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Acupuncture Research
 

Abstract

 

Objectives

In cancer patients, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (cipn) is a common complication, characterized by pain, loss of sensation, and numbness. Medical treatment for peripheral neuropathies has been shown to be ineffective for cipn. Acupuncture has been shown to be safe and effective in treating cancer-related symptoms and other peripheral neuropathies. For the present review, we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of cipn.

 

Design

Comprehensive searches for relevant studies were conducted in Ovid embase, the Web of Science, Ovid medline, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (central), cinahl (ebsco Information Services, Ipswich, MA, U.S.A.), and the ClinicalTrials.gov Web site. References from previous systematic reviews were also searched. Additional trials were found in the reference lists of relevant papers and in searches of Google Scholar and acupuncture-specific Web sites. Included studies were randomized controlled trials (rcts) of any type of acupuncture used to treat patients with cipn.

 

Results

Three clinical trials (203 participants) were included. Two studies found acupuncture to be effective in alleviating cipn pain and improving quality of life. One study found no benefit in improving neuropathic pain, symptoms, or quality of life. Study quality was variable and included a moderate overall risk of bias.

 

Conclusions

The evidence is insufficient to recommend acupuncture for the treatment or prevention of cipn. Further research is needed to evaluate the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of cipn. Given that acupuncture is considered safe and might provide relief for patients, it can be considered at the clinician’s discretion.

 

Keywords: Acupuncture, systematic reviews, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, cipn, integrative oncology

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture as monotherapy and as an alternative therapy in treating depression related
insomnia.

 

Data Source

Seven databases were searched starting from 1946 to March 30, 2016.

 

Study Eligibility Criteria

Randomized-controlled trials of adult subjects (18–75 y) who had depression-related insomnia and had received acupuncture.


Results

18 randomized-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) were introduced in this meta-analysis. The findings determined that the acupuncture treatment made significant improvements in PSQI score (MD = −2.37, 95% CI −3.52 to −1.21) compared with Western medicine.  Acupuncture combined with Western medicine had a better effect on improving sleep quality (MD = −2.63, 95% CI −4.40 to −0.86) compared with the treatment of Western medicine alone.  There was no statistical difference (MD = −2.76, 95% CI −7.65 to 2.12) between acupuncture treatment and Western medicine towards improving the HAMD score.  Acupuncture combined with Western medicine (MD = −5.46, CI −8.55 to −2.38) had more effect on improving depression degree compared with the Western medicine alone.

 

Conclusion

This systematic review indicates that acupuncture could be an alternative therapy to medication for treating depression-related insomnia.

Objective

To summarize the current evidence that evaluates the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment or prevention of migraine, tension-type headache, and chronic headache disorders.

Methods

Findings from selected systematic reviews and meta-analyses are summarized.

Results

Recently published systematic reviews and metaanalyses demonstrate that acupuncture is associated with improved clinical outcomes compared to routine care only, medical management, and sham acupuncture 2 months after randomization. The evidence in support of acupuncture’s comparative effectiveness at longer follow-up periods is mixed.  Cost effectiveness analyses conducted in the United Kingdom and Germany suggest that acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment option in those countries. There are few or no cost effectiveness studies of acupuncture in the United States.

Discussion

This brief review of the current, published evidence does not include a discussion of potential risks or adverse events associated with acupuncture. There is also the question of the extent to which placebo effects might contribute to acupuncture’s clinical effectiveness. From a purely comparative effectiveness perspective, however, the evidence from clinical trials and meta-analyses makes a compelling case in support of a potentially important role for acupuncture as part of a treatment plan for patients with migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders.

Highlights
-  Acupuncture has a clinically relevant effect on chronic pain that persists over time
-  The effect of acupuncture cannot be explained only by placebo effects
-  Factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors
-  Referral for acupuncture treatment is a reasonable option for chronic pain patients

 

Abstract
Despite wide use in clinical practice, acupuncture remains a controversial treatment for chronic pain. Our objective was to update an individual patient data meta-analysis to determine the effect size of acupuncture for four chronic pain conditions.We searched MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials randomized trials published up until December 31, 2015. We included randomized trials of acupuncture needling versus either sham acupuncture or no acupuncture control for non-specific musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, or shoulder pain. Trials were only included if allocation concealment was unambiguously determined to be adequate. Raw data were obtained from study authors and entered into an individual patient data meta-analysis. The main outcome measures were pain and function. An additional 13 trials were identified, with data 
received for a total of 20,827 patients from 39 trials.Acupuncture was superior to both sham and no acupuncture control for each pain condition (all p<0.001) with differences between groups close to 0.5 standard deviations (SD) for comparison with no acupuncture control and close to 0.2 SDs in comparison with sham. We also found clear evidence  that the effects of acupuncture persist over time with only a small decrease, approximately 15%, in  treatment effect at one year. In secondary analyses, we found no obvious association between trial  outcome and characteristics of acupuncture treatment, but effect sizes of acupuncture were 
associated with the type of control group, with smaller effects sizes for sham controlled trials 
that used a penetrating needle for sham, and for trials that had high intensity of intervention in  the control arm.We conclude that acupuncture  is effective for the treatment of chronic pain, with treatment effects persisting over time. While factors in addition to  the specific effects of needling at correct acupuncture point locations are important contributors to the treatment effect, decreases in pain following acupuncture cannot be explained solely in terms of placebo effects. Variations in the effect size of acupuncture in different trials are driven predominately by differences in treatments received by the control group rather than by differences in the characteristics of acupuncture treatment.

Abstract

Objectives: Vasomotor symptoms (VMSs) are the most common symptoms reported during menopause. Although hormone therapy is effective for reducing VMSs, its use is restricted in some women.  Many women with VMSs thus seek nonhormonal, nonpharmacologic treatment options such as acupuncture.

 

Design: An umbrella systematic review (SR) was conducted, supplemented by a search of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs), that assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture for VMSs, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and adverse effects of treatment in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women. Metaanalyses were conducted using a random-effects model when data were sufficient.

 

Results: Three SRs and four new RCTs were identified that met eligibility criteria. Meta-analyses of this study revealed statistically significant standardized mean differences (SMDs) associated with acupuncture compared with no acupuncture at reducing VMS frequency (SMD -0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.06 to -0.26, I2 = 61.7%, 5 trials) and VMS severity (SMD -0.49, 95% CI -0.85 to -0.13, I2 = 18.1%, 4 trials) and improving HRQOL outcomes (SMD -0.93, 95% CI -1.20 to -0.67, I2 = 0.0%, 3 trials). SMDs were smaller or not statistically significant when acupuncture was compared with sham acupuncture.

 

Conclusions: Evidence from RCTs supports the use of acupuncture as an adjunctive or stand alone treatment for reducing VMSs and improving HRQOL outcomes, with the caveat that observed clinical benefit associated with acupuncture may be due, in part, or in whole to nonspecific effects. The safety of acupuncture in the treatment of VMSs has not been rigorously examined, but there is no clear signal for a significant potential for harm.


Keywords: vasomotor symptoms, hot flashes, health-related quality of life, acupuncture, nonpharmacologic treatment

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Qigong & Tai Chi Research
 

Abstract

 

Objective

To evaluate the effect of Tai Chi on balance and reducing falls incidence in neurological disorders.

Data sources:

AMED, Embase, Web of Science, SCOPUS, EBSCO and Medline from inception until February 2018.

Review method:

Randomized controlled trials of Tai Chi compared with active or no treatment control, measuring balance with the Berg Balance Scale or the Timed Up and Go Test and number of falls in neurological disorders were included. Methodological quality was assessed using PEDro and quality of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system.

 

Results:

A total of 10 studies involving 720 participants were reviewed. Seven studies were in Parkinson’s disease and three in stroke. Seven studies were of high methodological quality and three were low. Meta-analyses of balance measured with the Timed Up and Go Test in Parkinson’s disease revealed a statistically significant effect of Tai Chi compared to no treatment (weighted mean difference (WMD), –2.13; 95% confidence interval (CI), −3.26 to −1.00; P < 0.001) and was insignificant (WMD, −0.19; 95% CI, −1.74 to 1.35; P = 0.81) when compared with active treatment. Tai Chi significantly reduced falls incidence in Parkinson’s disease (odds ratio (OR), 0.47; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.77; P = 0.003) and stroke (OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.48; P < 0.001). Balance measured with the Timed Up and Go Test comparing Tai Chi and active treatment was insignificant (WMD, 0.45; 95% CI, –3.43 to 2.54; P = 0.77) in stroke.

 

Conclusion:

Tai Chi is effective in reducing falls incidence in Parkinson’s disease and stroke. This systematic review did not find high-quality studies among other neurological disorders.

 

Keywords: Nervous system diseasesTai JiTai Chiaccidental fallsmeta-analysis

Abstract

Objectives

Conduct a systematic review to evaluate the effects of Tai Chi on physical and psychosocial function among individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.

 

Methods

An electronic literature search of 12 databases using controlled vocabulary function and keywords from inception through August 2016. All Tai Chi intervention studies assessing physical and psychosocial function among persons with Multiple Sclerosis were included. Study quality was scored using an established tool examining 16 study elements (range = 0–32).

 

Results

A total of 91 articles were retrieved, with 3 additional articles identified through reviewing bibliographies of relevant articles. A total of 8 studies (randomized controlled trials, n = 3; quasi-experimental, n = 5) enrolled 193 participants with Multiple Sclerosis. Studies were conducted in the USA (n = 3), Europe (n = 3), Iran, (n = 1), and India (n = 1). A total of 3 studies reported using the Yang style of Tai Chi (not specified, n = 5 studies). The Tai Chi intervention averaged 27 sessions over 11 weeks. Study quality scores for the randomized controlled trials had a mean score of 23 (range 19–26), while quality scores for quasi-experimental studies had a mean score of 20 (range 13–26). Overall, participants enrolled in Tai Chi had better balance, gait and flexibility, less fatigue and depression, and better quality of life after the intervention; though mixed results were reported.

 

Conclusion

The results indicate that Tai Chi is likely safe and may provide physical and psychosocial benefits in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. Further research is needed using more rigorous study designs to assess the benefits of Tai Chi for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.​

 

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, Tai Ji, Postural balance, Fatigue, Depression, Review

Abstract

Background:  Therapeutic exercise is a currently recommended nonpharmacological treatment for knee osteoarthritis (KOA). The optimal treatment dose (frequency or duration) has not been determined.

 

Objective:  To examine dose-response relationships, minimal effective dose, and baseline factors associated with the timing of response from 2 exercise interventions in KOA.

 

Design:  Secondary analysis of a single-blind, randomized trial comparing 12-week Tai Chi and physical therapy exercise programs (Trial Registry #NCT01258985).

 

Setting:  Urban tertiary care academic hospital

 

Participants:  A total of 182 participants with symptomatic KOA (mean age 61 years; BMI 32 kg/m2, 70% female; 55% white).

 

Methods:  We defined dose as cumulative attendance-weeks of intervention, and treatment response as ≥20% and ≥50% improvement in painand function. Using log-rank tests, we compared time-to-responsebetween interventions, and used Cox regression to examine baseline factors associated with timing of response, including physical and psychosocial health, physical performance, outcome expectationsself-efficacy, and biomechanical factors.

 

Main Outcome Measures:  Weekly Western Ontario and McMasters Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain (0-500) and function (0-1700) scores.

 

Results:  Both interventions had an approximately linear dose-response effect resulting in a 9- to 11-point reduction in WOMAC pain and a 32- to 41-point improvement in function per attendance-week. There was no significant difference in overall time-to-response for pain and function between treatment groups. Median time-to-response for ≥20% improvement in pain and function was 2 attendance-weeks and for ≥50% improvement was 4-5 attendance-weeks. On multivariable models, outcome expectations were independently associated with incident function response (hazard ratio = 1.47, 95% confidence interval 1.004-2.14).

 

Conclusions:  Both interventions have approximately linear dose-dependent effects on pain and function; their minimum effective doses range from 2-5 weeks; and patient perceived benefits of exercise influence the timing of response in KOA. These results may help clinicians to optimize patient-centered exercise treatments and better manage patient expectations.

 

Level of Evidence:  II

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of practicing Taichi on attenuating bone mineral density (BMD) loss. 

 

Methods: Both electronic and manual searches were performed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining Taichi for bone health. Two review authors independently performed study selection and data extraction according to inclusion criteria. A third party (Lin Luo) emerged to discuss with the two review authors and resolve a disagreement. 

 

Results: Twenty RCTs were found to meet the inclusion criteria and used for meta-analysis with a total effective sample of 1604. The aggregated results from this systematic review have shown significant benefits in favour of Taichi on BMD at lumbar spine (Standard Mean Difference, SMD) = 0.29; 95% CI 0.15 to 0.43; p < 0.0001), femur neck (SMD = 0.56; 95% CI 0.38 to 0.75; p < 0.00001), femur trochanter (SMD = 0.04; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.07; p = 0.007), total hip BMD (SMD = 0.46; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.76; p = 0.003). 

Conclusions: The aggregated results from this systematic review suggests that Taichi is effective on attenuating BMD loss at the regions of lumbar spine and proximal femur neck in special populations (e.g., older adults, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, people with osteoarthritis, and cancer survivors). Researchers should further examine the effect of Taichi on the proximal femur trochanter and total hip so that a more definitive claim can be made regarding the beneficial effects for attenuating BMD loss in these musculoskeletal regions.

 

Keywords: Taichi, Taijiquan, bone mineral density, meta-analysis

Purpose: To test the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a tai chi qigong program with the assistance of elderly neighborhood volunteers in strengthening social networks and enhancing the psychosocial well-being of hidden elderly.


Patients and methods: “Hidden elderly” is a term used to describe older adults who are socially isolated and refuse social participation. This pilot randomized controlled trial recruited 48 older adults aged 60 or above who did not engage in any social activity. They were randomized into tai chi qigong (n=24) and standard care control (n=24) groups. The former group underwent a three-month program of two 60-minute sessions each week, with the socially active volunteers paired up with them during practice. Standard care included regular home visits by social workers. Primary outcomes were assessed by means of the Lubben social network and De Jong Gieveld loneliness scales, and by a revised social support questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were covered by a mental health inventory and the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and quality of life by using the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey. Data was collected at baseline, and at three and six months thereafter.

 

Results: The generalized estimating equations model revealed general improvement in outcomes among participants on the tai chi qigong program. In particular, participants reported a significantly greater improvement on the loneliness scale (B=−1.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] −2.54 to −0.11, P=0.033) and the satisfaction component of the social support questionnaire (B=3.43, 95% CI 0.10–6.76, P=0.044) than the control group.

 

Conclusion: The pilot study confirmed that tai chi qigong with elderly neighborhood volunteers is a safe and feasible social intervention for hidden elderly. Its potential benefits in improving social and psychological health suggest the need for a full-scale randomized controlled trial to reveal its empirical effects.

 

Keywords: group-based activity, social isolation, social network, social support

Abstract:

Qigong is the meditative movement and therapeutic exercise of Eastern medicine. A growing body of evidence is validating its health benefits leading to mechanistic questions of how it works. The purpose of this article is to explore mechanisms of action related to Qigong, with the intent of unifying Eastern and Western exercise theory and to present a model for Qigong exercise analysis. Three exercises from a standardized Qigong form: ‘Plucking the Stars’, ‘Lotus Leaves Rustle in the Wind’, and ‘Pacing Forwards and Backwards’ were selected for meditative, energetic, and physical analyses. Meditative aspects include relaxation response, interoception and exteroception. Energetic aspects include stimulation of meridians through mental intent, acupressure, and self-massage. Physical aspects include flexibility, strength, articular stimulation, neuro-integration, respiratory effect, fascial stretch, visceral massage, balance challenge CranioSacral pump, lymphatic and venous return and glandular stimulation, and physiologic response to relaxation. Knowledge of mechanisms of action for specific Qigong exercises can guide operational definition of Qigong, selection of outcomes assessment in future research, inform prescriptive practice addressing clinical health issues, and advance adoption of Qigong practice within integrative health care. The model of analysis demonstrated in this discussion may assist in these endeavors. View Full-Text

 

Keywords: QigongTai ChiMeditative MovementTheoryMovement AnalysisExercise

Background-—More than 60% of patients decline participation in cardiac rehabilitation after a myocardial infarction. Options to improve physical activity (PA) and other risk factors in these high-risk individuals are limited. We conducted a phase 2 randomized controlled trial to determine feasibility, safety, acceptability, and estimates of effect of tai chi on PA, fitness, weight, and quality of life. Methods and Results-—Patients with coronary heart disease declining cardiac rehabilitation enrollment were randomized to a “LITE” (2 sessions/week for 12 weeks) or to a “PLUS” (3 sessions/week for 12 weeks, then maintenance classes for 12 additional weeks) condition. PA (accelerometry), weight, and quality of life (Health Survey Short Form) were measured at baseline and 3, 6, and 9 months after baseline; aerobic fitness (stress test) was measured at 3 months. Twenty-nine participants (13 PLUS and 16 LITE) were enrolled. Retention at 9 months was 90% (LITE) and 88% (PLUS). No serious tai chi–related adverse events occurred. Significant mean between group differences in favor of the PLUS group were observed at 3 and 6 months for moderate-to-vigorous PA (100.33 min/week [95% confidence interval, 15.70–184.95 min/week] and 111.62 min/week; [95% confidence interval, 26.17–197.07 min/week], respectively, with a trend toward significance at 9 months), percentage change in weight, and quality of life. No changes in aerobic fitness were observed within and between groups.

 

Conclusions:  In this community sample of patients with coronary heart disease declining enrollment in cardiac rehabilitation, a 6- month tai chi program was safe and improved PA, weight, and quality of life compared with a 3-month intervention. Tai chi could be an effective option to improve PA in this high-risk population.

 

Key Words: cardiac rehabilitation • coronary heart disease • physical exercise • risk factor • secondary prevention

A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

Objective: Research examining psychological and physiological benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi is growing rapidly. The many practices described as Qigong or Tai Chi have similar theoretical roots, proposed mechanisms of action, and expected benefits. Research trials and reviews, however, treat them as separate targets of examination. This review examines the evidence for achieving outcomes from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of both.

 

Data Sources: The key words Tai Chi, Taiji, Tai Chi Chuan, and Qigong were entered into electronic search engines for the Cumulative Index for Allied Health and Nursing (CINAHL), psychological literature (PsycINFO), PubMed, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar.

 

Study Inclusion Criteria: RCTs reporting on the results of Qigong or Tai Chi interventions and published in peer-reviewed journals from 1993 to 2007.

 

Data Extraction: Country, type and duration of activity, number/type of subjects, control conditions, and reported outcomes were recorded for each study.

 

Synthesis: Outcomes related to Qigong and Tai Chi practice were identified and evaluated.

 

Results: Seventy-seven articles met the inclusion criteria. The nine outcome category groupings that emerged were bone density (n 5 4), cardiopulmonary effects (n 5 19), physical function (n 5 16), falls and related risk factors (n 5 23), quality of life (n 5 17), self-efficacy (n 5 8), patient-reported outcomes (n 5 13), psychological symptoms (n 5 27), and immune function (n 5 6)

 

Conclusions: Research has demonstrated consistent, significant results for a number of health benefits in RCTs, evidencing progress toward recognizing the similarity and equivalence of Qigong and Tai Chi. (Am J Health Promot 2010;24[6]:e1–e25.)

 

Key Words: Tai Chi, Taiji, Meditation, Qigong, Mind-Body Practice, Mindfulness, Meditative Movement, Moderate Exercise, Breathing, Prevention Research. Manuscript format: literature review; Research purpose: Setting: health care, community; Health Focus: fitness/physical activity, psychosocial/spiritual health, stress management; Strategy: education, skill building; Target population: all adults, seniors; Target population circumstances: all SES, international, race/ethnicity

 

Download the article here: link.

Abstract:
The abdomen-rubbing qigong exercise was first developed by Fang Kai, a Xin’an medical practitioner. It’s an essential part of Xin’an health preservation works. This health preservation method integrates massage with Daoyin and integrates meridian theory with Zangxiang theory. It’s safe, simple and has no side effects. Practice of this qigong exercise can protect the spleen and stomach, tonify qi and essence, harmonize Ying-Nutrients and Wei-Defense, unblock meridians and circulate qi. This paper aims to summarize and promote this exercise.

 

Keywords: Qigong; Qigong Massage; Physical and Breathing Exercises; Health Promotion 

Abstract
Objective: To observe the effect of breathing and Daoyin exercises on the quality of life in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to deficiency of the lung and kidney (grade II-III).

 

Methods: A total of 60 eligible cases were randomly allocated into a treatment group (n=30) and a control group (n=30) by random number table. Cases in the control group received routine Western medical treatment, whereas cases in the treatment group conducted breathing and Daoyin exercises in addition to routine Western medical treatment. Patients in both groups were treated for a total of 3 months. Then the observation was made on changes in pulmonary ventilation function, major clinical symptoms, modified Medical Research Council scale (mMRC), distance in 6-minute walk test (6-MWT), COPD assessment test (CAT) and efficacy satisfaction questionnaire for COPD (ESQ-COPD) before and after treatment.


Results: After treatment, the total effective rate was 80.0% in the treatment group, versus 66.7% in the control group, showing a statistical difference (P<0.05). Patients in the treatment group obtained more significant improvement in coughing, sputum production, dyspnea and shortness of breath than those in the control group (P<0.05). Patients in the treatment group obtained more significant elevation in the forced expiratory volume in 1 second percentage of predicted value (FEV1%) and peak expiratory flow rate (PEF%) than those in the control group (P<0.05). Patients in the treatment group obtained lower mMRC score than those in the control group (P<0.05). Patients in the treatment group obtained longer 6-MWT distance than those in the control group (P<0.05). Patients in the treatment group obtained lower CAT score (P<0.01) and higher ESQ-COPD score (P<0.05) than those in the control group.


Conclusion: Breathing and Daoyin exercises combined with routine Western medical treatment are effective for stable COPD (grade II-III) due to deficiency of the lung and kidney and can improve the patients’ quality of life.

 

Keywords: Physical and Breathing Exercises; Research on Qigong; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive; Respiratory Function Tests; Peak Expiratory Flow Rate

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Probiotics, Herbal Medicine, and Dietary Research
 

Abstract

Hepatoprotective and curative activities of aqueous extract of decoction containing 10 Chinese medicinal herbs (HPE-XA-08) were evaluated in Sprague–Dawley albino rats with liver damage induced by thioacetamide (TAA).These activities were assessed by investigating the liver enzymes level and also histopathology investigation. Increases in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gammaglutamyl transferase (GGT) levels were observed in rats with cirrhotic liver. No significant alterations of the liver enzymes were observed following treatment with HPE-XA-08. Histopathology examination of rats treated with HPE-XA-08 at 250mg/kg body weight, however, exhibited moderate liver protective effects. Reduced extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins within the hepatocytes were noted in comparison to the cirrhotic liver. The curative effects of HPE-XA-08 were observed with marked decrease in the level of ALP (more than 3x) and level of GGT (more than 2x) in cirrhotic rat treated with 600mg/kg body weight HPE-XA-08 in comparison to cirrhotic rat treated with just water diluent. Reversion of cirrhotic liver to normal liver condition in rats treated with HPE-XA-08 was observed. Results from the present study suggest that HPE-XA-08 treatment assisted in the protection from liver cirrhosis and improved the recovery of cirrhotic liver.

Details on the herbs used in the study: Aqueous extract of HPE-XA-08 containing mixture of 10 Chinese medicinal herbs, comprising fructus Gardenia jasminoides Ellis, Var. radicans (Thunb.) Makino, Artemisia scoparia Waldst. Et Kit, radix Rheum tanguticum Maxim. Ex Balf, radix Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, fructus Ligustrum lucidum Ait, cortex Phellodendron amurense  Rupr., Poria cocoa (Schw.) Wolf, radix Bupleurum B. scorzoneraefolium Willd, and flos Chrysanthemum mori- folium Ramat and herbs Tarxacum mongolicum Hand, Mazz

Chinese Pinyin: Zhi Zi, Yin Chen Hao, Da Huang, Huang Qin, Nu Zhen Zi, Fu Ling, Chai Hu, Gou Qi Zi, Ju Hua, Pu Gong Ying

Abstract


Statins are the most widely prescribed, cholesterol lowering drugs in the world. Despite the expiration of their patents, revenue for statins is expected to rise, with total sales on track to reach an estimated US$1 trillion by 2020. A bitter dispute has erupted among doctors over suggestions that statins should be prescribed to millions of healthy people at low risk of heart disease. There are concerns that the benefits have been exaggerated and the risks have been underplayed. Also, the raw data on the efficacy and safety of statins are being kept secret and have not been subjected to scrutiny by other scientists. This lack of transparency has led to an erosion of public confidence. Doctors and patients are being misled about the true benefits and harms of statins, and it is now a matter of urgency that the raw data from the clinical trials are released.

Abstract

Danshen was able to reduce the risk of the patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), but the mechanism is still widely unknown.  Biochemical indices (lipid profile, markers of renal and liver function, and homocysteine (Hcy)) are closely associated with CHD risk.  We aimed to investigate whether the medicine reduces CHD risk by improving these biochemical indices.  The patients received 10 Danshen pills (27mg/pill) in Dashen group, while the control patients received placebo pills, three times daily.The duration of follow-up was three months.  The serum biochemical indices were measured, including lipid profiles (LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-C, total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), apolipoprotein (Apo) A, ApoB, ApoE, and lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a))); markers of liver function (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), total bilirubin (TBil), indirect bilirubin (IBil), and direct bilirubin (DBil)); marker of renal function (uric acid (UA)) and Hcy.  After three-month follow-up, Danshen treatment reduced the levels of TG, TC, LDL-C, Lp(a), GGT, DBil, UA, and Hcy (𝑃 < 0.05). In contrast, the treatment increased the levels of HDL-C, ApoA, ApoB, ApoE, TBil, and IBil (𝑃 < 0.05). Conclusion. Danshen can reduce the CHD risk by improving the biochemical indices of CHD patients.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is reaching epidemic proportions yet treatment strategies are limited and are restricted to providing symptomatic relief for the cognitive and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been a valuable source of medicines for centuries and research has burgeoned in recent years to understand the scientific basis for their use. Some plants have been used in CHM for AD symptoms (e.g., Polygala tenuifolia), while others are CHMs for different conditions, but they show mechanistic effects relevant to AD (e.g., Salvia miltiorrhiza). Some CHMs (e.g., Ginkgo biloba extract, and huperzine A from Huperziaserrata) show pharmacological activities relevant to AD, and promising effects on cognitive functions in clinical trials. Other CHMs show effects relevant to BPSD (e.g., Crocus sativus). This chapter discusses available scientific evidence for CHM plants and formulae that have been used both traditionally for AD, and those that have been used traditionally but not specifically for AD symptoms, and encompasses chemical, pharmacological and clinical studies. The ethnopharmacological approach to understanding the use of CHMs for AD is also discussed.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Memory, Traditional Chinese medicine

Abstract

Objective

We are aware of no study examining the effects of probioticsupplementation on symptoms of depression, metabolic profiles, serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The present study was designed to determine the effects of probiotic intake on symptoms of depression and metabolic status in patients with MDD.
 

Methods

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial included 40 patients with a diagnosis of MDD based on DSM-IVcriteria whose age ranged between 20 and 55 y. Patients were randomly allocated into two groups to receive either probiotic supplements (n = 20) or placebo (n = 20) for 8 wk. Probiotic capsule consisted of three viable and freeze-dried strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 × 109 CFU/g), Lactobacillus casei(2 × 109 CFU/g), and Bifidobacterium bifidum (2 × 109 CFU/g). Fasting blood samples were taken at the beginning and end of the trial to quantify the relevant variables. All participants provided three dietary records (two weekdays and one weekend) and three physical activity records during the intervention.


Results

Dietary intake of study participants was not significantly different between the two groups. After 8 wk of intervention, patients who received probiotic supplements had significantly decreased Beck Depression Inventory total scores (−5.7 ± 6.4 vs. −1.5 ± 4.8, P = 0.001) compared with the placebo. In addition, significant decreases in serum insulin levels (−2.3 ± 4.1 vs. 2.6 ± 9.3 μIU/mL, P = 0.03), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance(−0.6 ± 1.2 vs. 0.6 ± 2.1, P = 0.03), and serum hs-CRP concentrations (−1138.7 ± 2274.9 vs. 188.4 ± 1455.5 ng/mL, P = 0.03) were observed after the probiotic supplementation compared with the placebo. Additionally, taking probiotics resulted in a significant rise in plasma total glutathione levels (1.8 ± 83.1 vs. −106.8 ± 190.7 μmol/L, P = 0.02) compared with the placebo. We did not find any significant change in fasting plasma glucosehomeostatic model assessment of beta cell function, quantitative insulin sensitivity check index, lipid profiles, and total antioxidant capacity levels.


Conclusions

Probiotic administration in patients with MDD for 8 wk had beneficial effects on Beck Depression Inventory, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, hs-CRP concentrations, and glutathione concentrations, but did not influence fasting plasma glucose, homeostatic model assessment of beta cell function, quantitative insulin sensitivity check index, lipid profiles, and total antioxidant capacity levels.​

Keywords: Probiotics, Glucose metabolism, Lipid profiles, Oxidative stress, Depression

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