular stabilization exercise (SSE) on pain intensity, pressure pain threshold (PPT), muscle tension and anxiety in patients with scapulocostal syndrome (SCS). Thirty-six patients were randomly assigned to receive a 30-minute session of either SSE or control (relaxed by lying supine quietly) for 12 sessions over a period of 4 weeks. Pain intensity, PPT, muscle tension and anxiety were assessed before and after a 4-week intervention period and 2 weeks after the intervention period. The adverse effects were evaluated after completion of the intervention period. Results indicated that the SSE group showed a significant improvement in all parameters after the intervention period and at 2 weeks after the intervention period (p < 0.05). For all outcomes, similar changes were not found in the control group. The adjusted post-test mean values of each assessment time point for pain intensity, muscle tension and anxiety were significantly lower in the SSE group than those of the control group (p < 0.05). Moreover, the values for PPT were significantly higher in the SSE group (p > 0.05). There were no reports of adverse effects in either group. We therefore conclude that SSE can improve pain related parameters and could be an effective intervention for SCS.

Mind-body therapies

Burke A, Lam CN, Stussman B, Yang H.

Prevalence and patterns of use of mantra, mindfulness and spiritual meditation among adults in the United States. BMC

Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17:316.

Background: Despite a growing body of scientific literature exploring the nature of meditation there is limited information on the characteristics of individuals who use it. This is particularly true of comparative studies examining prevalence and predictors of use of various forms of meditation.

Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (n = 34,525). Three popular forms of meditation were compared--mantra, mindfulness, and spiritual--to determine lifetime and 12-month use related to key sociodemographic, health behavior, health status, and healthcare access variables.

Results: The 12-month prevalence for meditation practice was 3.1% for spiritual meditation, 1.9% for mindfulness meditation, and 1.6% for mantra meditation. This represents approximately 7.0, 4.3, and 3.6 million adults respectively. A comparison across the three meditation practices found many similarities in user characteristics, suggesting interest in meditation may be more related to the type of person meditating than to the type of practice selected. Across meditation styles use was more prevalent among respondents who were female, non-Hispanic White, college educated, physically active; who used other complementary health practices; and who reported depression. Higher utilization of conventional healthcare services was one of the strongest predictors of use of all three styles. In addition to similarities, important distinctions were observed. For example, spiritual meditation practice was more prevalent among former drinkers. This may reflect use of spiritual meditation practices in support of alcohol treatment and sobriety. Reasons for use of meditation were examined using the sample of respondents who practiced mindfulness meditation. Wellness and prevention (74%) was a more common reason than use to treat a specific health condition (30%). Common reasons for use included stress management (92%) and emotional well-being (91%), and to support other health behaviors. Meditation was viewed positively because it was self-care oriented (81%) and focused on the whole person (79%).

Conclusion: Meditation appears to provide an accessible, self-care resource that has potential value for mental health, behavioral self-regulation, and integrative medical care. Considering consumer preference for distinct types of meditation practices, understanding the underlying mechanisms, benefits, and applications of practice variations is important.


Brown C, Read H, Stanton M, Zeeb M, Jonikas JA,Cook JA.

A pilot study of the Nutrition and Exercise for Wellness and Recovery (NEW-R): A weight loss program for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. 2015; 38(4):371-3

This purpose of this study was to evaluate the Nutrition and Exercise for Wellness and Recovery (NEW-R) weight loss intervention.

Method: Using a pretest/posttest design, 18 participants recruited from a community-based mental health program were assessed at baseline, immediately following the intervention (8 weeks), and at 6-month follow-up. The intervention was delivered by an occupational therapist and occupational therapy graduate students and consisted of 8 weekly sessions lasting 2 hr. Outcomes included changes in weight, and levels of knowledge about nutrition and exercise.

Results: Participants lost an average of 3 pounds at immediate post-intervention, and lost an average of 10 pounds at the 6-month follow-up Participants also demonstrated significant increases in their knowledge about nutrition and physical activity.

Conclusions and Implications for Practice: The results of this study provide preliminary support for the impact of the NEW-R intervention on weight loss and knowledge about diet and exercise.

Nguyen TV, Reuter JM, Caikwad NW, Rotroff DM, Kucera HR, Motsinger-Reif A et al.

The steroid metabolome in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder during GnRH agonist-induced ovarian suppression: effects of estradiol and progesterone addback.Translational Psychiatry. 2017; 7(8):e1193. doi: 10.1038/tp.2017.146.

Clinical evidence suggests that symptoms in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) reflect abnormal responsivity to ovarian steroids. This differential steroid sensitivity could be underpinned by abnormal processing of the steroid signal. We used a pharmacometabolomics approach in women with prospectively confirmed PMDD (n=15) and controls without menstrual cycle-related affective symptoms (n=15). All were medication-free with normal menstrual cycle lengths. Notably, women with PMDD were required to show hormone sensitivity in an ovarian suppression protocol. Ovarian suppression was induced for 6 months with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-agonist (Lupron); after 3 months all were randomized to 4 weeks of estradiol (E2) or progesterone (P4).

After a 2-week washout, a crossover was performed. Liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry measured 49 steroid metabolites in serum. Values were excluded if >40% were below the limit of detectability (n=21). Analyses were performed with Wilcoxon rank-sum tests using false-discovery rate (q<0.2) for multiple comparisons. PMDD and controls had similar basal levels of metabolites during Lupron and P4-derived neurosteroids during Lupron or E2/P4 conditions. Both groups had significant increases in several steroid metabolites compared with the Lupron alone condition after treatment with E2 (that is, estrone-S04 (q=0.039 and q=0.002, respectively) and estradiol-3-S04 (q=0.166 and q= 0.001, respectively)) and after treatment with P4 (that is, allopregnanolone (q=0.001 for both PMDD and controls), pregnanediol (q=0.077 and q=0.030, respectively) and cortexone (q=0.118 and q=0.157, respectively). Only sulfated steroid metabolites showed significant diagnosis-related differences. During Lupron plus E2 treatment, women with PMDD had a significantly attenuated increase in E2-3-sulfate (q=0.035) compared with control women, and during Lupron plus P4 treatment a decrease in DHEA-sulfate (q=0.07) compared with an increase in controls. Significant effects of E2 addback compared with Lupron were observed in women with PMDD who had significant decreases in DHEA-sulfate (q=0.065) and pregnenolone sulfate (q=0.076), whereas controls had non-significant increases (however, these differences did not meet statistical significance for a between diagnosis effect). Alterations of sulfotransferase activity could contribute to the differential steroid sensitivity in PMDD. Importantly, no differences in the formation of P4-derived neurosteroids were observed in this otherwise highly selected sample of women studied under controlled hormone exposures.
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Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Date:Mar 22, 2017
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