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Acupuncture Found to Be Effective in the Treatment of Diabetic Gastroparesis

Topic: Acupuncture Found to Be Effective in the Treatment of Diabetic Gastroparesis

Keywords: DIABETES MELLITUS, GASTROPARESIS, DIABETIC GASTROPARESIS, GASTRIC EMPTYING TIME, STOMACH, GASTROINTESTINAL - Acupuncture, Electroacupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Vagus Nerve

Reference: "A Single-Blinded, Randomized Pilot Study Evaluating Effects of Electroacupuncture in Diabetic Patients with Symptoms Suggestive of Gastroparesis," Wang CP, Kao CH, et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2008 August 23; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Ching-Liang Hsieh, MD, Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, No. 2, Yuh-Der Road, Taichung City, 404, Taiwan, R.O.C. E-mail: clhsieh@mail.cmuh.org.tw ).

Summary: In a randomized, single-blinded, pilot study involving 19 diabetic patients (type 2) with symptoms of gastroparesis (a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents) for more than 3 months, treatment with acupuncture (electroacupuncture at ST-36/Zusanli and LI-4/Hegu), twice a week for 2 weeks, was found to significantly reduce gastric half-emptying time (143.8 minutes versus 98.8 minutes), as compared to treatment with sham acupuncture, which did not reduce gastric half-emptying time. Furthermore, among patients treated with real acupuncture, symptom severity (assessed using the Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index) improved significantly immediately following the 2 weeks of treatment (2.38 versus 1.48), and continued to show improved status 2 weeks after the end of the trial (2.38 versus 1.65). No such benefits were found with the sham acupuncture. The results of this study suggest that acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with diabetic gastroparesis. The authors conclude, "…A larger trial is required to draw definitive conclusions."

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