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Acupuncture Stimulates Saliva Production in Patients with Radiation-Induced Dry Mouth

Topic: Acupuncture Stimulates Saliva Production in Patients with Radiation-Induced Dry Mouth

Keywords: DRY MOUTH, XEROSTOMIA, RADIATION, CANCER, SALIVA - Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Traditional East Asian Medicine

Reference: "The effect of acupuncture on salivary flow rates in patients with radiation-induced xerostomia," Braga FP, Sugaya NN, et al, Minerva Stomatol, 2008; 57(7-8): 343-8. (Address: Department of Oral Diagnosis, School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. E-mail: fbraga@usp.br ).

Summary: In a study involving 12 patients with severe radiation-induced xerostomia (dry mouth), treatment with acupuncture (twice a week for 6 weeks) was found to significantly increase saliva production. Results showed a 142% increase in resting salivary flow, and a 73.5% increase in stimulated salivary flow. Patients reported improvement as well, with an average 36 point increase in visual analogue scale score for 'sensation of more saliva production.' The results of this small study suggest that acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with radiation-induced xerostomia. Additional research is warranted.

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Acupuncture May Stimulate Saliva Production and Alleviate Dry Mouth

Topic: Acupuncture May Stimulate Saliva Production and Alleviate Dry Mouth

Keywords: DRY MOUTH, XEROSTOMIA, SALIVA - Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine

Reference:"Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) changes and saliva production associated with acupuncture at LI-2 acupuncture point: a randomized controlled study," Deng G, Hou BL, et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, 2008; 8: 37. (Address: Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1429 First Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA. E-mail: dengg@mskcc.org ).

Summary: In a randomized, controlled, subject-blinded trial involving 20 healthy subjects, treatment with acupuncture was found to be associated with increases in saliva production. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either real acupuncture (at unilateral LI-2, a point commonly used in clinical practice to treat xerostomia) or a sham acupuncture treatment. Functional MRI was used to evaluate which cortical regions of the brain were activated or de-activated during the treatment. Results found that treatment with acupuncture was associated with bilateral activation of the insula and adjacent operculum as well as saliva production, while the sham treatment did not activate nor deactivate these regions. These results suggest that acupuncture may be a safe and effective therapy for the treatment of dry mouth (xerostomia).

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