Traditional Chinese Medicine Makes Fertility Treatments Far More Effective, TAU Researchers Discover
Traditional Chinese medicine has long been used to ease pain, treat disease, boost fertility, and prevent miscarriage. Known in the Western medical community by its acronym TCM, these traditional remedies include herbal preparations and acupuncture. Now Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that a combination of TCM therapy and intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a winning solution for hopeful mommies who are having trouble conceiving. In the first study that measures the effectiveness of both herbs and acupuncture in combination with IUI infertility treatment, Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari and Keren Sela of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Medical Center say that the results, which have been published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, show a significant increase in fertility when the therapies are administered side-by-side.
Women who took pomegranate seed oil pills to relieve symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flashes, were found to receive no significantly better benefits than those who were given a placebo pill which contained sunflower oil, researchers from the Medical University of Vienna wrote in the journal Menopause. The authors added that theirs is the first (albeit small) proper clinical trial to test pomegranate seed oil for the symptoms of menopause. The researchers explained that more than four in every five females experience hot flashes during the menopause. Hot flashes refers to a sudden wave of body heat rushes of hormonal changes that occur in a woman - her levels of various hormones, particularly estrogen, decrease. These flashes can occur at any time of day, and can go on from just a few seconds to about thirty minutes.
In order to find out the effect of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in treating migraines, a team of investigators carried out a randomized controlled human trial. 480 individuals at 9 hospitals in China who experienced migraines for over one year, with two or three migraines in the 3 months prior to the investigation, were enrolled to participate in the study. The researchers randomly assigned the volunteers to four groups. Those in one group received sham acupuncture, while participants in the other three groups received different types of acupuncture. Their ages ranged from 18 to 65 years. In the United States and England, migraines affect approximately 16% to 18% of women and 6% to 8% of men. Evidence on how effective acupuncture is at treating migraines is mixed, as some studies suggest it is the placebo effect, instead of a therapeutic effect that relieves symptoms.
Acupuncture and sham acupuncture appear equally effective in treating migraines, according to a clinical trial published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). An international team of researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in treating migraines in 480 patients at nine hospitals in China. The patients were randomly assigned to four groups, including one sham acupuncture group and three groups receiving different types of acupuncture. Patients were aged 18 to 65 years and were eligible if they had experienced migraines for more than one year, with two to three attacks in the three months preceding the study period. Migraines affect about 6%-8% of men and 16%-18% of women in the US and England. Acupuncture is used to treat migraines, but evidence is mixed on its effectiveness in treating the condition and whether it is the placebo effect rather than a therapeutic effect that alleviates symptoms.
UCLA researchers have identified how a component of an ancient Chinese herbal anti-hangover medicine called dihydromyricetin, isolated from the plant Hovenia, counteracts acute alcohol intoxication and withdrawal symptoms. The research team found that dihydromyricetin blocks the action of alcohol on the brain and neurons and also reduces voluntary alcohol consumption, with no major side effects, in an early study with rats. Specifically, dihydromyricetin inhibited alcohol's effect on the brain's GABAA receptors, specific sites targeted by chemicals from brain cells. Alcohol normally enhances the GABAA receptors' influence in slowing brain cell activity, reducing the ability to communicate and increasing sleepiness - common symptoms of drunkenness. The next stage of the research will involve human clinical trials, the researchers said.