Summer Newsletter - August 2010

Insights into Acupuncture Mechanisms
A new study "Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture" published in the journal Nature Neuroscience Jul;13(7):883-8. Epub 2010 May 30 by Goldman et al. (1), illustrates a potentially novel mechanism for the action of acupuncture in pain relief.  Read more...Although the action of adenosine at A1 receptors has been known to promote analgesic effects in animals (2), the recent article by Goldman et al. suggests that adenosine may also be involved in the analgesic effects of acupuncture.  Goldman et al. measured adenosine concentrations in and around the acupuncture point Zusanli (St36) using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) during acupuncture needle stimulation.  They found that at baseline, prior to needle manipulation, the levels of adenosine and related nucleotides were in the low nanomolar range.  However following gentle manual manipulation of the needle, the concentration increased 24-fold.  This release of adenosine seems to be important for the action of acupuncture because blocking the action of adenosine at the A1 receptor using a selective antagonist, profoundly blocked acupuncture’s analgesic effect.  Moreover the authors report that mice lacking the A1 receptor are non-responsive to acupuncture.  The authors conclude their study by presenting data that suggests that certain pharmacologic interventions that inhibit the degradation of peripheral adenosine, seem to augment the effects of acupuncture on pain.   This is the first time that the action of adenosine in the periphery has been tied to the action of acupuncture and may open the door for fruitful experiments with this pathway.

1.  Goldman N, Chen M, Fujita T, Xu Q, Peng W, Liu W, Jensen TK, Pei Y, Wang F,
Han X, Chen JF, Schnermann J, Takano T, Bekar L, Tieu K, Nedergaard M. Adenosine
A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture. Nat Neurosci.
2010 Jul;13(7):883-8. Epub 2010 May 30. PubMed PMID: 20512135.

2. Liu XJ, Salter MW. Purines and pain mechanisms: recent developments. Curr Opin
Investig Drugs. 2005 Jan;6(1):65-75. Review. PubMed PMID: 15675605.


Evidence Based Summaries – Coming Soon!
Stay tuned for a series of Evidence Based Summaries, all authored and reviewed by our own subject matter experts – the best in the business.  Summaries in production include chronic neck pain; low back pain; headaches; dysmennorhea; asthma; and sinusitis.  These summaries are based on the same reports created for use by insurance companies.  Imagine having access to the most credible, up-to-date research on acupuncture’s efficacy for specific conditions, organized concisely, with the credibility and imprimatur of SAR, the leading acupuncture research society, backing it up. 

  • Improve your insurance coding and billing decisions by understanding which conditions have the strongest evidence base, and improve your ability to appeal claims denials by being armed with the highest quality, most current evidence;
  • Gain access to the most current and comprehensive research to develop hypotheses; and,
  • Use for informing curricula and educating colleagues.

As a SAR affiliate member, you will receive first notice of available Evidence Based Summaries, and a discounted price on each, along with subscription options for even greater savings.

2010 Society for Acupuncture Research Conference Described as “Best Ever!”
259 acupuncture researchers, clinicians, and stakeholders gathered in Chapel Hill, NC from March 19-21, 2010 for the 14th SAR conference themed “Translational Research in Acupuncture: Bridging Science, Practice and Community.”  Attendees represented 24 countries. According to SAR Co-President, Richard Harris, “The quality of presentations and discourse at this year’s event was exceptionally high.” 186 abstracts were presented orally and in poster sessions. Attendees enjoyed a balanced program featuring the newest basic research findings, exciting new clinical reports, and even a “hands-on” translational tools workshop designed to inspire the creation of new research tools and methods.  All of the sessions included lively question and answer periods, with plenty of time for face to face interaction afterwards. The interchange and discussions engendered truly promoted translational thinking.  SAR members can access the 2010 conference program by visiting (use your website password to unlock the document): 69% of attendees who responded to the conference survey rated the conference as “Excellent,” with another 24% rating it as “Good.”  No one rated it as “Fair” or “Poor.” 91% said they’d recommend the conference to someone else. Make sure you don’t miss the next one!

To order recorded proceedings from the 2010 conference, details about how to order can be found on the PDF order form here:

A list of conference abstracts from 2010 is available here:  Note: Only SAR affiliate members have access to the full abstract summaries, downloadable in PDF form through this link, so members will need to use their affiliate password to unlock the document.   Prior Years’ SAR Proceedings - Coming soon:  Tap into a comprehensive library of SAR conference proceedings, which will be accessible via the SAR website by September 15, 2010.  Affiliate members only will have access to full abstracts; others will have access to basic abstract information (titles, authors and affiliations) and conference programs.

Acupuncture in the News
Headline:  Military tries acupuncture to treat troops for PTSD - New approach is making inroads in Western medicine.   Article:  Tony Bailes of Austin was in the Army in 2003 when he injured his back in Iraq and tried everything his doctor recommended. Nothing helped. Then, the pain specialist prescribed acupuncture, and two weeks later, "my back pain was gone," he said…excerpted from  Read the full article here:

Support SAR today and receive these special benefits:
If you have not yet joined SAR as an affiliate member, now is the time!  A Society for Acupuncture Research membership is one of the best investments you can make for your professional development.  Consider the value.

With a SAR Professional Membership you’ll:

  •  Be part of the cutting edge acupuncture research community by attending  all SAR events at a discounted registration rate;
  • Stay up-to-date with must-have downloadable copies of SAR conference proceedings, including abstracts of posters, as well as access to select presentations from the 2010 conference;
  • Gain access to members-only website content, which includes special resources and references, acupuncture research-related job listings and internships (as available),  and stay informed with time sensitive news and announcements related to the field;
  • Receive significantly discounted subscription rates (>50%) to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine;  and,
  • Enjoy a 20% discount on our entire new library of Evidence Based Summaries (EBS), currently in production and based on the same reports created for use by insurance companies.  This is a critical tool for use in substantiating insurance claims, in curriculum development, to generate innovative hypotheses, and educating physicians and patients.  As a SAR affiliate member, you’ll receive first notice and a discounted price on each and every Evidence Based Summary. The value of this one benefit alone will far exceed your membership dues.

Organizational members enjoy additional benefits.  Learn more about membership levels and joining SAR here:  SAR Membership

Act now! JOIN before August 31st and your first EBS is free! * 

Here’s the link to join online: Join SAR

* Join by August 31st and receive a certificate redeemable for one free Evidence Based Summary of your choice, as they become available (summaries in production include chronic neck pain; low back pain; headaches; dysmennorhea; asthma; and sinusitis).

Beth Israel Medical Center Acupuncture Fellowship for Inpatient Care, Directed by Arya Nielsen, PhD
The Fellowship is a year long post-grad opportunity for licensed acupuncturists to work and learn at a NYC medical teaching hospital.   Currently the program offers opportunities for Fellows to provide inpatient acupuncture in the following areas:  Surgery; Orthopedic Surgery; Family Medicine; Internal Medicine; Oncology, inpatient and chemo suite; Pulmonary Rehab, and OB.  The opportunity requires a commitment of 8 hours per week at the hospital and 3 hours per week in team meetings and lectures/rounds with physicians in Fellowship for Integrative Medicine.  Deadline: Fall 2010; Send submissions or questions to  Details are available here:

Submit Your Job Listings and Internships
If you want your acupuncture research-related job listings and internships to reach a group of high-quality candidates, submit your listings to SAR.  We’ll include listings in the member area of SAR’s website and in upcoming newsletters – all at no cost.  Please include the following information when submitting listings:

  •  Job or Internship Title
  • Description
  • Location (city, state or region, country)
  • How to apply
  • Public Contact (name, phone, email) – for inclusion in the listing (optional if an email address or web link is  already included in the “how to apply” section)
  • Administrative Contact (name, phone, email) – for questions about your listing (this contact would not be included in your listing)

Job and internship listings will remain on the SAR website for 60 days unless otherwise requested, and will be included in the current SAR newsletter if a quarterly issue is being sent within 60 days of receiving your listing.  Send listing information and any questions to


Acupuncture Research Award Announcements
University of Michigan (Richard Harris and Suzanna Zick) has received an NIH R01 grant to examine the effects of acupressure in cancer patients with persistent fatigue.

Lixing Lao, and Ling Xu received a grant from NIH Fogarty International Center.  The objective of the study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of an herbal formula TLSJ on cancer pain and explore its mechanisms in male and female rat cancer models.

Fred Eberlein, Rosa Schnyer and Edie Walch have been awarded an NCCAAM SBIR grant to develop secure web-based intake and patient tracking tools for CAM. The purpose is to provide a dynamic data collection tool that will facilitate research.

Additional grant award announcements can be searched here:

The SAR Newsletter is published by Society for Acupuncture Research (

Information and links were accurate at the time the newsletter was published.


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