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Exploring the potential of acupuncture in Type 2 diabetes therapy

Researchers at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies assessed the effects and safety of acupuncture as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. They reported their findings in an article published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

  • Acupuncture has been used to treat Type 2 diabetes for 2,000 years.
  • Clinical evidence for its efficacy is emerging, thanks to numerous animal studies.
  • However, the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture as diabetes treatment are still relatively unexplored.
  • To address this, the researchers systematically searched five databases and two clinical registry platforms from inception until August 04, 2018, for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) involving acupuncture or its variants.
  • They selected studies that compared these treatments with sham acupuncture or no acupuncture controls for Type 2 diabetes.
  • They considered glycemic control and adverse events as primary outcomes.
  • The researchers included 21 studies, which involved 1,943 participants, in the final meta-analysis.
  • Compared with sham acupuncture or no acupuncture + baseline treatments, the combination of acupuncture and baseline treatments was found to reduce fasting blood glucose, blood glucose after two hours and glycated hemoglobin levels.
  • Acupuncture also improved blood lipid levels and blood pressure control and reduced body weight.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that acupuncture can be used as a supplementary treatment for the management of Type 2 diabetes, especially by individuals who suffer from obesity or other metabolic disorders.

Journal Reference:

Chen C, Liu J, Sun M, Liu W, Han J, Wang H. ACUPUNCTURE FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. August 2019;36:100–112. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.04.004

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