Acupuncture treatment in gastrointestinal disease: A systematic review

Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Medical Hospital Heidelberg, Vossstrasse 2, Heidelberg 69120, Germany.
World Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 2.37). 08/2007; 13(25):3417-24.
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this work was to assess the evidence for effectiveness of acupuncture (AC) treatment in gastrointestinal diseases. A systematic review of the Medline-cited literature for clinical trials was performed up to May 2006. Controlled trials assessing acupuncture point stimulation for patients with gastrointestinal diseases were considered for inclusion. The search identified 18 relevant trials meeting the inclusion criteria. Two irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) trials, 1 Crohn's disease and 1 colitis ulcerosa trial had a robust random controlled trial (RCT) design. In regard to other gastrointestinal disorders, study quality was poor. In all trials, quality of life (QoL) improved significantly independently from the kind of acupuncture, real or sham. Real AC was significantly superior to sham acupuncture with regard to disease activity scores in the Crohn and Colitis trials. Efficacy of acupuncture related to QoL in IBS may be explained by unspecific effects. This is the same for QoL in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), whereas specific acupuncture effects may be found in clinical scores. Further trials for IBDs and in particular for all other gastrointestinal disorders would be necessary to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatment. However, it must be discussed on what terms patients benefit when this harmless and obviously powerful therapy with regard to QoL is demystified by further placebo controlled trials.

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    • "Acupuncture, an important traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapy, has been used to treat gastrointestinal symptoms for centuries in China. Now it has been increasingly accepted as a complementary and alternative treatment for functional gastrointestinal disorders in western countries [7] [8]. ST25 (Tianshu), an important acupoint in the stomach meridian of the Foot Yangming, is commonly used to treat intestinal illnesses, such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Acupuncture is a commonly used therapy for treating functional diarrhea (FD), although there is limited knowledge on the mechanism. The objectives of this study were to investigate the differences in brain activities elicited by acupuncture between FD patients and healthy controls (HC) so as to explore the possible mechanism. Eighteen FD patients and eighteen HC received 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment at ST25 acupoints. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were, respectively, performed before and after acupuncture. The defecation frequency, Bristol stool form scale (SBFS), and MOS 36-item Short Healthy Survey (SF-36) were employed to evaluate the clinical efficacy. After acupuncture, the FD patients showed a significant decrease in defecation frequency and BSFS score. The regional homogeneity (ReHo) map showed a decrease in the paracentral lobule and postcentral gyrus, and an increase in the angular gyrus, insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and precuneus in the FD group. Moreover, the changes in ReHo values in the ACC were correlated with the reduction in defecation frequency. Decreasing functional connectivity among the ACC, insula, thalamus, and orbital frontal cortex only existed in the FD group. Conclusively, acupuncture alleviated defecation frequency and improved stool formation in FD patients. The efficacy might result from the regulation of the homeostasis afferent processing network.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "This may have impact on future concepts of pain management after median sternotomy in heart surgery. The fact that the acupuncture treatment of Groups 1 and 2 differ in their analgesic effects in the present study indicates that it considerably matters which acupoints are used and contradicts the view that acupuncture might only mediate nonspecific skin stimulation, which may or may not exceed placebo effects [16]. As imaging studies have delivered evidence of acupoint-specific functional magnetic resonance imaging patterns [17, 18] and the selection of acupoints presented the only systematic difference between acupuncture treatment in Groups 1 and 2, the observable difference in analgesic effects can be attributed to the summation effect of all twelve individual acupoint-specific reactions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Rationale. Poststernotomy pain and impaired breathing are common clinical problems in early postoperative care following heart surgery. Insufficiently treated pain increases the risk of pulmonary complications. High-dose opioids are used for pain management, but they may cause side effects such as respiratory depression. Study Design. We performed a prospective, randomized, controlled, observer-blinded, three-armed clinical trial with 100 patients. Group 1 (n = 33) and Group 2 (n = 34) received one 20 min session of standardized acupuncture treatment with two different sets of acupoints. Group 3 (n = 33) served as standard analgesia control without additional intervention. Results. Primary endpoint analysis revealed a statistically significant analgesic effect for both acupuncture treatments. Group 1 showed a mean percentile pain reduction (PPR) of 18% (SD 19, P < 0.001). Group 2 yielded a mean PPR of 71% (SD 13, P < 0.001). In Group 1, acupuncture resulted in a mean forced vital capacity (FVC) increase of 30 cm(3) (SD 73) without statistical significance (P = 0.303). In Group 2, posttreatment FVC showed a significant increase of 306 cm(3) (SD 215, P < 0.001). Conclusion. Acupuncture revealed specific analgesic effects after sternotomy. Objective measurement of poststernotomy pain via lung function test was possible.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "The evidence for any benefit from acupuncture in the treatment of IBD is equivocal. In a systematic review, Schneider et al. [29] concluded that, overall, the studies that were evaluated suggested a positive effect of acupuncture on both quality of life and clinical symptoms , but that these studies were hampered by methodological deficits. There is an ongoing debate as to whether a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial is appropriate for and capable of capturing and evaluating whole systems of traditional health care practice, such as traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, as these systems encompass a complexity of components that each may exert any number of influences on the outcome of interest [30]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been increasing in recent decades. Our aim was to determine the proportion of CAM use among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in a longitudinal, population-based cohort and to identify predictive factors for CAM use. The Inflammatory Bowel South-Eastern Norway (IBSEN) study is a population-based IBD cohort that has been followed prospectively for 10 years. The ten-year follow-up was conducted from 2000 to 2004 and included a questionnaire regarding CAM, a structured interview, a review of hospital records, a clinical examination, laboratory tests, and an ileocolonoscopy. Of the 620 patients evaluated at the ten-year follow-up, 517 (84%) completed the CAM questionnaire, 353 had ulcerative colitis (UC), 164 had Crohn's disease (CD), and 50% were male. Thirty percent reported the use of CAM at some point since their IBD diagnosis, and 7.5% reported current CAM use. More CD patients than UC patients reported CAM use (38% vs. 27%, respectively; p=0.01). Younger age, female gender, and higher education level predicted CAM use in UC, whereas younger age was the only predictor of CAM use in CD. Thirty-six percent of the CAM users were mostly satisfied or very satisfied with the treatment. One third of the patients in this population-based cohort had used CAM at some point during a ten-year disease course, but only 7.5% reported current CAM use. CAM use was more common in the CD than in the UC patients. Only socio-demographic factors, such as age, gender and education, predicted CAM use.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Crohn s and Colitis
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