Acupuncture, Real Or Fake, May Help Migraines
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ACUPUNCTURE, REAL OR FAKE, MAY HELP MIGRAINES
PATIENTS RECEIVING EVEN SHAM TREATMENT REPORTED BENEFITS
May 3, 2005
CHICAGO - A study found that acupuncture and a sham version of the same
thing both helped reduce the frequency of migraine headaches, for reasons
that are not clear, researchers said Tuesday.
The findings from Technische Universitaet in Munich, Germany, seem to
confirm other studies that acupuncture is a beneficial migraine treatment,
but do not shed light on exactly why, the authors said.
³Conclusions must be careful, but in the end patients at least those in
the study seem to benefit in a clinically relevant manner from repetitive
needling considered by them as acupuncture,² said Klaus Linde, a physician
who was the study¹s chief author.
It¹s that time of the month for a migraine
His study, published in this week¹s Journal of the American Medical
Association, involved 302 migraine patients tested in 2002 and 2003. Some
were given standard acupuncture treatments, while others were administered
something that resembled acupuncture but was not: The needles were inserted
not as deeply and not at regular acupuncture points on the body.
A third group in the study got no treatment at all but were told they were
on a waiting list for the research.
The proportion of those who said their headaches were reduced by at least
half was 51 percent in the acupuncture group, 53 percent in the sham
treatment group and 15 percent among those waiting for treatment.
³We cannot be certain that the effects are only or mainly psychological
although this might be an explanation,² Linde told Reuters in response to an
³There is, for example, evidence that expectancy modulates pain perception
(not only reporting but true perception) and many patients in Germany have a
very positive attitude toward acupuncture (and our study patients clearly
had),² he added.
But repeatedly sticking needles into the skin can possibly affect ³pain
memory,² he said, so it could be a mixture of psychological and physical
Studies indicate that about 7 percent of men and up to 18 percent of women
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