This page presents most recent publications relevant to the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine on the basis of pubmed search. Meta-analysis, reviews and clinical studies as type of document according to pubmed classification are included.
‘Acupuncture’ has been the keyword of this search. Publication language was supposed to be English.

Recently published reviews of acupuncture and Chinese medicine

1) G. Q. Chao and S. Zhang. 2014. Effectiveness of acupuncture to treat irritable bowel syndrome: A meta- analysis. World J Gastroenterol 20(7), 1871-1877.

AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. METHODS: We searched MEDLIINE, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to February 2013 for double-blind, placebo-controlled trials investigating the efficacy of acupuncture in the management of IBS. Studies were screened for inclusion based on randomization, controls, and measurable outcomes reported. We used the modified Jadad score for assessing the quality of the articles. STATA 11.0 and Revman 5.0 were used for meta-analysis. Publication bias was assessed by Begg’s and Egger’s tests. RESULTS: Six randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials met the criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The modified Jadad score of the articles was > 3, and five articles were of high quality. We analyzed the heterogeneity and found that these studies did not cause heterogeneity in our me
 ta-analysis. Begg’s test showed P = 0.707 and Egger’s test showed P = 0.334. There was no publication bias in our meta- analysis (Begg’s test, P = 0.707; Egger’s test, P = 0.334). From the forest plot, the diamond was on the right side of the vertical line and did not intersect with the line. The pooled relative risk for clinical improvement with acupuncture was 1.75 (95%CI: 1.24-2.46, P = 0.001). Using the two different systems of STATA 11.0 and Revman 5.0, we confirmed the significant efficacy of acupuncture for treating IBS. CONCLUSION: Acupuncture exhibits clinically and statistically significant control of IBS symptoms. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24587665

2) Y. Chen, et al. 2014. Analyzing the Study of Using Acupuncture in Delivery in the Past Ten Years in China. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014672508.

The use of acupuncture in inducing delivery has a long history in China. With progress over time, it has been applied in many aspects. For further study of acupuncture in delivery, this paper analyzed the papers using acupuncture in delivery in the past ten years in mainland China. 87 literatures were picked out by searching relevant electronic databases and bibliographies of relevant journals. The analysis showed randomized controlled trials that were the major type of research, while preclinical researches and literature reviews only account for around ten percent, respectively. Clinical researches indicated that acupuncture can relieve labor pain, promote maternal uterine contraction, shorten birth process, and treat postpartum disorders. Preclinical researches found that acupuncture can adjust certain hormones and improve uterus contraction of late-stage pregnant rats. However, due to lack of large multicenter randomized controlled clinical trials, standardized evaluations of clinical effects in clinical researches and detailed mechanism study in preclinical researches and unequivocal conclusions about the effectiveness, efficacy, and mechanisms of acupuncture in this field cannot be obtained from those researches yet. Further clinical and preclinical studies about the use of acupuncture in delivery with improved methodology is still needed.

3) 3) J. W. Chung, et al. 2014. Effect of Acupuncture on Heart Rate Variability: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014819871.

Aim. To summarize all relevant trials and critically evaluate the effect of acupuncture on heart rate variability (HRV). Method. This was a systematic review with meta-analysis. Keyword search was conducted in 7 databases for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Data extraction and risk of bias were done. Results. Fourteen included studies showed a decreasing effect of acupuncture on low frequency (LF) and low frequency to high frequency ratio (LF/HF ratio) of HRV for nonhealthy subjects and on normalized low frequency (LF norm) for healthy subjects. The overall effect was in favour of the sham/control group for high frequency (HF) in nonhealthy subjects and for normalized high frequency (HF norm) in healthy subjects. Significant decreasing effect on HF and LF/HF ratio of HRV when acupuncture was performed on ST36 among healthy subjects and PC6 among both healthy and nonhealthy subjects, respectively. Discussion. This study partially supports the possible effect of acupuncture in mod
 ulating the LF of HRV in both healthy and nonhealthy subjects, while previous review reported that acupuncture did not have any convincing effect on HRV in healthy subjects. More published work is needed in this area to determine if HRV can be an indicator of the therapeutic effect of acupuncture.

4) S. Cochrane, et al. 2014. Acupuncture and women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women’s reproductive health. Int J Womens Health 6313-325.

BACKGROUND: Acupuncture and other modalities of Chinese/East Asian medicine have been used to treat women’s health for many centuries. Gynecology specialties focus particularly on menstrual and reproductive disorders. Both the adoption of the use of acupuncture outside Asia, and the incorporation of scientific analysis in Asia have challenged biomedical conceptions of what can be achieved with this treatment method. The scale of research activity in relation to acupuncture and women’s health has increased over the last 20 years. OBJECTIVE: This review aims to explore the research evidence in relation to acupuncture use for women’s reproductive disorders, focusing on both clinical findings and experimental research on acupuncture’s mechanisms of action in relation to women’s health. METHODS: A narrative literature search was undertaken using searches of electronic databases and manual searches of journals and textbooks. The search included all literature published prior to June 2013.
 The literature was assessed as to the nature of the study it was reporting and findings synthesized into a commentary. RESULTS: For acupuncture’s mechanism of action the search resulted in 114 relevant documents; in relation to clinical reports on the use of acupuncture for women’s health 204 documents were found and assessed. CONCLUSION: There is preliminary data indicating acupuncture may improve menstrual health and coping for women experiencing delays falling pregnant. There is experimental data showing that acupuncture can influence female reproductive functioning, although the actual mechanisms involved are not yet clarified. Further well- conducted clinical research would benefit our understanding of the usefulness of acupuncture to women’s health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24669195

5) O. Grundmann and S. L. Yoon. 2014. Complementary and alternative medicines in irritable bowel syndrome: An integrative view. World J Gastroenterol 20(2), 346-362.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder with a high incidence in the general population. The diagnosis of IBS is mainly based on exclusion of other intestinal conditions through the absence of inflammatory markers and specific antigens. The current pharmacological treatment approaches available focus on reducing symptom severity while often limiting quality of life because of significant side effects. This has led to an effectiveness gap for IBS patients that seek further relief to increase their quality of life. Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have been associated with a higher degree of symptom management and quality of life in IBS patients. Over the past decade, a number of important clinical trials have shown that specific herbal therapies (peppermint oil and Iberogast(R)), hypnotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, acupuncture, and yoga present with improved treatment outcomes in IBS patients. We propose an integrative approach to treati
 ng the diverse symptoms of IBS by combining the benefits of and need for pharmacotherapy with known CAM therapies to provide IBS patients with the best treatment outcome achievable. Initial steps in this direction are already being considered with an increasing number of practitioners recommending CAM therapies to their patients if pharmacotherapy alone does not alleviate symptoms sufficiently. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24574705

6) J. Gu, et al. 2014. Assessment of Registration Information on Methodological Design of Acupuncture RCTs: A Review of 453 Registration Records Retrieved from WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014614850.

Background. This review provides the first methodological information assessment of protocol of acupuncture RCTs registered in WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). Methods. All records of acupuncture RCTs registered in the ICTRP have been collected. The methodological design assessment involved whether the randomization methods, allocation concealment, and blinding were adequate or not based on the information of registration records (protocols of acupuncture RCTs). Results. A total of 453 records, found in 11 registries, were examined. Methodological details were insufficient in registration records; there were 76.4%, 89.0%, and 21.4% records that did not provide information on randomization methods, allocation concealment, and blinding respectively. The proportions of adequate randomization methods, allocation concealment, and blinding were only 107 (23.6%), 48 (10.6%), and 210 (46.4%), respectively. The methodological design improved year by year, especiall
 y after 2007. Additionally, methodology of RCTs with ethics approval was clearly superior to those without ethics approval and different among registries. Conclusions. The overall methodological design based on registration records of acupuncture RCTs is not very well but improved year by year. The insufficient information on randomization methods, allocation concealment, and blinding maybe due to the relevant description is not taken seriously in acupuncture RCTs’ registration. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24688591

7) C. Liu, et al. 2014. Applications and Therapeutic Actions of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Women with Genital Infection. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014658624.

Genital infection is a common worldwide disease among females with clinical features such as bilateral lower abdominal tenderness, abnormal vaginal or cervical discharge, fever, abnormal vaginal bleeding, dyspareunia, vaginal itching, and adnexal tenderness, which can significantly impair women’s health and quality of life. Genital infection is commonly treated with antibiotics, leading to an imbalance in gut flora due to prolonged use of antibiotics. Therefore, it is necessary to discover safe and efficacious alternative treatment strategies for patients with genital infection. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is becoming increasingly prevalent among women with genital infection. CAM has interested the western mainstream medical community because of its less invasive, safe, effective, economical, and convenient therapies. CAM focuses on the prevention and treatment of disease and has become an important force in treating chronic disease. During the last few decades, the
 popularity of CAM has gradually increased. To further understand the efficacy of CAM in treating genital infection, our paper will review the current progress of treating genital infection including vulvitis, vaginitis, cervicitis, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) with CAM
?????therapies. Several CAM strategies including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, Psychology interference, and physical therapy are introduced in this review.

8) E. Ralevski, et al. 2014. PTSD and comorbid AUD: a review of pharmacological and alternative treatment options. Subst Abuse Rehabil 525-36.

BACKGROUND: Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD) frequently co-occur there are no specific treatments for individuals diagnosed with these comorbid conditions. The main objectives of this paper are to review the literature on pharmacological options for PTSD and comorbid AUD, and to summarize promising behavioral and alternative interventions for those with these dual diagnoses. METHODS: We conducted a comprehensive search on PsycINFO and MEDLINE/PubMed databases using Medical Subject Headings terms in various combinations to identify articles that used pharmacotherapy for individuals with dual diagnoses of PTSD and AUD. Similar strategies were used to identify articles on behavioral and alternative treatments for AUD and PTSD. We identified and reviewed six studies that tested pharmacological treatments for patients with PTSD and comorbid AUD. RESULTS: The literature on treatment with US Food and Drug Administration approved medications for p
 atients with dual diagnosis of PTSD and AUD is very limited and inconclusive. Promising evidence indicates that topiramate and prazosin may be effective in reducing PTSD and AUD symptoms in individuals with comorbidity. Seeking safety has had mixed efficacy in clinical trials. The efficacy of other behavioral and alternative treatments (mindfulness- based, yoga, and acupuncture) is more difficult to evaluate since the evidence comes from small, single studies without comparison groups. CONCLUSION: There is a clear need for more systematic and rigorous study of pharmacological, behavioral, and alternative treatments for patients with dual diagnoses of PTSD and AUD.

9) R. Sun, et al. 2014. Connectomics: A New Direction in Research to Understand the Mechanism of Acupuncture. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014568429.

Acupuncture has been used to treat various disorders in China and some other eastern countries for thousands of years. Nowadays, acupuncture is gradually accepted as an alternative and complementary method in western countries for its undeniable therapeutic effects. However, its central mechanism is still unclear. It is especially difficult to reveal how different regions in the brain influence one another and how the relationship is among these regions responding to acupuncture treatment. Recently, by applying neuroimaging techniques and network theory, acupuncture studies can make further efforts to investigate the influence of acupuncture on regional cerebral functional connectivity (FC) and the modulation on “acupuncture-related” networks. Connectomics appears to be a new direction in research to further understand the central mechanism underlying acupuncture. In this paper, an overview of connectomics application in acupuncture research will be discussed, with special emphasis o
 n present findings of acupuncture and its influence on cerebral FC. Firstly, the connectomics concept and its significance on acupuncture will be outlined. Secondly, the commonly used brain imaging techniques will be briefly introduced. Thirdly, the influence of acupuncture on FC will be discussed in greater detail. Finally, the possible direction in forthcoming research will be reviewed by analyzing the limitation of present studies.

10) J. X. Tian, et al. 2014. Xiangshaliujunzi Decoction for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis: A systematic review. World J Gastroenterol 20(2), 561-568.

AIM: To assess the current clinical evidence of the effectiveness of Xiangshaliujunzi Decoction (XSLJZD) for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis (DGP). METHODS: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were retrieved from seven major electronic databases including Medline, the Cochrane Library, Embase, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Scientific Journal Database (VIP), and Wanfang Databases, using search dates from the beginning of the databases to May 2013.
No language ???limitations were applied. We included RCTs that used XSLJZD or a modified XSLJZD compared with a control group for the treatment of DGP. The control groups included conventional treatment (Western medicinal treatment), placebo, and no treatment (blank), but not acupuncture. The main outcome index was clinical effectiveness, which was based on the gastric emptying test and variations in the gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms between the treatment and control groups after intervention. Data extraction, analysis, and quality assessment were conducted according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Review of Interventions, Version 5.1.0. RESULTS: Ten RCTs involving 867 patients (441 in the experimental groups, and 426 in the control groups) were identified, and the overall methodological quality was evaluated as generally low. In the treatment groups, all 10 trials used herbs alone as the treatment, whereas all control groups used prokinetic medicine. The period of intervention ranged from 2 to 8 wk. Three classes were used to evaluate treatment efficacy: significant effective, effective, and ineffective, and all trials used the clinical effective rate (based on the gastric emptying test and changes in GI symptoms) to evaluate efficacy. The data showed that the effects of XSLJZD for the treatment of DGP were superior to the control group (n = 867, RR =1.33, 95%CI: 1.24-1.42, Z = 8.11, P < 0.00001). Two trials recorded adverse events, and one trial reported follow-up. CONCLUSION: XSLJZD could restore the gastric emptying rate and improve symptoms. However, the evidence remains weak due to the poor methodological quality of the included studies.

11) 11) R. Zhang, et al. 2014. Mechanisms of acupuncture-electroacupuncture on persistent pain. Anesthesiology 120(2), 482-503.

In the last decade, preclinical investigations of electroacupuncture mechanisms on persistent tissue injury (inflammatory), nerve injury (neuropathic), cancer, and visceral pain have increased. These studies show that electroacupuncture activates the nervous system differently in health than in pain conditions, alleviates both sensory and affective inflammatory pain, and inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain more effectively at 2 to 10 Hz than at 100 Hz. Electroacupuncture blocks pain by activating a variety of bioactive chemicals through peripheral, spinal, and supraspinal mechanisms. These include opioids, which desensitize peripheral nociceptors and reduce proinflammatory cytokines peripherally and in the spinal cord, and serotonin and norepinephrine, which decrease spinal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit GluN1 phosphorylation. Additional studies suggest that electroacupuncture, when combined with low dosages of conventional analgesics, provides effective pain management which can forestall the side effects of often-debilitating pharmaceuticals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24322588

12) C. I. Aquino and S. L. Nori. 2014. Complementary therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome. Transl Med UniSa 956-65.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disease. PCOS afflicts 5 to 10 % of women of reproductive age. The symptoms are: amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, hirsutism, obesity, infertility, chronic hyperandrogenic anovulation and acne. OTHER RISK FACTORS AGGRAVATE THIS CONDITION: insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, inflammation and subclinical cardiovascular disease. Anxiety, depression and reduced quality of life are also common. This review highlights the mechanisms and the beneficial effects of acupuncture, exercise and resveratrol on animal models and on humans affected by PCOS.

13) S. Cheon, et al. 2014. Pharmacopuncture for cancer care: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014804746.

Background. Pharmacopuncture, injection to acupoints with pharmacological medication or herbal medicine, is a new acupuncture therapy widely available in Korea and China for cancer-related symptoms. However, the evidence is yet to be clear. Objective. To determine pharmacopuncture’s effectiveness on cancer-related symptoms. Methods. Eleven databases were searched for randomized controlled trials of pharmacopuncture in cancer patients. The Cochrane risk of bias (ROB) assessment tool was used for quality assessment. Results. Twenty-two studies involving 2,459 patients were included. Five trials of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) underwent meta-analysis.
Pharmacopuncture significantly relieved severity of CINV compared with control group (3 trials, risk ratio (RR) 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.14-1.44). ?The frequency of CINV was also was also significantly reduced with phamacopuncture? (2 trials, RR 2.47, 95% CI = 2.12-2.89).
Seventeen trials studied various symptoms, and in most studies, pharmacopuncture significantly relieved pain, ileus, hiccup, fever, and gastrointestinal symptoms and improved quality of life in various cancer patients. ROB was generally high. Conclusion. It may be suggested with caution that pharmacopuncture may help various symtom relief in cancer patients, but it is hard to draw a firm conclusion due to clinical heterogeneity and high ROB of the included studies, hence warranting further investigation.

14) J. W. Frisk, et al. 2014. How long do the effects of acupuncture on hot flashes persist in cancer patients? Support Care Cancer 22(5), 1409-15.

PURPOSE: Acupuncture has been suggested as therapy for hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. In this systematic review, we sought to evaluate the long-term effects on vasomotor symptoms after the end of a defined treatment period of acupuncture in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer.
METHODS: A literature search revealed 222 articles within the field. With defined exclusion criteria, we identified 17 studies. We also used the Jadad quality score and identified seven studies with a score of at least 3.
RESULTS: Six of seven identified studies qualified for inclusion in an analysis that measured frequency of hot flashes weighted in relation to number of patients (n=172). The average reduction from baseline to end of acupuncture (ranging between 5 and 12 weeks of treatment) showed 43.2 % reduction of hot flashes. At the last follow-up (mean 5.8 months, range 3-9 months) after the end of therapy, the weighted reduction from baseline was sustained at 45.6 % in the 153 of 172 patients (89 %) who were followed up.
CONCLUSIONS: Data from six prospective analyzed studies indicate at least 3-month effects after the end of acupuncture treatment for flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. However, larger randomized trials with long-term follow-up will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

15) Y. H. Koog, et al. 2014. Clinically meaningful nocebo effect occurs in acupuncture treatment: a systematic review. J Clin Epidemiol 67(8), 858-869.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the nocebo effect using randomized acupuncture trials that include sham and no-treatment groups.
STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Electronic databases were searched to retrieve eligible trials from their inception until June 2013. Risk differences were then calculated using the acupuncture and sham groups to determine the treatment effect and the sham and no-treatment groups to determine the nocebo effect.
RESULTS: In total, 58 eligible trials were analyzed. On the basis of the rate of patients with any adverse event in 31 trials reporting available data, the treatment effect was 0.012 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.003, 0.021), with a number needed to harm (NNH) of 83 (95% CI: 48, 333). The nocebo effect was 0.049 (95% CI: 0.012, 0.086), with an NNH of 20 (95% CI: 12, 83). By contrast, the rate of dropouts due to adverse events in 39 trials reporting available data showed no differences for both effects. In addition, nearly 70% of the trials reported zero dropouts in the sham and no-treatment groups.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that (1) the nocebo effect of acupuncture is clinically meaningful and (2) the rate of patients with any adverse event may be a more appropriate indicator of the nocebo effect.

16) S. Lee, et al. 2014. The effectiveness and safety of moxibustion for treating cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review and meta-analyses. Support Care Cancer 22(5), 1429-40.

PURPOSE: Among cancer patients, cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most common symptoms and adversely affects physical ability and quality of life even several years after treatment. This study aims to evaluate the current evidence for moxibustion in patients with CRF.
METHODS: Eighteen databases were searched from their inception to April 2013. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of moxibustion for treating CRF without language restriction were considered for inclusion. The risk of bias and reporting quality of each study were assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool, Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), and Revised Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA). Risk ratio (RR) or mean difference (MD) was used to measure the treatment effect with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) in a random effects model.
RESULTS: Four RCTs with a total of 374 subjects were included for the review. These four studies compared moxibustion plus routine care with routine care alone. Most studies were determined to have a moderate to high risk of bias with low reporting quality. An indirect moxa stick was used in two studies, an indirect ginger cake-separated moxa was used in one study, and in one remaining study, both moxibustion methods were used. Meta-analysis showed the favorable effects of moxibustion on the response rate (RR, 1.73; 95 % CI, 1.29 to 2.32; p=.0003; heterogeneity, I (2)=15 %, p=.32). Burning with a mild blister after moxibustion was reported in one study.
CONCLUSIONS: Because of a high risk of bias and low reporting quality of the studies included in this review, it is difficult to draw the conclusion that moxibustion is an effective and safe treatment for patients with CRF. Further rigorous research will be necessary to evaluate whether moxibustion has beneficial effects on CRF.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO. Unique identifier: CRD42013004501.

17) K. M. Levett, et al. 2014. Acupuncture and acupressure for pain management in labour and birth: A critical narrative review of current systematic review evidence. Complement Ther Med 22(3), 523-540.

BACKGROUND: Reviews of maternity services highlight the need for a reduction of medical interventions for women with low risk pregnancies and births to prevent the potential cascade of interventions and their associated risks. Complementary medicines (CM) such as acupuncture and acupressure have claimed to be effective in reducing interventions in labour; however, systematic reviews of evidence to date are conflicting. AIMS: To examine current evidence from systematic reviews on the topic of acupuncture and acupressure for pain management in labour and birth, and to evaluate the methodological and treatment frameworks applied to this evidence.
METHODS: A search limited to systematic reviews of the MEDLINE, CINAHL, PUBMED, EMBASE and Cochrane databases was performed in December 2013 using the keywords ‘CAM’, ‘alternative medicine’, ‘complementary medicine’, ‘complementary therapies’, ‘traditional medicine’, ‘Chinese Medicine’, ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’, ‘acupuncture’, ‘acupressure’, cross-referenced with ‘childbirth’, ‘birth’, labo*r’, and ‘delivery’. The quality of the evidence is also evaluated in the context of study design.
RESULTS: The RCTs included in these systematic reviews differed in terms of study designs, research questions, treatment protocols and outcome measures, and yielded some conflicting results. It may be inappropriate to include these together in a systematic review, or pooled analysis, of acupuncture for labour with an expectation of an overall conclusion for efficacy. Trials of acupuncture and acupressure in labour show promise, but further studies are required.
CONCLUSION: The use of current systematic reviews of the evidence for acupuncture and acupressure for labour and birth may be misleading. Appropriate methods and outcome measures for investigation of acupuncture and acupressure treatment should more carefully reflect the research question being asked. The use of pragmatic trials designs with woman-centred outcomes may be appropriate for evaluating the effectiveness of these therapies.

18) T. W. Moon, et al. 2014. Acupuncture for treating whiplash associated disorder: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014870271.

The aim of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of whiplash associated disorder (WAD). Twenty databases were searched from their inceptions to Oct. 2013. Randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of acupuncture (AT), electroacupuncture (EA), or dry needling (DN) for the treatment of WAD were considered eligible. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Six RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Most of the included RCTs have serious methodological flaws. Four of the RCTs showed effectiveness of AT, AT in addition to usual care (UC), AT in addition to herbal medicine (HM) or EA was more effective than relaxation, sham EA, sham EA in addition to HM or UC for conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and alleviating pain. In one RCT, DN in addition to physiotherapy (PT) had no effect compared to sham-DN in addition to PT for the reduction of pain. None of the RCTs showed that AT/EA/DN was more effective than various types of control groups i
 n reducing disability/function. One RCT did not report between-group comparisons of any outcome measures. The evidence for the effectiveness of AT/EA/DN for the treatment of WAD is limited. Therefore, more research in this area is warranted.

19) J. Xu, et al. 2014. Safety of moxibustion: a systematic review of case reports. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014783704.

Moxibustion is a traditional medical treatment originating in China. It involves using the heat of burning moxa to stimulate acupoints. It is considered safe and effective and is widely used throughout the world. The increasing use of moxibustion has drawn attention to the procedure’s adverse events (AEs). This review covers a total of 64 cases of AEs associated with moxibustion in 24 articles, reported in six countries. Some evidence of the risks of moxibustion has been found in these cases.
AEs include allergies, burns, infection, coughing, nausea, vomiting, fetal distress, premature birth, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), ectropion, hyperpigmentation, and even death. The position, duration, distance between moxa and skin, proficiency of the practitioners, conditions of the patients, presence of smoke, and even the environment of treatment can affect the safety of moxibustion. Improving practitioner skill and regulating operations may reduce the incidence of adverse reactions and improve the security of moxibustion.

20) X. Yang, et al. 2014. Chinese massage (Tuina) for the treatment of essential hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med 22(3), 541-548.

BACKGROUND: Chinese massage, named Tuina, is commonly used in China and potentially effective for essential hypertension (EH). However, there is no critically appraised evidence such as systematic reviews or meta-analyses on the effectiveness and safety of Tuina for EH.
METHODS: The following electronic databases: Pubmed, the Cochrane library, CNKI, the Wan Fang Database and VIP were searched for published and unpublished randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of Tuina for EH up to 20th August 2013.
RESULTS: Seven randomized trials involving 479 patients were included. The results of meta-analysis showed superior effects of Tuina plus antihypertensive drugs compared to antihypertensive drugs alone, however, Tuina alone was not superior to antihypertensive drugs. The safety of Tuina for EH was still unclear because adverse effects were not assessed in most of the original trials.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings from our review suggest that Tuina might be a beneficial adjuvant for patients with EH, although the results are of limited value due to the clinical heterogeneity and low methodological quality of the included studies. Future studies should adhere to high-quality RCTs with long follow-up for demonstrating the effectiveness of Tuina for inpatients with EH.

Recently published clinical studies of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

1) T. Bao, et al. 2014. Patient-Reported Outcomes in Women With Breast Cancer Enrolled in a Dual-Center, Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial Assessing the Effect of Acupuncture in Reducing Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Musculoskeletal Symptoms. Cancer 120(3), 381-389.

BACKGROUND: Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have been associated with decrements in patient-reported outcomes (PROs). The objective of this study was to assess whether real acupuncture (RA), compared with sham acupuncture (SA), improves PROs in patients with breast cancer who are receiving an adjuvant AI.
METHODS: Postmenopausal women with a stage 0 through III breast cancer who received an AI and had treatment-associated musculoskeletal symptoms were randomized to receive 8 weekly RA versus SA in a dual-center, randomized controlled trial. The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) menopausal symptoms questionnaire, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CESD) scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the hot flash daily diary, the Hot Flash-Related Daily Interference Scale (HFRDI), and the European quality-of-life survey (EuroQol) were used to assess PROs at baseline and at 4weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks.
RESULTS: The intention-to-treat analysis included 23 patients in the RA arm and 24 patients in the SA arm. There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the 2 groups. Compared with baseline, scores in the RA arm improved significantly at week 8 on the CESD (P=.022), hot flash severity (P=.006), hot flash frequency (P=.011), the HFRDI (P=.014), and NSABP menopausal symptoms (P=.022); scores in the SA arm improved significantly on the EuroQol (P=.022),the HFRDI (P=.043), and NSABP menopausal symptoms (P=.005). Post-hoc analysis indicated that African American patients (n=9) benefited more from RA than SA compared with non-African American patients (n=38) in reducing hot flash severity (P<.001) and frequency (P<.001) scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Both RA and SA were associated with improvement in PROs among patients with breast cancer who were receiving AIs, and no significant difference was detected between arms. Racial differences in response to acupuncture warrant further study. Cancer 2014;120:381- 389. (c) 2013 American Cancer Society.

2) M. T. Chao, et al. 2014. An innovative acupuncture treatment for primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized, crossover pilot study. Altern Ther Health Med 20(1), 49-56.

CONTEXT: Dysmenorrhea, the occurrence of painful menstrual cramping of the uterus, is a major cause of activity restriction and absences from school and work among young women. Standard pharmaceuticals used to treat dysmenorrhea are not effective for all women and have side effects that limit their use. Studies elsewhere have shown beneficial effects for use of vitamin K1 as an acupoint treatment, but the acceptability of this treatment to women in the United States has been unknown. OBJECTIVE: The study intended to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of acupuncture point injection of vitamin K1 as an alternative treatment for primary dysmenorrhea among US women. DESIGN: The research team conducted a pilot study using a blinded, randomized, crossover trial design. SETTING: The study took place at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). PARTICIPANTS: The study was conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area among women 18 to 25 y of age who had been
  diagnosed with primary dysmenorrhea. Fourteen women completed all of the study’s visits. INTERVENTION: Women with primary dysmenorrhea were randomized into 2 groups to receive bilateral injections of vitamin K1 in the Spleen-6 (SP-6) acupuncture point at the start of menstruation and then, following a 2-mo washout period, saline in a nonacupuncture point at the start of menstruation. One group received the vitamin K1 injection first, while the other group received the saline injection first. OUTCOME MEASURE: Dysmenorrhea pain intensity was measured using a 0-10 numeric rating scale (NRS), before and after injections. RESULTS: Women had an average 2.5-point decrease in pain after a vitamin K1 injection in the SP-6 acupoint (P < .001), as compared with a 1.8-point decrease after a saline injection (P < .001). Change scores for vitamin K1, as compared with a saline injection, approached statistical significance (P < .10). Intensity and duration of menstrual symptoms, as measured by th
 e Cox retrospective symptom scale, also decreased following injections. After participating, 94% of the women remained agreeable to receiving the injection therapy, and 77% reported they would come every month were the treatment available. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggested high acceptability for an acupuncture point injection of vitamin K1 as treatment for primary dysmenorrhea among young women in San Francisco. Pain decreased with both treatments, with a trend toward greater pain reduction for the vitamin K1/SP-6 injection. This finding is consistent with outcomes from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital in Shanghai, China, where the protocol was developed.

3) J. H. Cho, et al. 2014. Acupuncture with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) versus acupuncture or NSAIDs alone for the treatment of chronic neck pain: an assessor-blinded randomised controlled pilot study. Acupunct Med 32(1), 17-23.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the feasibility and sample size required for a full-scale randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of acupuncture with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for chronic neck pain compared with acupuncture or NSAID treatment alone. METHODS: A total of 45 patients with chronic neck pain participated in the study. For 3 weeks the acupuncture with NSAIDs treatment group took NSAIDs (zaltoprofen, 80 mg) daily while receiving acupuncture treatment three times a week. The acupuncture treatment group received treatment three times a week and the NSAID treatment group took NSAIDs daily. The primary outcomes were to determine the feasibility and to calculate the sample size. As secondary outcomes, pain intensity and pain-related symptoms for chronic neck pain were measured. RESULTS: With regard to enrolment and dropout rates, 88.2% of patients consented to be recruited to the trial and 15.6% of participants were lost to follow-up. The sample size for
 a full-scale trial was estimated to be 120 patients. Although preliminary, there was a significant change in the visual analogue scale (VAS) for neck pain intensity between the baseline measurement and each point of assessment in all groups. However, there was no difference in VAS scores between the three groups. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study has provided the feasibility and sample size for a full-scale trial of acupuncture with NSAIDs for chronic neck pain compared with acupuncture or NSAID treatment alone. Further research is needed to validate the effects of acupuncture with NSAIDs.

4) J. J. Mao, et al. 2014. A randomised trial of electro-acupuncture for arthralgia related to aromatase inhibitor use. Eur J Cancer 50(2), 267-76.

BACKGROUND: Arthralgia is a common and debilitating side-effect experienced by breast cancer patients receiving aromatase inhibitors (AIs) and often results in premature drug discontinuation. METHODS: We conducted a randomised controlled trial of electro-acupuncture (EA) as compared to waitlist control (WLC) and sham acupuncture (SA) in postmenopausal women with breast cancer who self-reported arthralgia attributable to AIs. Acupuncturists performed 10 EA/SA treatments over 8 weeks using a manualised protocol with 2 Hz electro-stimulation delivered by a TENS unit. Acupuncturists administered SA using Streitberger (non-penetrating) needles at non-traditional acupuncture points without electro-stimulation. The primary end-point was pain severity by Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) between EA and WLC at Week 8; durability of response at Week 12 and comparison of EA to SA were secondary aims. FINDINGS: Of the 67 randomly assigned patients, mean reduction in pain severity was greater in the EA
 group than in the WLC group at Week 8 (-2.2 versus -0.2, p=0.0004) and at Week 12 (-2.4 versus -0.2, p<0.0001). Pain-related interference measured by BPI also improved in the EA group compared to the WLC group at both Week 8 (-2.0 versus 0.2, p=0.0006) and Week 12 (-2.1 versus -0.1, p=0.0034). SA produced a magnitude of change in pain severity and pain-related interference at Week 8 (-2.3, -1.5 respectively) and Week 12 (-1.7, -1.3 respectively) similar to that of EA. Participants in both EA and SA groups reported few minor adverse events. INTERPRETATIONS: Compared to usual care, EA produced clinically important and durable improvement in arthralgia related to AIs in breast cancer patients, and SA had a similar effect. Both EA and SA were safe. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24210070