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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Acupuncture in the Elderly to Attenuate Stress and Improve Immunity

Acupuncture is so helpful in the elderly population, and can safely alleviate some of the aches and pains and other issues without the use of pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, the elderly are often the "hardest sell." Since treatment can take more visits before they start to see results than in younger people, they get impatient and want to abandon the series of sessions. This article can offer some good arguments to encourage them to stick with it (pardon the much overused pun.) The points used are a very simple prescription of the most basic immune points, a very simple prescription, indeed. The abstract is copied in its entirety.
(To read more about acupuncture and my practice, please click here.)

Neurosci Lett. 2010 Oct 22;484(1):47-50. Epub 2010 Aug 13.
Acupuncture is effective to attenuate stress and stimulate lymphocyte proliferation in the elderly.

Pav√£o TS, Vianna P, Pillat MM, Machado AB, Bauer ME.

Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Research, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil.

Acupuncture has increasingly been used to treat many conditions, including psychiatric disorders and immunological-related disorders. However, the effects of acupuncture as stress management and immune functions in the elderly are largely unclear. Here we investigated the effects of acupuncture on stress-related psychological symptoms and cellular immunity in young adults and elderly subjects. The acupuncture treatment consisted of six sessions and the procedures included the insertion of needles at bilateral acupoints LI4, SP6 and ST36. Psychological variables (depression, anxiety and stress) were investigated by means of self-assessment inventories. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated and cultured in vitro to measure mitogen-induced T-cell proliferation as well as cellular sensitivity to dexamethasone. All data were assessed before and after the intervention. Acupuncture was able to significantly reduce depression anxiety (p<0.001) and stress (p<0.001) scores. The intervention also increased T-cell proliferation, with greater intensity in the elderly group (p=0.004). No changes in cellular sensitivity to dexamethasone were observed following acupuncture. We conclude that acupuncture was efficient to attenuate the psychological distress as well as to increase an important feature of cellular immunosenescence.

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