• Philip Niño Tan-Gatue

Research Tidbits: Laser Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis; Hot Flashes; Cancer Survivor Pain

Starting today, I shall change how I feature acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine studies and journal manuscripts on this blog. I will pick three to five studies that catch my eye from the previous week and feature them in one entry every Monday.


Effects of laser acupuncture tele-therapy for rheumatoid arthritis elderly patients


This article caught my eye because it featured tele-medicine. The researchers had two groups: both had exercise instruction and steroids but the experimental group had laser stimulation of acupoints as well. I refuse to call it acupuncture because there was no puncturing, but that's just me.


Here are the results:

There was a statistically significant difference in health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) pre- and post-treatment in group A (p < 0.05). The C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) inflammatory markers as well as the malondialdehyde (MDA) oxidative marker showed a significant reduction pre- and post-treatment in group A (p < 0.05). Additionally, there was a significant increase in the adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) antioxidant marker pre- and post-treatment in group A (p < 0.05). The comparison between groups A and B showed a statistically significant post-treatment difference in RAQoL, CRP, IL-6, ATP, and MDA in group A than group B.

What this means is that not only did the patients feel better, but said inflammatory markers were all reduced. This means that it's not just a subjective feeling of reduced pain.


Effects of laser acupuncture tele-therapy for rheumatoid arthritis elderly patients - PubMed (nih.gov)

Adly AS, Adly AS, Adly MS, Abdeen HAA. Effects of laser acupuncture tele-therapy for rheumatoid arthritis elderly patients. Lasers Med Sci. 2021 Mar 19:1–6. doi: 10.1007/s10103-021-03287-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33738615; PMCID: PMC7972942.


Quantitative study on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes and its comparison with nonhormonal drugs


17 studies with 1,123 patients were taken and analyzed. Traditional Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture were compared. Here are the results:

The efficacy of TA&EA (merged) was higher than that of sham acupuncture and significantly higher than that of placebo pills. The efficacy of electro-acupuncture was higher than that of traditional acupuncture, significantly higher than that of sham acupuncture, and comparable to that of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors/serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and neuroleptic agents.

In plain English, both kinds of acupuncture were better than fake acupuncture and fake pills. It's just like you took meds!


Quantitative study on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes and its comparison with nonhormonal drugs - PubMed (nih.gov) Li T, Zhang Y, Cheng Q, Hou M, Zheng X, Zheng Q, Li L. Quantitative study on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes and its comparison with nonhormonal drugs. Menopause. 2021 Mar 15. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001767. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33739313.


Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture or Auricular Acupuncture vs Usual Care for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Among Cancer Survivors: The PEACE Randomized Clinical Trial

I like this name. Let's get that out of the way.

Now let's dissect. the PEACE acronym stands for Personalized Electroacupuncture vs Auricular Acupuncture Comparativeness Effectiveness. It compares electroacupuncture with TCM syndrome differentiation basis for point selection with ear acupuncture.

Among 360 cancer survivors (mean [SD] age, 62.1 [12.7] years; mean [SD] baseline BPI score, 5.2 [1.7] points; 251 [69.7%] women; and 88 [24.4%] non-White), 340 (94.4%) completed the primary end point. Compared with usual care, electroacupuncture reduced pain severity by 1.9 points (97.5% CI, 1.4-2.4 points; P < .001) and auricular acupuncture reduced by 1.6 points (97.5% CI, 1.0-2.1 points; P < .001) from baseline to week 12. Noninferiority of auricular acupuncture to electroacupuncture was not demonstrated. Adverse events were mild; 15 of 143 (10.5%) patients receiving auricular acupuncture and 1 of 145 (0.7%) patients receiving electroacupuncture discontinued treatments due to adverse events (P < .001).

In plain language both electroacupuncture and ear acupuncture worked helping out with pain control, but that ear acupuncture produced more side effects.

Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture or Auricular Acupuncture vs Usual Care for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Among Cancer Survivors: The PEACE Randomized Clinical Trial - PubMed (nih.gov)

Mao JJ, Liou KT, Baser RE, Bao T, Panageas KS, Romero SAD, Li QS, Gallagher RM, Kantoff PW. Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture or Auricular Acupuncture vs Usual Care for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Among Cancer Survivors: The PEACE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2021 Mar 18. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.0310. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33734288.

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©2021 by Philip Niño Tan-Gatue, MD, CAc, CMA.