By Sara Calabro Addiction officially is becoming a recognized medical specialty. Yesterday The New York Times reported that 10 medical institutions, in reaction to a growing awareness that addiction physically alters the brain, are now offering accredited residency programs in addiction medicine. The programs seek to establish alcohol, drug and/or
By Sara Calabro The Fourth of July tuckers out the senses. All weekend, we smell wafting barbecues and taste the food they cook; we touch ocean waves and hear them crash ashore. But the epitome of Fourth of July rituals, watching fireworks, calls most heavily on our sense of sight. Weak eyesight or degenerative vision loss can put a big damper on this stimulating summer weekend. In acupuncture theory, each sense has a corresponding organ. The organ associated with sight is Liver, so a Liver imbalance often is suspected in people who seek acupuncture for poor vision. However, although the Liver is at least partially implicated in the majority of eye-related cases, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.
By Sara Calabro New research from the Netherlands suggests that coffee, nose blowing, and sex can potentially trigger strokes in people with untreated brain aneurysms. The findings, while a little nerve wracking—apparently, one in 15 people develop brain aneurysms at some point in their life—are far from definitive. Just two
By Sara Calabro That's not the little blue pill up there. It's a stand in, since I didn't have any Viagra in the house. But a lot of people do have Viagra in the house. The New York Times recently reported that sales of erectile-dysfunction drugs reached $5 billion last year. And usage
By Britta Van Dun Spring is here: Seeds are sprouting; bare branches are starting to show buds; the earth is warming. There is a thrill in the air, perhaps even a lightness to your step. Spring brings revitalization and new beginnings. It also brings allergies. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring can feel like a disheartening blur of symptoms: runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and coughing. Allergic rhinitis, an inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, may lead to sinus infections or sinusitis. Many people don’t know that seasonal allergies also can exacerbate depression, digestive issues, and joint pain. Rather than temporarily alleviating these symptoms the way allergy medications do, acupuncture addresses the underlying imbalance that’s causing symptoms in the first place—allowing you to enjoy the outdoors all season long.
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.
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
By Sara Calabro What does irritable bowel syndrome have in common with ear infections and sore throats? All three now represent tempting opportunities for doctors to unnecessarily—and often dangerously—put people on antibiotics. New research, published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows that a two-week course of antibiotics
By Sara Calabro Holidays, whether fun or stressful, are nothing if not distracting. With them now past, people may notice the return of emotional symptoms that surfaced just before the holiday season began. The biomedical community calls this SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, a condition that describes mood shifts associated
By Sara Calabro From diets and support groups to surgically implanted devices, weight-loss solutions abound—and yet consistently leave something to be desired. For every Weight Watchers success story there’s a case of backfire, in which Points counting becomes so tedious and joyless that it only increases cravings for off-the-charts foods. The same Lap-Band that improves portion control in one person may be nothing but an ineffective and unnecessary surgical procedure for another. Different weight-loss methods produce unpredictable outcomes because we all gain weight, and struggle to lose it, for different reasons. Acupuncture by nature is multi-pronged in its approach—it simultaneously addresses physiological and emotional imbalances—making it an especially suitable therapy for complex conditions that are difficult to isolate. And so, The $64,000 Question: Can acupuncture really help with weight loss?
By Sara Calabro What do Thanksgiving and acupuncture have in common? A lot, it turns out. At Thanksgiving, people take the time to thoughtfully prepare a complete meal. Wired recently suggested that the effort involved in Thanksgiving makes it a more pleasurable dining experience than if the turkey came from a frozen dinner and was cooked in the microwave. Likewise, acupuncture, because it requires consciousness and commitment, is ultimately more rewarding than quick-fix medicines that temporarily satiate but never fully satisfy. The Wired article discusses new research in which mice demonstrated a preference for food that they worked hard to obtain. “Actions can create preferences,” say the authors of the study, “increasing the value ascribed to commodities acquired at greater cost.” In other words, we get more satisfaction from the things we work for.