Acupuncture Associates

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June 2010

In Tibetan Medicine, pulse diagnosis is an important examination


In postmenopausal women, a low-fat diet has little effect on cardiovascular risk factors and no overall effect on vascular disease incidence, according to researchers at MedStar Research Institute in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Women were randomly assigned to either a diet lower in fat and higher in vegetables, fruit and grains; or their usual diet, for a mean of 8.1 years. After six years, they found that which diet the women were on had no overall effect on coronary heart disease or stroke. (Am. J. Clin.Nutr. 2010;4:860-74 April 2010).


Family and general internal medicine doctors each generate more than 1.6 million in net revenue on behalf of their affiliated hospitals, based on a survey of 114 hospital chief financial officers nationwide. (Medical Economics Apr. 23, 2010, p 12).


The study of a form of resveratrol in patients with multiple myeloma has been stopped after 20% developed signs of kidney damage. As this type of damage can also be seen in multiple myeloma, it is unclear if the drug is responsible for the toxic effect.

Resveratrol itself is less toxic, but cannot be patented, so a modified form of the substance was used. GlaxoSmithKlein acquired the company that developed the drug in 2008. (Myeloma Beacon)


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported that stocks of Merck’s Rotateq vaccine against rotavirus are contaminated with the pig viruses PCV1 and PCV2.

In March of this year, PCV1 was found in another rotavirus vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline, Rotarix. The Agency has not advised doctors to stop using these as the pig viruses aren’t known to cause disease in humans, and rotavirus kills half a million infants worldwide each year. The FDA says it will issue new recommendations on both affected vaccines soon. (New Scientist May 15 2010 p 5).


Better seen as a permanent entitlement program for fat cats, “health reform” contains no restriction on how much you can be charged while simultaneously requiring mandatory participation (unless of course you have been exempted by Congress).


Covering pre existing conditions is a false benefit when the cost of this coverage can be increased to any level that ensures massive profits.

A Health and Human Services report released in February detailed some of these proposed rate increases: Anthem Blue Cross of California plans a 29% increase in premiums, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan requests increases of 56%, and Washington State plans have requested a 40% fee. (Family Practice News March 1, 2010 p 61)

Presently, having insurance has no relationship with actually being able to find a doctor and obtaining adequate treatment. This will remain true in the future, though the expense and bureaucracy created by the latest governmental monstrosity will vastly increase costs, while simultaneously restricting choices and treatment options for patients.


Provinces in Canada are investigating fee for service options in their health care system as expenses outpace resources for their model of universal single payer coverage. Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all "medically necessary" hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.

Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years. Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked.

Ironically, as the United States moves to a socialized system, countries such as Canada and Greece demonstrate the unsustainability of these programs. (Reuters) .


Chinese investigators have shown that five days of meditation training improves attentional focus and self-regulation more and is more effective at regulating the autonomic nervous system (ANS) than the same amount of relaxation training.

They measured physiological and brain changes at rest before, during and after five days of training in integrative body-mind training (IBMT – a form of meditation, based on Daoist techniques, designed to cultivate a state of restful alertness from a high level of body awareness, augmented by the breath, guided imagery and music) and relaxation training.

During and after training the IBMT group showed significantly better physiological reactions in heart rate, respiratory amplitude and rate, and skin conductance response than the relaxation control. Differences in heart rate variability (HRV) and EEG power suggested greater involvement of the ANS in the IBMT group during and after training.

Imaging data demonstrated stronger activity in brain areas associated with control of parasympathetic activity in the IBMT group. The authors suggest that the differences are due to the fact that IBMT trains coordination of body and mind but relaxation practice does not. (Central and autonomic nervous system interaction is altered by short-term meditation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 2;106(22):8865-70).



The risk adjusted rate of serious complications associated with bariatric surgery was higher (4.0%) at hospitals designated as a “Center of Excellence” than at other hospitals (2.7%) in Michigan. There were also no differences in weight loss after one year or in the “Bariatric Quality of Life Index”. (Family Practice News March 1, 2010 p 49).


Extracts of the root of Astragalus membranaceus (Huang Qi) have been observed to significantly accelerate cutaneous wound healing. According to a Korean team who observed the process of wound healing at a microscopic level, topically applied Astragalus extract achieves this by suppressing inflammation and stimulating cell growth and angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels) in the wound area.

Use of Astragalus extracts resulted in a significant reduction in the duration of the wound-healing process. (Wound-healing activity of Astragali Radix in rats. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Mar;31(2):95-100).


The addition of flaxseed oil to the diet could reduce the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal and diabetic women.

Egyptian researchers looking at mouse models of the two conditions found that the presence of flaxseed oil in feed over a two month period improved serum levels of biomarkers associated with bone health and had a beneficial effect on bone mineral density.

The study authors believe that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, present in flaxseed oil in high concentrations, may play a role in protecting the processes of bone matrix formation and mineralization that are compromised by diabetes and the menopause.

Supplementing the diet with this healthy oil may therefore be beneficial to women who are at risk of these conditions because of their age and/or family history. (Impact of feeding flaxseed oil on delaying the development of osteoporosis in ovariectomized diabetic rats. Int J Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health. 2009: 2: 189-201).


A systematic review has assessed the evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in gastrointestinal diseases. German authors searched Medline-cited literature for controlled clinical trials performed before May 2006, identifying 18 relevant trials that met their inclusion criteria.

Of these, only four were robustly designed random controlled trials (RCTs) - two irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) trials and two inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) trials (one for Crohn's disease and one for ulcerative colitis).

In all four trials, quality of life (QoL) was found to improve significantly, independently of whether the acupuncture was real or sham. Real acupuncture was significantly superior to sham acupuncture with regard to disease activity scores in the IBD trials.

The authors postulate that psychoneuroimmunologic mechanisms may explain the acupuncture-specific effects leading to clinically relevant improvement of disease activity in Crohn’s and Colitis patients. They also suggest that the efficacy of acupuncture in respect of QoL may be explained by nonspecific treatment effects operating on a psychological and/or physiological level.

While recommending further trials, they point out that demystification of the mechanism of acupuncture could be detrimental to its placebo-mediated effects, potentially destroying some of its healing capacity. (Acupuncture treatment in gastrointestinal diseases: a systematic review. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul 7;13(25):3417-24).


A small amount of dark chocolate (as close to pure cocoa as possible) appears to have the same benefit as aspirin in reducing blood clotting and preventing heart attacks.

It has been known for some time that the flavonoids in chocolate can benefit blood flow but it had been thought that very high quantities of chocolate were required to gain benefit. The observations in the present study came after it was discovered that 139 subjects enrolled in an aspirin study had been unable to control their craving for chocolate and therefore had to be disqualified from the study. (2006 Annual Conference of the American Heart Association, Chicago).


Acute anger can precipitate potentially fatal disturbances of heart rhythm according to a study of over eleven hundred patients who wore implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

They were asked to record their emotional state before any occasion when the ICD delivered a shock in response to ventricular fibrillation (VF) or tachycardia (VT). Moderate anger was 3.2 times more likely to cause VF or VT compared to periods of no anger, while extreme anger/fury increased the likelihood to 16.7 times. (American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2006).


"Is Anyone Thinking?" Department


Ill-considered efforts to 'change the world' might benefit from more careful consideration of developing wisdom and humility, instead.

The magazine above crossed my desk, and, though I never opened it, I was struck by the subtitle on the cover; "two ways of changing the world."

There is an elitist, smug, and arrogant tone apparent whenever some bureaucrat, government agency, professor, or rich person decides it is their self-appointed prerogative to "change the world". There is little consideration for those others who might not be ready or interested to adapt to the "change" so ordered by such self-aggrandized pooh-bahs.

The evidence suggests that unforeseen consequences and ramifications are often the result of such ego driven and ill-considered actions.

I am not proposing any judgment of the gentlemen who are featured in this article, but I find this sort of attitude frequently among those who have benefited the most from our extensive university systems. Articles such as these reflect the commonly found assumption in Western society that "changing the world" is an appropriate undertaking of those who aspire to, or have achieved, power, success, and status.

Perhaps so.

But in contrast, the African tradition of Ifa emphasizes the responsibility for those of good character to live in such a way that they are in concordance with, and sensitive to, the needs of the other inhabitants of our world. Further, there is the goal to learn how to align onself with, and live in harmony with, natural forces such as the forests, the oceans, and the rivers.

Practitioners are charged with the responsibility to work to understand how human beings fit into the world, and how to regain balance when we are out of alignment with the natural world around us. Learning and paying attention to the complex interplay within these fantastically diverse and subtle realms is the path to spiritual progress, health and happiness. Egotistically transforming the world according to human whims and uninformed desire is the path to disaster.

Human beings and our desires, hatreds, and ignorance are not the only purpose for the Creation, nor is it evident that our continued existence is necessary for the continuation of the rest of the Universe.

One can find the same appreciation for the value of humility in the teachings of the Tibetan spiritual tradition. Here also, the error of satisfying the ego's demand to dominate, destroy, and interfere is demonstrated to lead to suffering and loss. Ego based perspectives are seen to be an obstruction to spiritual practice.

In view of oft-repeated decisions to cavalierly manipulate the world in any way we choose to imagine, affecting systems of which we know very little, involving forces that truly have the potential to effect long lasting destruction on a global scale, perhaps it is time to consider another way.

Perhaps it is time to follow the African tradition and listen to the World. Then, to let the World change us.


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