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Chinese Acupuncture Is "Theatrical Placebo", Study Finds

Chinese Acupuncture Is "Theatrical Placebo", Study Finds | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it

Pain is a big problem. If you read about pain management centers, you might think it had been solved. It has not, yet. And when no effective treatment exists for a medical problem, it leads to a tendency to clutch at straws. Research has shown that acupuncture is little more than such a straw.

 

Although it is commonly claimed that acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, it has not always been popular, even in China. For almost 1000 years, it was in decline, and in 1822, Emperor Dao Guang issued an imperial edict stating that acupuncture and moxibustion should be banned forever from the Imperial Medical Academy.

 

Acupuncture continued as a minor fringe activity in the 1950s. After the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Communist Party ridiculed Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, as superstitious. Chairman Mao Zedong later revived Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966. The revival was a convenient response to the dearth of medically trained people in postwar China and a useful way to increase Chinese nationalism. It is said that Chairman Mao himself preferred Western medicine. His personal physician quotes him as saying “Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine, I personally do not believe in it. I do not take Chinese medicine.”

 

The political, or perhaps commercial, bias seems to still exist. It has been reported (by authors who are sympathetic to alternative medicine) that “all trials [of acupuncture] originating in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were positive.”

 

Acupuncture was essentially defunct in the West until President Nixon visited China in 1972. Its revival in the West was largely a result of a single anecdote promulgated by journalist James Reston in the New York Times after he had acupuncture in Beijing for postoperative pain in 1971. Despite his eminence as a political journalist, Reston had no scientific background and evidently did not appreciate the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, or the idea of regression to the mean.

 

After Reston’s report, acupuncture quickly became popular in the West. Stories circulated that patients in China had open heart surgery using only acupuncture. The Medical Research Council (UK) sent a delegation, which included Alan Hodgkin, to China in 1972 to investigate these claims, about which they were skeptical. The claims were repeated in 2006 in a British Broadcasting Corporation TV program, but Simon Singh (author of Fermat’s Last Theorem) discovered that the patient had been given a combination of 3 very powerful sedatives (midazolam, droperidol, fentanyl) and large volumes of local anesthetic injected into the chest. The acupuncture needles were purely cosmetic.

 

Curiously, given that its alleged principles are as bizarre as those on any other sort of prescientific medicine, acupuncture seemed to gain somewhat more plausibility than other forms of alternative medicine. As a result, more research has been done on acupuncture than on just about any other fringe practice.

 

The outcome of this research, we propose, is that the benefits of acupuncture are likely nonexistent, or at best are too small and too transient to be of any clinical significance.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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CBR: cbr.uvic.ca

CBR:  cbr.uvic.ca | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it

The CBR is a multidisciplinary unit with an emphasis on genetics, molecular biology, and biotechnology. The centre was created to promote interdisciplinary basic and translational biomedical research. Our members span several UVic departments, the UVic Division of Medical Sciences, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the BC Cancer Agency.

 

This topic will provide general info on a variety health and science related subjects, mirroring the interests of the CBR members.

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Evolution and Ecology of Influenza A Viruses.

Wild aquatic bird populations have long been considered the natural reservoir for influenza A viruses with virus transmission from these birds seeding other avian and mammalian hosts. While most evidence still supports this dogma, recent studies in bats have suggested other reservoir species may also exist. Extensive surveillance studies coupled with an enhanced awareness in response to H5N1 and pandemic 2009 H1N1 outbreaks is also revealing a growing list of animals susceptible to infection with influenza A viruses. Although in a relatively stable host-pathogen interaction in aquatic birds, antigenic, and genetic evolution of influenza A viruses often accompanies interspecies transmission as the virus adapts to a new host. The evolutionary changes in the new hosts result from a number of processes including mutation, reassortment, and recombination. Depending on host and virus these changes can be accompanied by disease outbreaks impacting wildlife, veterinary, and public health.

 
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Google Genomics — Google Developers

Google Genomics — Google Developers | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
Gives access to Google Genomics.

Explore genetic variation interactively.Compare entire cohorts in seconds with SQL-like queries. Compute transition/transversion ratios, genome-wide association, allelic frequency and more.

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Generally...   I hate Google...

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▶ Ebola virus explained in 60 seconds (video)

Here's our 60 look at why Ebola is so deadly. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for "drastic action" to contain an Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 500 people. 
It is the world's largest outbreak in terms of cases, deaths and geographical spread.


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Almonds Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Almonds Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
Scientists have found that eating almonds in your diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping blood vessels healthy and significantly increasing the amount of antioxidants in the blood stream.
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PARV4: An Emerging Tetraparvovirus

PARV4: An Emerging Tetraparvovirus | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it

PARV4 was first reported in 2005 in a hepatitis B virus–infected injecting drug user (IDU) [1]. It was detected by a screening process that aimed to identify new DNA viruses in subjects reporting risk factors for HIV combined with nonspecific symptoms of “viral infection syndrome”, including fatigue, malaise, and headache [1].

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Come for the Oz-kicking, stay for the information

Come for the Oz-kicking, stay for the information | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
This is an excellent piece on that quack, Dr Oz, by John Oliver. The first 5 minutes is spent mocking the fraud, but then, the last ten minutes are all about the real problem: the evisceration of the FDA’s regulatory power over supplements, thanks to Senators Hatch and Harkin. OK, there is a silly bit…
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Obesity Research Takes Aim at Protein Regulators

Obesity Research Takes Aim at Protein Regulators | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
You are what you eat, but researchers are beginning to realize that what and when you eat is controlled by a myriad of underlying biological triggers acting in concert.
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Alzheimer’s, Other Conditions Linked to Prion-like Proteins

Alzheimer’s, Other Conditions Linked to Prion-like Proteins | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
A new theory about disorders that attack the brain and spinal column has received a significant boost from scientists. The theory attributes these disorders to proteins that act like prions, which are copies of a normal protein that have been corrupted in ways that cause diseases.
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An Apple a Day, and Other Myths

An Apple a Day, and Other Myths | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
The gap grows between food folklore and science on cancer.
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MRSA Genome Predicts Toxicity

MRSA Genome Predicts Toxicity | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
The spread of the antibiotic-resistant pathogen MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) remains a concerning public health problem, especially among doctors trying to determine appropriate treatment options for infected patients. Bacterial pathogens, such as MRSA, cause disease in part due to toxicity, or the bacterium's ability to damage a host's tissue.
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New Discovery Gives Hope that Nerves Could be Repaired after Spinal Cord Injury

New Discovery Gives Hope that Nerves Could be Repaired after Spinal Cord Injury | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
A new discovery suggests it could one day be possible to chemically reprogram and repair damaged nerves after spinal cord injury or brain trauma.
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First Peanut Genome Sequenced

First Peanut Genome Sequenced | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
The International Peanut Genome Initiative—a group of multinational crop geneticists who have been working in tandem for the last several years—has successfully sequenced the peanut's genome.
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CDC Media Statement on Newly Discovered Smallpox Samples

On July 1, 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notified the appropriate regulatory agency, the Division of Select Agents and Toxins (DSAT) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that employees discovered vials labeled ”variola,” commonly known as smallpox, in an unused portion of a storage room in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laboratory located on the NIH Bethesda campus.

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Oops!

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SimFlu: A simulation tool for predicting the variation pattern of influenza A virus.

SimFlu: A simulation tool for predicting the variation pattern of influenza A virus. | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it

Since the first pandemic outbreak of avian influenza A virus (H5N1 subtype) in 1997, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has provided a large number of influenza virus sequences with well-organized annotations. Using the time-series sequences of influenza A viruses, we developed a simulation tool for influenza virus, named SimFlu, to predict possible future variants of influenza viruses. SimFlu can create variants from a seed nucleotide sequence of influenza A virus using the codon variation parameters included in the SimFlu package. The SimFlu library provides pre-calculated codon variation parameters for the H1N1, H3N2, and H5N1 subtypes of influenza A virus isolated from 2000 to 2011, allowing the users to simulate their own nucleotide sequences by selecting their preferred parameter options. SimFlu supports three operating systems - Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. SimFlu is publicly available at http://lcbb.snu.ac.kr/simflu.

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Microbes Rule the Waves - 2013: Marine ssDNA viruses are a more diverse group of pathogens than previously thought

Microbes Rule the Waves - 2013: Marine ssDNA viruses are a more diverse group of pathogens than previously thought | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it

This blog is compiled from unedited contributions by undergraduate students of the MBIO322 "Marine Microbiology - Ecology & Applications" module with Plymouth University.


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Invisibility Cloak for Immune Cells

Invisibility Cloak for Immune Cells | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
The immune system includes natural killer cells (NK cells), which recognize and eliminate tumor or virus-infected cells. NK cells combat the body’s own stressed cells to prevent them from becoming a potential hazard. However, this bears its risks.
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An 81 million year herpes infection: First endogenous herpes virus found!

An 81 million year herpes infection: First endogenous herpes virus found! | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
1– Herpes viruses are old. They are ooooooold. Like, hundreds of millions of years old. Specifically, about 400 million years old. 2– Herpes viruses are everywhere. Fish, reptiles, birds, cows, humans, everywhere. And there are lots of different kinds that humans have to deal with– CMV, EBV, HHV-8, VZV, HSV… 3– And, though herpes viruses should…
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If herpes is that old, then what does that tell us about the other Large DNA viruses?

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What is calculus?

What is calculus? | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
Jon Butterworth: A walk past Isaac Newton at the British Library, and an attempt to demystify what is probably the most important tool in the physics 'maths kit'
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Unmasking a Viral Invader

Unmasking a Viral Invader | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is perhaps one of the biggest pathogens you’ve never heard of—big, both proportionately and epidemiologically. If you’re healthy, it’s harmless, but if you have an impaired immune system, the virus can assert itself with a vengeance. Now, researchers have discovered a menu of tactical secrets CMV employs.
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Researchers Identify Key Mechanism in Metabolic Pathway that Fuels Cancers

Researchers Identify Key Mechanism in Metabolic Pathway that Fuels Cancers | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
In a discovery at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), a research team has taken a significant step in cracking the code of an atypical metabolic pathway that allows certain cancerous tumors to thrive, providing a possible roadmap for defeating such cancers.
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Immune System's 'Rules of Engagement' Discovered

Immune System's 'Rules of Engagement' Discovered | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
A new study revealed how T cells, the immune system's foot soldiers, respond to an enormous number of potential health threats and found surprising similarities in the way immune system defenders bind to disease-causing invaders.
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Overcoming Resistance | The Scientist Magazine®

Overcoming Resistance | The Scientist Magazine® | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
In the face of bacterial threats that can evade modern medicines, researchers are trying every trick in the book to develop new, effective antibiotics.
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Adult cancer drugs show promise against an aggressive childhood brain tumor

Adult cancer drugs show promise against an aggressive childhood brain tumor | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
The quest to improve survival of children with a high-risk brain tumor has investigators to two drugs already used to treat adults with breast, pancreatic, lung and other cancers. Researchers demonstrated that the drugs pemetrexed and gemcitabine killed cells from mouse and human brain tumors, called group 3 medulloblastoma, growing in the laboratory. Medulloblastoma is diagnosed in about 400 children annually in the U.S., making it the most common pediatric brain tumor.
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Protein in Nerves Determines Which Brain Connections Stay, Which Go

Protein in Nerves Determines Which Brain Connections Stay, Which Go | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
A newborn baby, for all its cooing cuddliness, is a data acquisition machine, absorbing information to finish honing the job of brain wiring that started before birth. This is true nowhere more so than the eyes, which start life peering at a blurry world and within months can make out a crisp, three-dimensional image of a mobile dangling overhead.
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Exploiting bacteriophages for human health

Exploiting bacteriophages for human health | Biomedical Beat | Scoop.it
This short review is worth reading because it takes a thoughtful and holistic approach to the idea of phage therapy.
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Via Alan Cann's excellent MicrobiologyBytes site

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