The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Acupuncture for hot flashes

    Researchers from Norway report it reduced both frequency and intensity.

    First, the details.

    • 267 postmenopausal women experiencing, on average, at least 7 hot flashes per day for 7 consecutive days were assigned to a treatment group.
      • 10 acupuncture treatment sessions and advice on self-care.
      • Advice on self-care only.
    • The frequency and severity (0-10 scale) of hot flashes were recorded in a diary.
    • Hot flash frequency and changes in health-related quality of life were measured using the Women’s Health Questionnaire.
    • Urine excretion of calcitonin gene-related peptide (the most potent peptide blood vessel dilator) was measured.

    And, the results.

    • Hot flash frequency decreased significantly in the acupuncture group vs. the control group (6 vs 2 per day, respectively).
    • Hot flash intensity decreased significantly in the acupuncture group vs. the control group (-3 vs -2, respectively).
    • The acupuncture group experienced statistically significant improvements in the vasomotor, sleep, and somatic symptoms dimensions of the Women’s Health Questionnaire vs. the control group.
    • Urine calcitonin gene-related peptide excretion didn’t change.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Acupuncture plus self-care can contribute to a clinically relevant reduction in hot flashes and increased health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women.”

    The researchers have conducted a large study, and a reduction in hot flash frequency from 6 to 2 per day should be meaningful for most women, even if the difference in intensity is small.

    However, Prof. Ernst has warned against using a study design that randomly assigns patients to either usual care (A) + the experimental treatment (B) or to usual care (A) alone — A + B vs A — because is stacks the deck against the possibility of a negative result.

    The results become more problematic considering that sham-controlled studies of acupuncture don’t support this option to manage menopausal hot flushes.

    5/9/09 20:43 JR

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