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1. Acupuncture Improved Knee Pain, But Sham Acupuncture Did Too
In a study of 1,007 patients with osteoarthritis knee pain, both acupuncture and sham acupuncture improved knee pain compared with standard treatment of doctor visits and anti-inflammatory drugs (Article, p. 12).
About 53 percent of the acupuncture group said they had less pain and better function at 26 weeks, compared to 51 percent of the sham acupuncture group and 29.1 percent of the no-acupuncture group.
All participants could receive six physical therapy treatments and could take anti-inflammatory medications as needed.
Authors say the study supports using acupuncture in "multimodal treatment" of patients with knee osteoarthritis, "even if the mechanisms of its effects remain unclear."
2. Mediterranean Diets Improved Heart Risk Factors Better Than Low-Fat Diet
Older adults with risk factors for heart disease who ate one of two Mediterranean-type diets for three months had improved blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels compared with a group that ate a low-fat diet (Article, p. 1).
The 772 adults had diabetes or three or more other risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, abnormal cholesterol levels, or high blood pressure.
Both Mediterranean diets consisted of large amounts of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. One group increased consumption of vegetable fats and received free virgin olive oil. The second Mediterranean group increased consumption of vegetable fats and oils and received free walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. The third group decreased consumption of all fats.
In addition to improved blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, both Mediterranean diet groups found it easier to maintain the diets than those in the low-fat diet group. Study authors say that this may be because the Mediterranean diets were closer to the Spanish participants' actual diets.
This short-term study measured changes in risk factors for heart disease but did not look at the effects of any diet on actual heart attacks and strokes.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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