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what's the buzz...

Science behind acupuncture revealed

Researchers have explored the basic science and mechanisms of action of medical acupuncture, which is increasingly being validated as an effective treatment for a broad range of medical conditions.

In a special issue of Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers presents a series of articles by authors from around the world who provide diverse and insightful perspectives on the science and physiologic responses underlying medical acupuncture. Understanding acupuncture in the same manner that we understand the mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics of a particular drug will, similarly, enable us to match treatments better with conditions, stated Guest Editor Richard F. Hobbs, III, MD.

“The net effect will be improved outcomes,” he wrote in his editorial “Basic Science Matters.”

In the editorial “Basic Science: Mysteries and Mechanisms of Acupuncture,” Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Acupuncture, a retired Air Force Colonel and current Director of the USAF Acupuncture Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, suggested that natural events have scientific explanations and that “the two explanations—one scientific, the other environmental—might both elucidate how acupuncture works.”

Learning about portion size doesn’t help stop overeating

A recent research from the University of New South Wales has found people given large servings of food eat more than those given smaller servings, even after they have been taught about the impact of portion size on consumption.

Learning how to engage in mindful - rather than mindless – eating also did not decrease food intake by a significant amount in those given large servings.
The study highlights the need to find new ways to reduce the effect of portion size on overeating.

“If no effective approaches are found, it may be necessary to develop policy-related changes to provide a healthier food environment for people,” said Dr Lenny Vartanian, a senior lecturer in the UNSW School of Psychology and an author of the study. Portion sizes in restaurant and at home have increased dramatically since the early 1970s, and are thought to have contributed to rising obesity levels.

Older people stop foraging early resulting in memory decline

Older people struggle to recall items because they flit too often between ‘patches’ in their memories, a new study has suggested.

The study by the University of Warwick seeks to model the mechanisms behind memory decline in old age.

Its findings indicate that specific changes in the way older people access their memories, rather than a general ‘slowing down’ in mental processing speed, may be to blame for some aspects of memory decline.

Using what is known as an ‘animal fluency test’, a group of 185 participants aged between 29 and 99 were asked to name as many animals as they could in three minutes. It has long been known that performance declines in line with age on these kinds of tests.

Typically, people will begin by naming animals in a semantically distinct ‘patch’ such as pets - for example dog, cat and hamster.

When this patch becomes depleted and they can no longer recall any similar animals they jump to another patch, for example predatory animals such as tiger, lion and panther.

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