Monthly Archives: October 2016

Acupuncture For Depression

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In our second post for Mental Illness Awareness Week we will examine research which shows support for acupuncture in treating depression.

In an article published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research a Chinese research group found benefit for acupuncture in treating major depression. This particular study looked at manual acupuncture as well as electro-acupuncture, in a group of patients who received the commonly prescribed anti-depressant paroxetine.

The study included 160 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. One treatment group received paroxetine only, while the other two groups received manual acupuncture or electro-acupuncture in addition to the paroxetine.

The patients in the acupuncture groups received three sessions of acupuncture per week over six consecutive weeks. Assessment of the patients in the manual and electro-acupuncture groups showed significant improvement in depression scores compared to paroxetine alone beginning at week one and continuing through week six of the study. In addition, in the group which received electro-acupuncture, the benefits continued four weeks after the electro-acupuncture treatments were stopped.

The results of this study are significant, especially in light of the beneficial effect of acupuncture when added on to a commonly used anti-depressant. The finding that acupuncture helps with depressive symptoms almost immediately is particularly important, as the beneficial effects of medications often take longer to materialize. Given the generally safe nature of acupuncture treatments, they may offer a supplemental treatment choice for depression.

(Source- Journal of Psychiatric Research 47, 2013 )

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

Curcumin Helps With Depression

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October 2nd-8th is designated as Mental Illness Awareness Week, and this week’s posts will be related to mental health.

Curcumin is an active ingredient of the Asian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is a widely used spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking and is grown in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and elsewhere. Turmeric is also used in Ayurvedic Medicine, and is currently being studied in Western Medicine for possible uses. Curcumin has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

A study published in 2013 in Phytotherapy Research looked at using curcumin as a treatment for major depression. The researchers were located in India and Texas. The study examined the use of fluoxetine and curcumin, both alone and in combination in the treatment of major depression. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) was used, and was checked at the start of therapy, at two weeks, at four weeks, and at the conclusion of the study at six weeks.

Forty-five enrollees completed the six-week study. Curcumin was found to be equivalent in terms of improvement in the HAM-D scores. 75% of the subjects taking curcumin had a “good” or “excellent” response, while 70.5% of the subjects taking fluoxetine had a “good” or “excellent” response. Curcumin was also found to have a benign side effect profile.

This was the first randomized clinical trial to look at curcumin for major depression , and while  larger studies are certainly needed this pilot study provides hope that this ancient spice may have benefit for an illness which affects nearly 300 million people worldwide. Lifetime prevalence rates are highest in the U.S. with 17%, and lowest in Japan at 3%.

(Source- Phytotherapy Research, 2013)

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.