Does Acupuncture Improve the Endometrium for Women Undergoing an Embryo Transfer: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial (Smith, Coyle and Norman)
On the Psychological Significance of Heart Governing Shen Ming (Qu and Garvey)
Smith CA, Coyle M, Norman RJ. Does Acupuncture Improve the Endometrium for Women Undergoing an Embryo Transfer: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial. Aust J Acupunct Chin Med 2009;4(1):7-13.
Background: There is a growing body of research suggesting acupuncture may increase pregnancy and live births, when administered on the day of embryo transfer. The physiological effects of acupuncture that may influence the outcome from embryo transfer remain unclear. Aims: To examine the effects of acupuncture on uterine endometrium thickness and pattern, and the level of hormonal medication during an IVF cycle. Design: Randomised controlled trial. Subjects: Women undergoing an IVF cycle with a planned embryo transfer at day 3 or day 5. Setting: A reproductive medicine unit in South Australia. Intervention: Women were randomly allocated to acupuncture or standard care. Women in the acupuncture group received three treatments, the first undertaken on day 9 of stimulating injections, and two on the day of embryo transfer. Outcome measures: The primary outcomes were change in endometrial thickness and pattern, and levels of plasma progesterone, and oestradiol during the IVF cycle, through to seven days post-egg retrieval. Secondary outcomes included number of oocytes retrieved, number of oocytes fertilised, and biochemical pregnancy rate. Results: Endometrial thickness and pattern and levels of hormonal medication did not differ between groups on the day of embryo transfer or in the luteal phase (p > 0.05). There were no differences in any secondary outcomes. Discussion and Conclusion: The results of this pilot study suggest acupuncture did not influence the endometrium or levels of hormonal medication during the IVF cycle. The small number of subjects and incomplete data make conclusions difficult, and consideration must be given to whether the measurement parameters were sensitive to changes from acupuncture, or whether the study sample was too small to detect a change. Interestingly, for the women who received acupuncture, there was a non-significant trend towards a higher fertilisation rate and numbers of women proceeding to embryo transfer.
KEYWORDS: acupuncture, infertility, randomised controlled trial.
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Qu LF, Garvey M. On the Psychological Significance of Heart Governing Shen Ming. Aust J Acupunct Chin Med 2009;4(1):14-22.
According to the Huangdi Neijing, Suwen Chapter 8, the heart is the ruler of the body and the host for spirit brightness (shen ming). The paper examines the meaning and contribution of the heart with spirit brightness (xin zhu shen ming) to Chinese medical thinking. From earliest times, Chinese medicine's analysis of health and illness included the physical, sensory, emotional, social and cognitive aspects of the person's lived experience. The shen-mind with ming-brightness was said to radiate peace, virtue, clarity and intelligence, and the cultivation of shen ming was thought to enhance one's physical health and longevity. In Part One, we discuss the conditions that influence the development of shen ming and the maturation of mental-emotional intelligence. In Part Two we discuss its opposite, the heart without spirit brightness (xin zhu bu ming) to identify its mechanisms and the consequences for health. Xin zhu bu ming leads to the distortion of sensory perceptions and emotional responses, and refers to a person with mental-emotional instability and poor adaptive ability. Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism identify the influences affecting shen ming-spirit brightness and explain the connections between ethical conduct, correct qi, and mind-body health. Mental-emotional development and the cultivation of shen ming is discussed and contrasted with the social consequences and clinical manifestations of human mentality without spirit brightness.
KEYWORDS: Chinese medicine, intelligence, mental health, mental illness, mind and body, personality, psychology, self-cultivation.
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