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The effect of acupuncture at the cellular level - Essay Example

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The aim of this study is to examine the chemical processes at work during acupuncture and find evidence for the analgesic effect of acupuncture at the cellular level. The method is a series of controlled experiments on mice, simulating the effect of acupuncture and analysing the results. …
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The effect of acupuncture at the cellular level
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The effect of acupuncture at the cellular level

The focus in this paper is on the topic of acupuncture and its effects that has been much studied but so far there has been little consensus on how it achieves its evident analgesic effect. Some previous work has approached the question from the angle of brain activity and through the use of fMRI scanning techniques has established that stimulation of certain acupuncture points produces specific changes in cortical fMRI. It is widely accepted, therefore, that acupuncture is real, and has an actual analgesic effect and not just a placebo effect. These are not new findings. There is debate, however, about whether the point-specific claims of acupuncture can be demonstrated, since studies involving acupuncture at points not specified in the acupuncture scheme can also stimulate such analgesic effects. This study confirms that the analgesic effect exists, but also begins to explore how important the location of the needles is. This is done by means of experiments with needle insertion on mice at points close the locus of pain, and at points distant from the locus of pain, and comparing the results. The finding that acupuncture close to the point of pain has a better analgesic result tends to support the theory that locus of needle is important. It is still not a full endorsement of the peripheral pain relieving potential of acupuncture, however, because in the experiments carried out by Goldman et al. this was explored only at the level of left and right side. ...
This study confirms that the analgesic effect exists, but also begins to explore how important the location of the needles is. This is done by means of experiments with needle insertion on mice at points close the locus of pain, and at points distant from the locus of pain, and comparing the results. The finding that acupuncture close to the point of pain has a better analgesic result tends to support the theory that locus of needle is important. It is still not a full endorsement of the peripheral pain relieving potential of acupuncture, however, because in the experiments carried out by Goldman et al. (2010) this was explored only at the level of left and right side. Much more detailed analysis of different acupuncture points would be needed in order to observe how far location of needle insertion affects analgesia, the range of the effect in the body. The biggest question which is raised in Goldman et al. (2010), is exactly how acupuncture has the analgesic effect that it does. This is a very important question which is still unresolved in the literature, and the findings relating to adenosine provides some new data that is a significant contribution to the field. The authors note that so far “adenosine A1 receptors have not previously been implicated in the anti-nociceptive actions of acupuncture” (Goldman et al. 2010, p. 887). The anti-nociceptive effect of adenosine A1 receptors in general has been demonstrated in the literature before, and so this is not a new insight. (Reeve and Dickenson, 1995; Burnstock, 2009) The Goldman et al. study is nevertheless important because it because it sketches out a mechanism for the analgesic effect in peripheral areas and provides evidence ... Read More
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