Acupuncture for post-stroke depression

Depression and anxiety after stroke are common and affect about a third of stroke survivors. While acupuncture to help stroke recovery has been well researched and recognised, specific studies to show acupuncture to treat post stroke depression are not as abundant. Researchers from China have searched the studies to perform an analysis and review.

They discovered that almost all of the studies compared acupuncture to using of antidepressant medications, and that acupuncture was as effective as medications, but with fewer side effects and adverse reactions.

Obviously at the early stage of the disease most of the post stroke patients will have a difficulty to travel to an acupuncturist to have treatments. But those who are lucky enough to have an acupuncturist travel to their hospital to help their stroke recovery, should remind acupuncturist to take their mental state into account when designing a treatment plan.

Acupuncture for premenstrual syndrome, a new study

Acupuncture for premenstrual syndrome

The current issue of BJOG, a leading publication in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, features a study on acupuncture and premenstrual syndrome.  In an attempt to evaluate current evidence, the researchers searched for high-quality studies and included 10 of them in this review.

The results showed that acupuncture is superior to all controls.  Four studies comparing the effects of acupuncture with different doses of progestin and anti-anxiety medications also supported the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture significantly improved symptoms when compared with sham acupuncture, ruling out the improvements were due to the placebo effect.

The researchers concluded that considering the potential of acupuncture, it needs to be further rigorously studied.

Acupuncture eases depression

If you are in New Zealand, you may have read the article on stuff.co.nz titled “Needles ease depression“. The article cites a small Australian study, which shows that acupuncture can effectively relieve severe depression. A quick web search has shown that the results of this particular study, even though quite dramatic, are still preliminary. The study is not completed yet.

I did a bit more digging in medical databases online and found another study published earlier this year in Journal of affective disorders. This study is a meta analysis (which is quite a lot higher up on the evidence based medicine hierarchy ladder).

The researchers reviewed and summarised results of eight randomised controlled trials. They confirmed that acupuncture significantly reduced the severity of depression, which was indicated by decreased scores of Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) or Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).