In studies acupuncture plus IVF, the outcome is pregnancy, which is entirely objective and unlikely to be affected by a patient’s expectations

Selecting a control for in vitro fertilization and acupuncture randomized controlled trials (RCTs): how sham controls may unnecessarily complicate the RCT evidence base

Eric Manheimer M.S.Corresponding Author Contact Information, a, E-mail The Corresponding Author

a Center for Integrative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
Received 5 April 2011;
revised 11 April 2011;
accepted 13 April 2011.
Available online 13 May 2011.

Objective

To examine the theoretical and methodologic rationales for the use of sham acupuncture controls in trials of adjuvant acupuncture for in vitro fertilization (IVF), and to identify the drawbacks of using a sham acupuncture control that may have its own effects on the pregnancy outcome. Read more

Acupuncture regulates ovarian blood flow (PCOS)

Title: Effect of electro-acupuncture stimulation of different frequencies and intensities on ovarian blood flow in anaesthetized rats with steroid-induced polycystic ovaries
Author: Stener-Victorin Elisabet ; Kobayashi Rie ; Watanabe Orie ; Lundeberg Thomas ; Kurosawa Mieko
Abstract:

Abstract

Background

Maintenance of ovarian blood flow (OBF) is suggested to be important for regular ovulation in women with polycystic ovaries (PCO). Read more

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

Gynecological Endocrinology: Acupuncture PCOSGynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Jun;26(6):473-8.
Current evidence of acupuncture on polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Lim CE, Wong WS.

Faculty of Medicine, South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. celim@unswalumni.com
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to provide a literature review on evaluating the efficacy of acupuncture therapy in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by reviewing clinical trials; randomised and non-randomised and observational studies on PCOS. The paper will also determine the possible mechanism of acupuncture treatment in PCOS, limitations of recruited studies and suggest further improvements in future studies.
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Acupuncture improves hyperandrogenism and menstrual frequency in women with PCOS

Acupuncture PCOSImpact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial
Elizabeth Jedel1, Fernand Labrie2, Anders Odén3, Göran Holm4, Lars Nilsson5, Per Olof Janson5, Anna-Karin Lind5, Claes Ohlsson6, and Elisabet Stener-Victorin7,8
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Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility

Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility

Fertility and Sterility, Volume 78, Issue 6, Pages 1149-1153 (December 2002)
Raymond Chang M.D.a,b, Pak H. Chung M.D. b* and Zev Rosenwaks M.D.c
Received 24 June 2002; revised 19 July 2002; accepted 19 July 2002.

Abstract

Objective: To review existing scientific rationale and clinical data in the utilization of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility.
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Unexplained infertility plus acupuncture: pregnancy rate of 60.9%

J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Feb;16(2):193-8.
Unexplained infertility treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine

Park JJ, Kang M, Shin S, Choi E, Kwon S, Wee H, Nam B, Kaptchuk TJ.

Asian Medicine & Acupuncture Research, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Erratum in:
J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):817.

Abstract

AIM: We aim to determine the safety and effectiveness of a standard therapeutic package of Korean medicine for the treatment of unexplained infertility in a cross-section of women who sought treatment at an integrative hospital in Seoul, Korea.
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Poor ovarian reserve and acupuncture

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Oct;29(10):775-9.
[Effects of electro-acupuncture on in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) of patients with poor ovarian response]

[Article in Chinese]

Chen J, Liu LL, Cui W, Sun W.

Department of Reproduction, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of TCM, Jinan 250001, China. fusantai@126.com
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To observe the effect of electro-acupuncture therapy on oocyte quality and pregnancy outcome of patients with poor ovarian response or decreased reserve in the course of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

METHODS: Sixty cases accepting IVF-ET were randomly divided into an observation group and a control group, 30 cases in each group. The two groups were both treated with antagonist scheme for ovulation induction, and the electro-acupuncture intervention was also added in the observation group, Guanyuan (CV 4), Taixi (KI 3), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) etc. were selected. The therapeutic effects in the two groups were compared after treatment.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference between the two groups before treatment. The symptoms of kidney difficiency in the observation group were significantly improved after treatment, and the levels of serum estradiol (E2), fertilization rate, oocyte maturation rate, good quality embryos rate, and implantation rate in the observation group were superior to those in the control group on human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) injection day (all P<0.05); the levels of stem cell factor (SCF) in follicular fluid and serum in the observation group were significantly higher than those in the control group (both P<0.05). The pregnancy rate in the observation group was higher than that in the control group, and the abortion rate in the observation group was lower than that in the control group, but there was no significant difference between the two groups (both P>0.05).

CONCLUSION: Electro-acupuncture therapy has a good clinical effect for IVF patients with poor ovarian reserve, and can improve oocyte (egg) quality and pregnancy outcome.

PMID: 19873910 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

E-acupuncture improves testicular blood flow

fertility and sterility acupuncture Fertil Steril. 2008 Nov;90(5):1732-8. Epub 2008 Feb 20.
Point- and frequency-specific response of the testicular artery to abdominal electroacupuncture in humans.

Cakmak YO, Akpinar IN, Ekinci G, Bekiroglu N.

Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Marmara, Istanbul, Turkey. ycakmak@marmara.edu.tr
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To clarify the role of the abdominal acupuncture points and the frequency of short-term electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation on testicular blood flow (TBF) in humans.

DESIGN: A prospective, randomized study.

SETTING: University hospital, Department of Radiology, ultrasound unit.

PATIENT(S): Eighty healthy male volunteers were randomly allocated to three groups in stage one and to a single group in stage two. In the first stage of the study, the abdominal acupuncture points ST-29 (guilai) were stimulated using simple needle insertion, 2 Hz burst EA or 10 Hz EA, in three different groups. In the second stage of the study, abdominal acupuncture points ST-25 (tianshu) were stimulated with the frequency found to be more effective in stage one. Stimulation was for 5 minutes in each group.

INTERVENTION(S): Electroacupuncture and Doppler flowmeter.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Four groups were compared for volume flow and other related parameters of TBF.

RESULT(S): The 10-Hz EAcupuncture stimulation of ST-29 (guilai) increased TBF, but simple needle insertion and 2-Hz burst stimulation did not. The 10-Hz EA stimulation of ST-25 (tianshu) did not result in significant changes in TBF.

CONCLUSION(S): For the first time point- and frequency-specific effects of abdominal E Acupuncture on testiclar blood flow are shown in humans. Further investigation is required to ascertain whether these findings may be helpful in the clinical treatment of infertile men.

PMID: 18076881 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

IVF + Acupuncture = lower stress, higher pregnancy rate

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Aug;16(3):154-7. Epub 2009 Dec 24.
The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study.

Balk J, Catov J, Horn B, Gecsi K, Wakim A.

University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Hospital, 300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. jbalk@magee.edu
Abstract

The aim of this paper was to determine the effect of acupuncture on perceived stress levels in women on the day of embryo transfer (ET), and to determine if perceived stress levels at embryo transfer correlated with pregnancy rates. The study was an observational, prospective, cohort study based at the University IVF center.

PATIENT(S): 57 infertile patients undergoing IVF or IVF/ICSI. INTERVENTIONS(S): Patients were undergoing Embryo Transfer with or without acupuncture as part of their standard clinical care.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Perceive Stress Scale scores, pregnancy rates.

RESULT(S): women who received this acupuncture regimen achieved pregnancy 64.7%, whereas those without acupuncture achieved pregnancy 42.5%. When stratified by donor recipient status, only non-donor recipients potentially had an improvement with acupuncture (35.5% without acupuncture vs. 55.6% with acupuncture). Those who received this acupuncture regimen had lower stress scores both pre-ET and post-ET compared to those who did not. Those with decreased their perceived stress scores compared to baseline had higher pregnancy rates than those who did not demonstrate this decrease, regardless of acupuncture status. CONCLUSIONS(S): The acupuncture regimen was associated with less stress both before and after embryo transfer, and it possibly improved pregnancy rates. Lower perceived stress at the time of embryo transfer may play a role in an improved pregnancy rate.

PMID: 20621276 [PubMed – in process]PMCID: PMC2904299 [Available on 2011/8/1]

Acupuncture improves sperm motilty

In this study acupuncture effectively helped patients suffering from both reduced sperm motility and low sperm count. This kind of condition is called oligoasthenozoospermia. The study showed that acupuncture significantly improved percentage of motile sperm.

sperm-motility

Fertil Steril. 2009 Oct;92(4):1340-3. doi: 10.1016/ j.fertnstert. 2009.02.041. Epub 2009 Apr 25.
A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia.
Dieterle S, Li C, Greb R, Bartzsch F, Hatzmann W, Huang D.
Source
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Dortmund, Germany. dieterle@ivf-dortmund.de
Abstract
In this first prospective, randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled study, 28 infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia received acupuncture according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and 29 infertile patients received placebo acupuncture. A significantly higher percentage of motile sperm (World Health Organization categories A-C), but no effect on sperm concentration, was found after acupuncture compared with placebo acupuncture.

Chinese herbal medicine vs gestrinone for endometriosis

Cochrane: Endometriosis and Chinese medicineChinese herbal medicine for endometriosis

Flower A, Liu JP, Chen S, Lewith G, Little P
Chinese herbs for endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common gynaecological condition causing menstrual and pelvic pain. Treatment involves surgery and hormonal drugs, with potentially unpleasant side effects and high rates of reoccurrence of endometriosis. This review suggests that Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) may be useful in relieving endometriosis-related pain with fewer side effects than experienced with conventional treatment. However, the two trials included in this review are of poor methodological quality so these findings must be interpreted cautiously. Better quality randomised controlled trials are needed to investigate a possible role for CHM in the treatment of endometriosis.

This is a Cochrane review abstract and plain language summary, prepared and maintained by The Cochrane Collaboration, currently published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009 Issue 3, Copyright © 2009 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.. The full text of the review is available in The Cochrane Library (ISSN 1464-780X).
This record should be cited as: Flower A, Liu JP, Chen S, Lewith G, Little P. Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD006568. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006568.pub2

This version first published online: July 08. 2009
Abstract
Background

Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of tissue that is morphologically and biologically similar to normal endometrium in locations outside the uterus. Surgical and hormonal treatment of endometriosis have unpleasant side effects and high rates of relapse. In China, treatment of endometriosis using Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is routine and considerable research into the role of CHM in alleviating pain, promoting fertility, and preventing relapse has taken place.
Objectives

To review the effectiveness and safety of CHM in alleviating endometriosis-related pain and infertility.
Search strategy

We searched the Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Trials Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library) and the following English language electronic databases (from their inception to the present): MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, NLH on the 30/04/09.

We also searched Chinese language electronic databases: Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Sci & Tech Journals (VIP), Traditional Chinese Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (TCMLARS), and Chinese Medical Current Contents (CMCC).
Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving CHM versus placebo, biomedical treatment, another CHM intervention, or CHM plus biomedical treatment versus biomedical treatment were selected. Only trials with confirmed randomisation procedures and laparoscopic diagnosis of endometriosis were included.
Data collection and analysis

Risk of bias assessment, and data extraction and analysis were performed independently by three review authors. Data were combined for meta-analysis using relative risk (RR) for dichotomous data. A fixed-effect statistical model was used, where appropriate. Data not suitable for meta-analysis are presented as descriptive data.
Main results

Two Chinese RCTs involving 158 women were included in this review. Both these trials described adequate methodology. Neither trial compared CHM with placebo treatment.

There was no evidence of a significant difference in rates of symptomatic relief between CHM and gestrinone administered subsequent to laparoscopic surgery (95.65% versus 93.87%; risk ratio (RR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93 to 1.12, one RCT). The intention-to-treat analysis also showed no significant difference between the groups (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.18). There was no significant difference between the CHM and gestrinone groups with regard to the total pregnancy rate (69.6% versus 59.1%; RR 1.18, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.59, one RCT).

CHM administered orally and then in conjunction with a herbal enema resulted in a greater proportion of women obtaining symptomatic relief than with danazol (RR 5.06, 95% CI 1.28 to 20.05; RR 5.63, 95% CI 1.47 to 21.54, respectively).

Overall, 100% of women in all the groups showed some improvement in their symptoms.

Oral plus enema administration of CHM showed a greater reduction in average dysmenorrhoea pain scores than did danazol (mean difference (MD) -2.90, 95% CI -4.55 to -1.25; P < 0.01). Combined oral and enema administration of CHM showed a greater improvement, measured as the disappearance or shrinkage of adnexal masses, than with danazol (RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.78). For lumbosacral pain, rectal discomfort, or vaginal nodules tenderness, there was no significant difference either between CHM and danazol. Authors' conclusions Post-surgical administration of CHM may have comparable benefits to gestrinone but with fewer side effects. Oral CHM may have a better overall treatment effect than danazol; it may be more effective in relieving dysmenorrhea and shrinking adnexal masses when used in conjunction with a CHM enema. However, more rigorous research is required to accurately assess the potential role of CHM in treating endometriosis.

PCOS: Acupuncture and Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Acupuncture PCOS

Acupuncture PCOS

Low-frequency Electro-Acupuncture and Physical Exercise Decrease High Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Elisabet Stener-Victorin1*, Elizabeth Jedel2, Per Olof Janson, and Yrsa Bergmann Sverrisdottir3

1 Institution of Neuroscience and Physiology
2 Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
3 inst. neuroscience and physiology

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: elisabet.stener-victorin@neuro.gu.se.

Context: We have recently shown that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with high muscle sympathetic nerve activity. Animal studies support the concept that low-frequency electro-acupuncture (EA) and physical exercise, via stimulation of ergoreceptors and somatic afferents in the muscles, may modulate the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of these interventions on sympathetic nerve activity in women with PCOS. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. Outcome Measures and Subjects: Twenty women with PCOS were randomly allocated to one of three groups; low-frequency EA (n=9), physical exercise (n=5) or to an untreated control (n=6) group during 16 weeks. Direct recordings of multiunit efferent postganglionic muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) in a muscle fascicle of the peroneal nerve before and following 16 weeks of treatment. Biometric, hemodynamic, endocrine and metabolic parameters were measured. Results: Low-frequency EA (P = 0.036) and physical exercise (P = 0.030) decreased MSNA burst frequency compared to the untreated control group. Low-frequency EA group reduced sagittal diameter (P = 0.001), while physical exercise group reduced body weight (P = 0.004) and body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.004) as compared to the untreated control group. Sagittal diameter was related to MSNA burst frequency (Rs = 0.58, P < 0.005) in the EA group. No correlation was found for BMI and MSNA in the exercise group. There were no differences between the groups in hemodynamic, endocrine and metabolic variables. Conclusions: For the first time we demonstrate that low-frequency EA and physical exercise lowers high sympathetic nerve activity in women with PCOS. Thus, treatment with low-frequency EA or physical exercise with the aim to reduce MSNA may be of importance for women with PCOS. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol (June 3, 2009). doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00197.2009

Acupuncture benefits cortisol and prolactin levels in IVF patients

fertility and sterility acupunctureChanges in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization–embryo transfer treatment

Paul C. Magarelli, M.D.aCorresponding Author Informationemail address, Diane K. Cridennda, L.Acb, Mel Cohen, Ph.D.a

Received 22 May 2008; received in revised form 24 October 2008; accepted 28 October 2008. published online 31 December 2008.
Corrected Proof
Objective

To determine whether changes in serum cortisol (CORT) and PRL are affected by acupuncture (Ac) in Ac-treated IVF patients.
Design

Prospective cohort clinical study.
Setting

Private practice reproductive endocrinology and infertility clinic and private practice acupuncture consortium.
Patient(s)

Sixty-seven reproductive-age infertile women undergoing IVF.
Intervention(s)

Blood samples were obtained from all consenting new infertility patients and serum CORT and serum PRL were obtained prospectively. Patients were grouped as controls (IVF with no Ac) and treated (IVF with Ac) according to acupuncture protocols derived from randomized controlled trials.
Main Outcome Measure(s)

Serum levels of CORT and PRL were measured and synchronized with medication stimulation days of the IVF cycle (e.g., day 2 of stimulation, day 3, etc.). Reproductive outcomes were collected according to Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology protocols, and results were compared between controls and those patients treated with Ac.
Result(s)

CORT levels in Ac group were significantly higher on IVF medication days 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 compared with controls. PRL levels in the Ac group were significantly higher on IVF medication days 5, 6, 7, and 8 compared with controls.

Conclusion(s)

In this study, there appears to be a beneficial regulation of CORT and PRL in the Acupuncture group during the medication phase of the IVF treatment with a trend toward more normal fertile cycle dynamics.

Acupuncture improves sperm motility

acupuncture sperm motility male infertilityArch Androl. 1997 Sep-Oct;39(2):155-61.

Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality.
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B.

Institute of Chinese Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The aim of this prospective controlled study was to assess the effect of acupuncture on the sperm quality of males suffering from subfertility related to sperm impairment. Semen samples of 16 acupuncture-treated subfertile patients were analyzed before and 1 month after treatment (twice a week for 5 weeks). In parallel, semen samples of 16 control untreated subfertile males were examined. Two specimens were taken from the control group at an interval of 2-8 months. The expanded semen analysis included routine and ultramorphological observations. The fertility index increased significantly (p < or = .05) following improvement in total functional sperm fraction, percentage of viability, total motile spermatozoa per ejaculate, and integrity of the axonema (p < or = .05), which occurred upon treatment. The intactness of axonema and sperm motility were highly correlated (corr. = .50, p < or = .05). Thus, patients exhibiting a low fertility potential due to reduced sperm activity may benefit from acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture improves ovarian morphology in PCOS by regulating overactive sympathetic nervous system

Acupuncture and exercise restore adipose tissue expression of sympathetic markers and improve ovarian morphology in rats with dihydrotestosterone-induced PCOS
Louise Mannerås,1 Stefan Cajander,2 Malin Lönn,3 and Elisabet Stener-Victorin1

1Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 2 Department of Pathology and Cytology, Sunderby County Hospital, Luleå, Sweden; and 3 Institute of Medicine, Wallenberg Laboratory, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Submitted 22 November 2008 ; accepted in final form 15 January 2009

Altered activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which innervates adipose and ovarian tissue, may play a role in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We hypothesize that electro-acupuncture (EA) and physical exercise reduce sympathetic activity by stimulating ergoreceptors and somatic afferent pathways in muscles. Here we investigated the effects of low-frequency EA and physical exercise on mRNA expression of sympathetic markers in adipose tissue and on ovarian morphology in female rats that received dihydrotestosterone (DHT) continuously, starting before puberty, to induce PCOS. At age 11 wk, rats with DHT-induced PCOS were randomly divided into three groups: PCOS, PCOS plus EA, and PCOS plus exercise. The latter two groups received 2-Hz EA (evoking muscle twitches) three times/week or had free access to a running wheel for 4–5 wk. In mesenteric adipose tissue, expression of ?3-adrenergic receptor (ADRB3), nerve growth factor (NGF), and neuropeptide Y (NPY) mRNA was higher in untreated PCOS rats than in controls. Low-frequency EA and exercise downregulated mRNA expression of NGF and NPY, and EA also downregulated expression of ADRB3, compared with untreated rats with DHT-induced PCOS. EA and exercise improved ovarian morphology, as reflected in a higher proportion of healthy antral follicles and a thinner theca interna cell layer than in untreated PCOS rats. These findings support the theory that increased sympathetic activity contributes to the development and maintenance of PCOS and that the effects of EA and exercise may be mediated by modulation of sympathetic outflow to the adipose tissue and ovaries.

sympathetic activity; ?3-adrenergic receptor; androgen receptor; nerve growth factor; neuropeptide Y

Acupuncture for male and female infertility – systematic review

fertility and sterility acupunctureThe Role of Acupuncture in the Management of Subfertility

Ng E H et al Fertil Steril. 2008 Jul;90(1):1-13.
Fertility and Sterility

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To review systematically the use of acupuncture in the management of subfertility.

DESIGN: A computer search was performed via several English and Chinese databases to identify journals relevant to the subject.

RESULT(S): The positive effect of acupuncture in the treatment of subfertility may be related to the central sympathetic inhibition by the endorphin system, the change in uterine blood flow and motility, and stress reduction. Acupuncture may help restore ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, although there are not enough randomized studies to validate this.

There is also no sufficient evidence supporting the role of acupuncture in male subfertility, as most of the studies are uncontrolled case reports or case series in which the sample sizes were small. Despite these deficiencies, acupuncture can be considered as an effective alternative for pain relief during oocyte retrieval in patients who cannot tolerate side effects of conscious sedation.

The pregnancy rate of IVF treatment is significantly increased, especially when acupuncture is administered on the day of embryo transfer.

CONCLUSION(S): Although acupuncture has gained increasing popularity in the management of subfertility, its effectiveness has remained controversial.

How Stress affects Fertility

Stress and reproductive failure: past notions, present insights and future directions Journal Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Publisher Springer Netherlands
ISSN 1058-0468 (Print) 1573-7330 (Online)
Issue Volume 25, Numbers 2-3 / March, 2008
Category REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY
DOI 10.1007/s10815-008-9206-5
Pages 47-62
Subject Collection Medicine
SpringerLink Date Friday, February 15, 2008

Katrina Nakamura1 , Sam Sheps2, 3 and Petra Clara Arck4, 5(1) Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, University of British Columbia, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada
(2) Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
(3) Western Regional Training Center for Health and Policy Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
(4) Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany
(5) Brain Body Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Received: 24 January 2008 Accepted: 25 January 2008 Published online: 15 February 2008
Abstract
Problem Maternal stress perception is frequently alleged as a cause of infertility, miscarriages, late pregnancy complications or impaired fetal development. The purpose of the present review is to critically assess the biological and epidemiological evidence that considers the plausibility of a stress link to human reproductive failure.
Methods All epidemiological studies published between 1980 and 2007 that tested the link between stress exposure and impaired reproductive success in humans were identified. Study outcomes were evaluated on the basis of how associations were predicted, tested and integrated with theories of etiology arising from recent scientific developments in the basic sciences. Further, published evidence arising from basic science research has been assessed in order to provide a mechanistic concept and biological evidence for the link between stress perception and reproductive success.
Results Biological evidence points to an immune–endocrine disequilibrium in response to stress and describes a hierarchy of biological mediators involved in a stress trigger to reproductive failure. Epidemiological evidence presents positive correlations between various pregnancy failure outcomes with pre-conception negative life events and elevated daily urinary cortisol. Strikingly, a relatively new conceptual approach integrating the two strands of evidence suggests the programming of stress susceptibility in mother and fetus via a so-called pregnancy stress syndrome.

Conclusions: An increasing specificity of knowledge is available about the types and impact of biological and social pathways involved in maternal stress responses. The present evidence is sufficient to warrant a reconsideration of conventional views on the etiology of reproductive failure. Physicians and patients will benefit from the adaptation of this integrated evidence to daily clinical practice.

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Acupuncture in polycystic ovary syndrome: current experimental and clinical evidence.

pcos acupuncture - journal of neuroendocrinology

pcos acupuncture

J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 Mar;20(3):290-8. Epub 2007 Nov 28.
Acupuncture in polycystic ovary syndrome: current experimental and clinical evidence.

Stener-Victorin E, Jedel E, Mannerås L.

Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden. elisabet.stener-victorin@neuro.gu.se
Abstract

This review describes the aetiology and pathogenesis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and evaluates the use of acupuncture to prevent and reduce symptoms related with PCOS. PCOS is the most common female endocrine disorder and it is strongly associated with hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction and obesity. PCOS increases the risk for metabolic disturbances such as hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, hypertension and an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular risk factors and impaired mental health later in life. Despite extensive research, little is known about the aetiology of PCOS. The syndrome is associated with peripheral and central factors that influence sympathetic nerve activity. Thus, the sympathetic nervous system may be an important factor in the development and maintenance of PCOS. Many women with PCOS require prolonged treatment. Current pharmacological approaches are effective but have adverse effects. Therefore, nonpharmacological treatment strategies need to be evaluated. Clearly, acupuncture can affect PCOS via modulation of endogenous regulatory systems, including the sympathetic nervous system, the endocrine and the neuroendocrine system. Experimental observations in rat models of steroid-induced polycystic ovaries and clinical data from studies in women with PCOS suggest that acupuncture exert long-lasting beneficial effects on metabolic and endocrine systems and ovulation.

Systematic review: Acupuncture and IVF: Acupuncture improves rates of pregnancy and live birth

bmj-infertility-acupuncture1Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis

Eric Manheimer, research associate1, Grant Zhang, assistant professor1, Laurence Udoff, assistant professor2, Aviad Haramati, professor3, Patricia Langenberg, professor and vice-chair4, Brian M Berman, professor1, Lex M Bouter, professor and vice chancellor (rector magnificus)5

1 Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2200 Kernan Drive, Kernan Hospital Mansion, Baltimore, MD 21207, USA, 2 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 3 Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, 4 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 5 VU University Amsterdam De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Correspondence to: E Manheimer emanheimer@compmed.umm.edu
Objective To evaluate whether acupuncture improves rates of pregnancy and live birth when used as an adjuvant treatment to embryo transfer in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation.

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources Medline, Cochrane Central, Embase, Chinese Biomedical Database, hand searched abstracts, and reference lists.

Review methods Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials that compared needle acupuncture administered within one day of embryo transfer with sham acupuncture or no adjuvant treatment, with reported outcomes of at least one of clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, or live birth. Two reviewers independently agreed on eligibility; assessed methodological quality; and extracted outcome data. For all trials, investigators contributed additional data not included in the original publication (such as live births). Meta-analyses included all randomised patients.

Data synthesis Seven trials with 1366 women undergoing in vitro fertilisation were included in the meta-analyses. There was little clinical heterogeneity. Trials with sham acupuncture and no adjuvant treatment as controls were pooled for the primary analysis. Complementing the embryo transfer process with acupuncture was associated with significant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy (odds ratio 1.65, 95% confidence interval 1.27 to 2.14; number needed to treat (NNT) 10 (7 to 17); seven trials), ongoing pregnancy (1.87, 1.40 to 2.49; NNT 9 (6 to 15); five trials), and live birth (1.91, 1.39 to 2.64; NNT 9 (6 to 17); four trials). Because we were unable to obtain outcome data on live births for three of the included trials, the pooled odds ratio for clinical pregnancy more accurately represents the true combined effect from these trials rather than the odds ratio for live birth. The results were robust to sensitivity analyses on study validity variables. A prespecified subgroup analysis restricted to the three trials with the higher rates of clinical pregnancy in the control group, however, suggested a smaller non-significant benefit of acupuncture (odds ratio 1.24, 0.86 to 1.77).

Conclusions Current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation.

Electro acupunture increases ovarian blod flow (PCOS)

fertility and sterility acupunctureEffect of electro-acupuncture stimulation of different frequencies and intensities on ovarian blood flow in anaesthetized rats with steroid-induced polycystic ovaries
Elisabet Stener-Victorin1 ,2 , Rie Kobayashi3 , Orie Watanabe3 , Thomas Lundeberg4 and Mieko Kurosawa3
1Department of Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Box 432, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sahlgrenska, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden
3Basic Medical Research Centre, International University of Health and Welfare, 2600-1 Kitakanemaru, Otawara, Tochigi 324-8501, Japan
4Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Karolinska Hospital, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract

Background

Maintenance of ovarian blood flow (OBF) is suggested to be important for regular ovulation in women with polycystic ovaries (PCO). The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether electro-acupuncture (EA) of different frequencies and intensities can improve the OBF of anaesthetized rat in the animal model of PCO.

Methods

PCO was experimentally induced by a single intramuscular (i.m.) injection of estradiol valerate (EV) in rats. Control rats were given i.m. injection of oil. The involvement of the two ovarian sympathetic nerves; superior ovarian nerve (SON) and plexus ovarian nerve (OPN), in OBF responses was elucidated by severance of SON and OPN in both control and PCO rats. How systemic circulatory changes affect OBF was evaluated by continuous recording of the blood pressure. OBF was measured on the surface of the ovary-using laser Doppler flowmetry. Acupuncture needles were inserted bilaterally into the abdominal and hind limb muscles and connected to an electrical stimulator. Two frequencies – 2 Hz (low) and 80 Hz (high) – with three different intensities – 1.5, 3, and 6 mA – were applied for 35 s.

Results

Low-frequency EA at intensities of 3 and 6 mA elicited significant increases in OBF in the Control group compared to baseline. In the PCO group the increases in OBF were significant only when stimulating with low-frequency EA at 6 mA. After severance of the ovarian sympathetic nerves, the increased response of OBF that had been induced by low-frequency EA in both the Control and PCO group was abolished, indicating that the OBF response is mediated via the ovarian sympathetic nerves. High-frequency EA at 6 mA significantly decreased OBF and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) in the Control group compared to baseline. In the PCO group, the same stimulation produced similar decreases in MAP, but not in OBF.

Conclusion

Low-frequency EA stimulation with a strong intensity (6 mA) increases OBF in rats with steroid-induced PCO whereas less strong intensity (3 mA) induces similar changes in control rats. Severance of the ovarian sympathetic nerves, abolish this OBF increase in both study groups, which suggests that the responses of OBF to EA are mediated via the ovarian sympathetic nerves.
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