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Blood Pressure Beyond Numbers

By Sara Calabro

For people who are concerned about blood pressure, it’s been a confusing month.

First, an analysis suggested that even people with normal blood pressure could benefit from taking antihypertensive drugs. Then, less than a week later, a separate analysis showed that “normal” may be higher than was previously thought. Finally, a report debunked the theory that body shape—whether someone is an “apple” or “pear” type—can increase heart-disease risk, a key factor in determining eligibility for blood-pressure meds.

The further we dig into medical research, the less cut-and-dried things seem. These recent findings on blood pressure do little to help people determine the risk-benefit ratio of going on medication—if anything, they muddle the picture even more.

The only thing that emerges clearly is the need for a broader perspective on hypertension, one that asks why blood pressure is high in the first place. Acupuncture achieves this by looking beyond the numbers to remedy the underlying imbalance. Keep reading

The Lupus Puzzle

By Sara Calabro

The FDA last week approved the first new drug for lupus in over 50 years.

This is potentially great news for lupus patients, who have not seen an effective treatment advance since steroids and an antimalarial drug were cleared for the disease in 1955.

However, the time it took to get even this far—the new drug, Benlysta, has many imperfections—highlights the inherent challenge of treating chronic, systemic diseases within the biomedical paradigm. Keep reading

Environmental Awareness

By Sara Calabro

Researchers from Belgium and Switzerland recently looked at the relationship between environment and disease. They found that air pollution is just as likely as widely known risk factors, such as physical exertion and alcohol consumption, to trigger a heart attack.

Reporting on the findings, TIME said, “The study raises interesting questions about widening the focus on heart attack triggers—away from a narrow consideration of individual risk factors, which are certainly important, to include more universal ones.”

This is not news to acupuncturists. Keep reading

Musician Kristin Hersh Returns from Bipolar

By Sara Calabro

Kristin Hersh is the founder, lead singer and guitarist for the popular 1980s rock band Throwing Muses. In addition to her continued work with Throwing Muses, Hersh performs with her other band, 50FOOTWAVE, and as a solo artist. Her latest album, Crooked, is available as a book, CD and app. She also is the author of Rat Girl, a memoir released last year that chronicles the early stages of Hersh’s 20-year battle with bipolar disorder.

After two decades of trying everything from lithium to vitamins to exercise to just succumbing to her symptoms, Hersh had nearly given up on hopes of becoming well. Then she found acupuncture.
Keep reading