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Acupuncture helps brain to regulate pain

Benefits of Chinese acupuncture are known all over the world. But how it works at the cellular level is largely unknown. Now, a University of Michigan study has shed light on it.
Using brain imaging, the new study is the first to provide evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture affects the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain.

Researchers at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Centre showed acupuncture increased the binding availability of mu-opoid receptors (MOR) in regions of the brain that process and dampen pain signals — specifically the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala.

Opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work by binding to these opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord.

“The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain,” says Richard E Harris.

One implication of this research is that patients with chronic pain treated with
acupuncture might be more responsive to opioid medications since the receptors seem to have more binding availability, Harris says.

Optimistic women live longer

Being an optimist really is good for your health, especially if you’re a woman, says a new research.

The research has found that women who think positive have a lower risk of developing heart disease or dying from any cause compared to pessimistic women.

Researchers also reported that women with a high degree of cynical hostility — harbouring hostile thoughts toward others or having a general mistrust of people — were at higher risk of dying; however, their risk of developing heart disease was not altered.

Effects of healthy lifestyle

Four healthy lifestyle factors — never smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet — can help keep the most common and deadly chronic diseases at bay, says a new study.

“An impressive body of research has implicated modifiable lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical activity, diet and body weight in the causes of these diseases,” the authors write.

To reach the conclusion, Earl S Ford, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues assessed data from 23,513 German adults age 35 to 65. At the beginning of the study-between 1994 and 1998-participants completed an assessment of their body weight and height, a personal interview that included questions about diseases, a questionnaire on sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics and a food frequency questionnaire.

Sitting down too much is hazardous

A survey has found that workers spend 70 per cent of their daily lives sitting down, which makes it a health hazard, as it not only makes one fat, but also puts one at risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The survey found that 77 per cent of the time spent at work involves sitting, and the other 23 per cent of the time involves low intensity exercise, like strolling to the printer, the photocopier or the coffee shop.

The survey showed two-thirds of those involved in the study did 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as a brisk walk or other activity that raised a slight sweat.

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