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Top 5 Articles About Health in 2015

health in 2015 review Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture Vancouver bc

Health in 2015 Review

I like to look back to review the most stand-out news in health in 2015. Of course, for me, a lot of my remembrance about health news is particular to either Traditional Chinese Medicine or nutrition.

  1. Remember the day that you were told bacon and sausages are in the same category for cancer-causing as smoking and asbestos? If you missed my article reviewing the WHO’s report, here it is: WHO declares processed meat cancer risk.
  2. The Vancouver Sun wrote an article titled “Chinese herbs mixed with medications can be hazardous.” I wrote an article titled: The media loves to write about “dangerous Chinese herbs”
  3. Remember that yellow skied morning last summer? It looked cool, but its cause was not! Even though those fires are not affecting our air today, the tips for lung health are always good to heed: BC wildfires and your lung health
  4. Finding higher levels of toxins in the blood and urine samples of women from South and East Asia, researchers questioned the source, including Chinese and Aryuvedic herbs. It’s so important to know the source of the things you are taking. Are your foods, herbs, makeup, and more full of toxins
  5. No duh. Researchers found that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments that were customized to individuals were more effective than “cookbook-style” one-treatment-fits-all acupuncture treatments to boost fertility. Boosting fertility with “whole systems” TCM

This isn’t exactly news about health in 2015, but my favourite article of the year was in the Journal of Chinese Medicine–a funny bit reviewing a negative opinion piece published about acupuncture research in Headache journal: Getting High on Acupuncture Research 
If you only read one link, read that one. Sad that the original article maligning acupuncture as an effective therapy for migraines was so misinformed, poorly researched, and published in a supposedly respected “scientific” journal.

Looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring in the news on health. 

What are the health and wellness things you remember most for 2015, either in the media or in your personal life?



Getting High on Acupuncture Research

acupuncture research

Acupuncture research humour

I read this article and have decided that I need to meet the woman who wrote this. Brilliant! Funny! Poignant! 

Science should be unbiased. But unfortunately, people certainly can be. And people sometimes present their version of science, which is not science. That’s not funny. But this article is. Writer, Mel Hopper Koppelman, says it all so much better than I do, so please read this. And see if you don’t get a kick out of what she has to say.

Getting High on Acupuncture Research


Need Evidence? More Research about TCM

I’ll be honest, I’m not terribly impressed by research in general. I’ve worked as a research assistant. I saw that human need, greed, error, and intention can all sway results and what is published (and how it’s published). However, as someone with a science background and two parents in the field of science (Dad: PhD chemistry; Mom: Nurse), I can’t ignore research. So, here are some links to online publications about my fave topic, TCM:

How does acupuncture work? 

1. Changes in blood flow

2. Changes in the brain

What can it treat?

1. Digestion issues

2. Pain



3. Cardiovascular disease


SAD and SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder & Standard American Diet

This is the time of year that you may hear a lot about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that most commonly occurs during the winter, particularly in areas where the days become darker for longer, so it is also known as the winter blues. It can, however, also occur with other seasons. People with SAD usually sleep more, feel more tired, feel depressed, and may crave more sweets and carbohydrates. Symptoms resolve with a change of seasons.

The Standard American Diet fits its anacronym. If you eat a diet high in sugar, simple carbs, and saturated or hydrogenated fats, and low in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and good fats (mono or polyunsaturated fats), then you eat a SAD menu.

Instead of focusing on the negative as typical of our current world, let’s add our own new SAD words that are actually happy and/or healthy combos!

Here’s a few of mine, but I’m sure you can do better! What would you like SAD to be?

Simply Avoiding Donuts, Sharing All Desserts, Skilful Acupuncture De-stressing

If you want to read more about the relationship between the Seasonal Affective Disorder and the Standard American Diet, read my newsletter article here.


Acupuncture for Pain

Some of the tons of research and articles on acupuncture to treat pain:

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is “effective” at reducing knee osteoarthritis pain and improving function in people with knee osteoarthritis, say the researchers, who presented their findings in San Antonio at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting.

Arthritis Responds to Weather, Acupuncture United Press International – Oct. 19Washington Post – Oct. 19
Researchers told attendees at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting that they have compiled valid data indicating changes in temperature or atmospheric pressure can cause increases in joint pain. Marc Hochberg, MD, MPH, a professor in the School of Medicine, says the studies ” . . . allow us to conclude that traditional Chinese acupuncture is an effective intervention for the relief of pain and improvement of function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.”
Acupuncture can ease the discomfort while waiting for an operation and perhaps even serve as an alternative to surgery. Seven patients have responded so well that at present they do not want an operation. (USD 9000 saved per operation).
Acupuncture to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

ZHEREBKIN, Eastern Europe, conducted a randomised controlled clinical trial to study the efficacy of the multi-modality treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) involving acupuncture (A) treatment.Methods: Measures assessed included the number of the inflamed joints, the joint index, duration of morning rigidity and a visual scale of pain.Results: Combining treatment of RA with Acupuncture was found to more effectively lower the values for the joint index and the visual scale of pain.Conclusions: The results of this trial indicated that acupuncture may improve the results of drug treatment.Zherebkin VV.

The use of acupuncture reflexotherapy in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Lik Sprava 6: 175-7. Nov-Dec 1997. Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study With Long-Term Follow-Up. Articles Clinical Journal of Pain. 17(4):296-305, December 2001.Carlsson, Christer P. O. M.D., Ph.D.; Sjolund, Bengt H. M.D., Ph.D. Abstract: Objective: The authors sought to determine whether a series of needle acupuncture treatments produced long-term relief of chronic low back pain. Design: A blinded placebo-controlled study with an independent observer. The patients were randomized to receive manual acupuncture, electroacupuncture, or active placebo (mock transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). Subjects were examined and monitored by an investigator who was blinded to the treatment given. Setting: A tertiary-level pain clinic at a Swedish university hospital. Patients: Fifty consecutive patients (33 women, 17 men; mean age, 49.8 years) with chronic low back pain (mean pain duration, 9.5 years) and without rhizopathy or history of acupuncture treatment were included in the study. Interventions: Treatments were given once per week for 8 weeks. Two further treatments were given during the follow-up assessment period of 6 months or longer. Outcome Measures: The independent observer made a global assessment of the patients 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment. The patients kept pain diaries to score pain intensity twice daily, analgesic intake, and quality of sleep daily, and activity level weekly. Results: At the 1-month independent assessment, 16 of 34 patients in the acupuncture groups and 2 of 16 patients in the placebo group showed improvement (p <0.05).The authors found a long-term pain-relieving effect of needle acupuncture compared with true placebo in some patients with chronic nociceptive low back pain. (C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Back-pain acupuncture ‘effective’

Acupuncture proved an effective form of therapy for treatment of accident patients with whiplash injuries, representing a valuable supplement to the field of rehabilitation.
Both physiotherapy and acupuncture treatment groups improved in reduced pain, improved range of motion, and better overall health following treatment for chronic neck pain. Acupuncture was slightly more effective in patients who had higher baseline pain scores.
The high percentage of positive results in whiplash injury patients leads us to advocate acupuncture for balance disorders due to cervical pathology.

Acupuncture as Effective as Drug Therapy for Migraines & Headaches
Acupuncture Cuts Tension Headache Rates By Almost Half

ABUAISHA and colleagues, Department of Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, University of Manchester, UK studied the use of acupuncture to determine its efficacy for pain relief for peripheral diabetic neuropathy.Methods: 46 diabetic patients suffering chronic painful peripheral neuropathy participated in the study. 29 (63%) patients were already receiving standard medical treatment. Patients initially received up to 6 courses of classical acupuncture analgesia over a period of 10 weeks, using traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture points.Results: 46 patients completed the study. 34 (77%) showed significant improvement in primary and/or secondary symptoms (P <0.01). SOFT TISSUE INJURY
Acupuncture treatment on soft tissue disease based on TCM syndrome differentiation theory is thus shown to be effective.


Acupuncture Research

“So, does acupuncture actually work?”, they ask me. Even if they don’t ask, many people think it. Until you experience the benefits of acupuncture, it’s really a fair question to ask. After all, sticking hair-thin needles into various points on the body to heal it doesn’t fall within the contexts of our western minds. With that in mind, I thought I’d publish this blog to start adding research links and article links.;amp;amp;amp;fulltext=acupuncture&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT
Objective To evaluate the cost effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of persistent non-specific low back pain.
Acupuncture has a measurable, if mysterious, effect on the brain, UK scientists have found. The study adds to evidence that patients benefit from acupuncture not simply because of their expectations.
An overview on acupuncture
Acupuncture enhances generation of nitric oxide and increases local circulation. This may be a possible mechanism of action for how acupuncture treats pain. Another study here shows that acupuncture stimulates specific brain activity during treatment of chronic neuropathic pain. And the last study here shows that Chinese herbs can be used to reduce chemotherapy-induced toxicity.
Here’s a strange one!!! Acupuncture treats plants!

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