Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Do acupuncture points exist?

Department of Physics, Surface Physics Laboratory (State Key Laboratory), and Synchrotron Radiation Research Center of Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, People's Republic of China. Shanghai Research Center of Acupuncture and Meridian, Pudong, Shanghai 201203, People's Republic of China.

We used synchrotron x-ray fluorescence analysis to probe the distribution of four chemical elements in and around acupuncture points, two located in the forearm and two in the lower leg. Three of the four acupuncture points showed significantly elevated concentrations of elements Ca, Fe, Cu and Zn in relation to levels in the surrounding tissue, with similar elevation ratios for Cu and Fe. The mapped distribution of these elements implies that each acupuncture point seems to be elliptical with the long axis along the meridian.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Advances Elusive in the Drive to Cure Cancer

Alex Writes:  This NY Times article reviews the history of survival rates of various cancers in wonderful interactive graphs and more... The best part are the letters from readers in response to this article.  

In 1971, flush with the nation’s success in putting a man on the Moon, President Richard M. Nixon announced a new goal. Cancer would be cured by 1976, the bicentennial.

Forty Years’ War

An Expensive Priority

Articles in this series will examine the struggle to defeat cancer.

Readers' Comments

Readers shared their thoughts on this article.

When 1976 came and went, the date for a cure, or at least substantial progress, kept being put off. It was going to happen by 2000, then by 2015.

Now, President Barack Obama, discussing his plans for health care, has vowed to find “a cure” for cancer in our time and said that, as part of the economic stimulus package, he would increase federal money for cancer research by a third for the next two years.

Cancer has always been an expensive priority. Since the war on cancer began, the National Cancer Institute, the federal government’s main cancer research entity, with 4,000 employees, has alone spent $105 billion. And other government agencies, universities, drug companies and philanthropies have chipped in uncounted billions more.

Yet the death rate for cancer, adjusted for the size and age of the population, dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005. In contrast, the death rate for heart disease dropped 64 percent in that time, and for flu and pneumonia, it fell 58 percent.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Chinese Herbs for Cancer

Alex Writes: This article is a good overview of the TCM approach to cancer treatment.

Chinese herbalists have been medicating patients with tumors for over two

thousand years. 1 In stark contrast to Western oncology concepts that undergo

constant revision, Chinese medical ideas about tumor pathogenesis and herbal

responses have remained largely the same over the centuries.2 Still, though,

Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) approaches hold strong attraction for human

oncology patients and people whose animals have cancer.3 TCM practitioners

shun the image of “waging war on cancer” and instead embrace the more

peaceful and organic view of cancer as a journey, regarding the patient not as a

battlefield but as a garden to be nurtured.4 5 6

The enormous draw of Chinese medicine and other traditional medicine practices

led the World Health Organization to consider ways to best study the

effectiveness and safe implementation of CAM methods in clinical practice. In

response, they formulated the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002-2005.7 In the

same year, the White House Commission published a Complementary and

Alternative Medicine Policy.8 Both organizations urged researchers to

investigate the claims and practices of long-held belief systems and empirically

derived treatments. The National Cancer Institute now recognizes that

following the leads laid by longstanding tradition will generate higher yields than

searching for cancer-fighting botanicals de novo.9 Even the Chinese Society of

Traditional Veterinary Science in Taiwan and the Asian Society of Traditional

Veterinary Science have sounded calls for more research and education in

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and, specifically, in herbal


The assortment of Chinese herbal treatments being promoted for animal patients

with cancer is growing. Testimonials asserting reductions in tumor size in dogs

who received Chinese herbs further stoke enthusiasm and hopes of finding an

alternative cure.11 12 13 However, rather than basing the herbal prescription on

tumor type or biopsy results, herbs are matched to a patient’s disease “pattern”,

which sorts patients into groups according a system based on visible signs on

the body, the specifics of which are unique to TCM.14

TCM holds that tumors and cancer arise from emotional stress, overwork, poor

nutrition, invasion of pathogens, and poor circulation.15 16 Of these, impaired

circulation ranks as perhaps the most strongly linked etiologic factors leading to

cancer and metastasis.17 18 From a Chinese medicine perspective, the poor

circulation associated with the “blood stasis” pattern will not only deprive tissue of

vital oxygen, absorbed nutrients, and immune surveillance, and it also leads to

the buildup of metabolic end-products in the tissues. Modern oncology resonates

with this perspective at least in part, acknowledging that the microcirculation

within tumors can be abnormal and contain areas of sluggish perfusion.

Furthermore, some researchers have added anticoagulants to chemotherapy

agents in order to lengthen survival and prevent blood-borne metastasis.19

Friday, May 01, 2009

Acupuncture Eases Radiation-induced Dry Mouth In Cancer Patients

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2009) — Twice weekly acupuncture treatments relieve debilitating symptoms of xerostomia - severe dry mouth - among patients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in the current online issue of Head & Neck.

For the rest of the story either click here or on the title of the post

Soon I will start working at a radiation center I thought I would post relevant research about acupuncture and radiation therapy