New Study Shows Acupuncture Maybe A Potent Treatment For Depression

Many of the studies about acupuncture’s effectiveness come from Western medicine researchers trying to understand Traditional Chinese Medicine (an Eastern philosophy and practice) in terms of Western science.

Here is another one, and this one has implications for the treatment of depression. In this study, conducted at the University of New South Wales, healthy patients underwent MRI brain scans while they received acupuncture.  The portions of the brain related to “mood regulation” were affected, leading the researchers to wonder whether acupuncture would be effective treatment for depression, a mood disorder.

Acupuncture shown to stimulate the brain

From The Sydney Morning Herald
By Danny Rose, Medical Writer September 14, 2010

Acupuncture has been shown to prompt changes in the “mood regulation” area of the brain, pointing to a possible and potent treatment for depression.

The Australian-first research, conducted at the University of NSW, took in ten healthy patients who each underwent MRI brain scans while they received the ancient Chinese therapy. Dr Im Quah-Smith said it was the first study to map acupuncture-related changes in brain functioning, while the study was designed to include an extra step to boost its scientific rigour.

“This the is the first time that a whole series of (acupuncture) points have been used together and the sum effect has been measured in the brain,” Dr Quah-Smith told AAP on Tuesday. “… We were interested to see if we use these points would it help any of our depressed patients? – and it would because it is working in the part of the brain that is inherently involved in mood regulation.”

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