Effects of ferulic acid on fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides.

Effects of ferulic acid on fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides.

Zheng RL, Zhang H.

Department of Biology, Lanzhou University, P.R. China.

The capacity of human sperm fertilization principally depends on sperm motility and membrane integrity. Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide, are known to impair sperm motility and membrane integrity by inducing membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO). Ferulic acid (FA), an effective constituent in various medicinal herbs, has recently been shown to scavenge oxygen free radicals and increase the intracellular cAMP and cGMP. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of FA on human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides in fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile individuals in vitro. The sperm samples were obtained from 10 fertile volunteers and 10 asthenozoospermic infertile patients. Washed spermatozoa were incubated at 37 degrees C in Ham’s F-10 medium with 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, or 1.6 mM of FA. Samples were analyzed for viability, determined by eosin-Y dye exclusion method at 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 h of incubation; motility, determined by the trans-membrane migration method within 2 h of incubation; LPO, determined by thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method at 3 h of incubation and the intracellular cAMP and cGMP, determined, respectively, by 3H-cAMP and 125I-cGMP radioimmunoassay at 3 h of incubation. The results showed: in both fertile and infertile spermatozoa, the viability, trans-membrane migration ratio (TMMR) and the levels of intracellular cAMP and cGMP in FA-treated spermatozoa were significantly higher than those of spermatozoa in control groups, while TBA-reactive substances contents in treated spermatozoa were significantly lower than those in control spermatozoa. The effects of FA on these processes were concentration dependent. These data suggested that FA is beneficial to sperm viability and motility in both fertile and infertile individuals, and that reduction of lipid peroxidative damage to sperm membranes and increase of intracellular cAMP and cGMP may be involved in these benefits. It is possible that FA may be used for cure of asthenozoospermic infertility.

Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;22(4):581-6.

Improvement of IVF Outcomes by Acupuncture: Are egg and embryo qualities involved?

fertility and sterility acupunctureImprovement of IVF Outcomes by Acupuncture: Are egg and embryo qualities involved?

Paul C. Magarelli, M.D., Ph.D., a Diane Cridennda, L.Ac. b, Mel Cohen, MBA a
a Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs, CO b East Winds Acupuncture, Colorado Springs, CO

FERTILITY AND STERILITY®, May 2005, VOL 83, SUP 2, Proceeding from the 2005 Pacific Coast Reproductive Society annual meeting in Palm Springs

Objective: In this study, we examine the impact of Acupuncture on the embryology characteristics of IVF patients, i.e., are there changes in the numbers of eggs generated, embryos fertilized, embryos transferred or remaining embryos for freezing in those patients receiving acupuncture therapy.

Design: Retrospective clinical study

Setting: Private infertility practice and Traditional Chinese Medicine practice

Patients: Two hundred eight IVF cycles were reviewed, 95 received acupuncture (Ac) and 113 were controls (C).

Interventions: Patients randomly chose Ac to complement their IVF treatments. Two published Ac protocols were used. Standard IVF protocols were used and done in one clinic by one physician. The MD was not aware of who received Ac in addition to their IVF. After three years the data were collected and analyzed.

Main Outcome Measures: Number of eggs retrieved, number of eggs fertilized normally, number of embryos implanted, number of embryos frozen, number of embryos transferred, day of transfer, number of prior IVF cycles, Day 3 FSH, Pulsatility Indices, weight, infertility diagnoses, IVF treatment protocols, pregnancy rates, SAB rates, ectopic rates, and multiple pregnancy rates.

Results: Number of prior IVF cycles, Day 3 FSH, Pulsatility Indices, Weight, Infertility diagnoses, IVF treatment protocols were statistically similar. Pregnancy rates for the Ac group were statistically significantly higher than the C group (P ≤ 0.05), SAB rates were lower and multiple pregnancy rates were lower (P < 0.06, not statistically significant). Ectopic pregnancy rates were statistically lower in the Ac group (P ≤ 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences between the C and Ac treated groups for the following embryology parameters: number of eggs retrieved, number of eggs fertilized normally, number of embryos implanted, number of embryos frozen, number of embryos transferred, and day of transfer. Conclusions: There were no discernable statistical differences between embryology characteristics in patients treated with or without Acupuncture. These data suggests that the mechanism of action of Acupuncture on IVF outcomes may be related to affects in the host (the egg provider and the embryo recipient) rather than in direct changes to the eggs retrieved and the embryos created. Key Words: IVF, acupuncture, adjuvant therapies, electro stimulation acupuncture, embryology, eggs

Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization: Does the Number of Treatments Impact Reproductive Outcomes?

Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization: Does the Number of Treatments Impact Reproductive Outcomes?

D.K. Cridennda L.Ac.(1), P.C. Magarelli MD, Ph.D. (2) , and M. Cohen, MBA (2).
.(1), East Winds Acupuncture Colorado Springs, CO; (2) Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs, CO

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal number of acupuncture treatments that provide the patient with the best IVF outcomes, i.e., pregnancy.

Materials and Methods: Retrospective clinical study in private practice Acupuncture and IVF center. Data were compiled in a group of infertile patients (n = 216) who received acupuncture during their IVF treatment cycle between 2001 and 2005. Data were analyzed to determine the optimal number of Electrical Stimulation (e-Stim) acupuncture treatments (Stener-Victorin protocol) that would result in a clinical pregnancy. Two hundred sixteen patients over a 4 year period were included in this study. Based on our previous studies, we determined a significant improvement in IVF outcomes when patients were treated with Acupuncture (Ac). We utilized two protocols: Stener-Victorin et al 1996 (reported on uterine blood flow) and Paulus et al. 2002 protocol (reported on acupuncture given just before and just after embryo transfer). Patients received a combination of both protocols. This population was stratified into pregnant and non pregnant groups and then evaluated by Student T=test and Chi-Square analysis for age, FSH levels, weight, BMI and E-2 levels. The pregnant and non-pregnant groups were further subdivided into those that received or did not receive acupuncture and were analyzed by Chi-square analysis. Since all patients received acupuncture consisting of e-Stim, their distribution was analyzed utilizing Kaplan- Meier survival analysis for pregnancy and no pregnancy to determine the number of e-stimulation that would provide the greatest chance for pregnancy.

Results: Patients age, day 3 FSH levels, weight, BMI (body mass index) and E2 (estrogen level at embryo transfer) were not statistically significantly different between the Non Acupuncture (No Ac) and the Acupuncture (Ac) groups. There was a statistically significant improvement (p < 0.01) in pregnancy rates in the group that received Ac (49 patients of 106 (37.4%) in the No Ac became pregnant vs. 77 patients of 111 (61.1%) of the Ac group became pregnant). This is over 23% increase in pregnancy rates in the Ac group. When the data were compared between e-Stim treatments in the Ac only group, an average of 6.5 treatments were found in the non-pregnant Ac group and 5.9 treatments in pregnant Ac group (not statistically significantly different). When the data were plotted comparing pregnant vs. non pregnant Ac patients, there was a trend towards numerically more e-Stim treatments in those who achieved a pregnancy. In order to confirm or refute differences in these two groups, Kaplan Meier’s survival analyses were done. Based on these analyses, the average accumulated affect in the non pregnant Ac group was 5.1 e-Stim treatments and 8.4 e-Stim treatments in the pregnant Ac group. This was statistically significantly different at the p < 0.05. Conclusion: In traditional Chinese medicine the basic theory is that only when the body is balanced will it function at its optimal level. Acupuncture helps restore balance which results in a higher chance of achieving pregnancy. In our study, we found that patients who received more than 8 e-Stim treatments appeared to have the maximum benefit for IVF outcomes: pregnancy (p < 0.05). In our study, we also reviewed the independent effects of the Paulus protocol, however due to small numbers; we could not perform the analyses. In the IVF center included in this study, patients receive Valium (diazepam) to reduce smooth muscle contractility. This treatment may provide all that is needed to reduce uterine contractility and therefore the additional impact of Ac at the pre and post transfer (Paulus protocol) may well be masked by the medication. More study of these and other treatments must be done. We are currently investigating the role of Ac in stress hormone circulating levels. Source : No outside source of funding.

Combination of Chinese herbs and hormones could lower the NO (nitric oxide) level in semen and improve the quality of sperm

Clinical observation on effect of combination of zhuanyindan and hormone in treating male infertility with positive antisperm antibody
[Article in Chinese]
Yu AL, Zhang FZ, Zhang FX.

Taishan Medical College, Shandong 271000.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the therapeutic effect of combination of Zhuanyindan (ZYD, a Chinese herbal preparation) and hormone in treating male infertility with positive antisperm antibody and its influence on nitric oxide (NO) level. METHODS: Eighty-two patients were randomly divided (according to the digital list) into the WM group (n = 20, treated with prednisone), the TCM group (n = 28, treated with ZYD) and the ICWM group (n = 34, treated with prednisone plus ZYD). The clinical effect, negative converting rate of antisperm antibody, changes of NO level in semen and various parameters of sperm motion before and after treatment were observed. RESULTS: The total effective rate in the ICWM group was 88.2%, that in the TCM group 75.0% and in the WM group 65.0%. Significant difference was seen in the ICWM and TCM group before and after treatment in NO level, sperm motion parameters, including linear motion speed, linearity, propulsion, whip frequency, sperm vitality and mean moving angle, and quality of semen (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). In the WM group, significant difference in comparison before and after treatment was seen in NO level, propulsion, whip frequency, mean moving angle and quality of semen, including vitality and survival rate (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Combination of Chinese herbs and hormone could lower the NO (nitric oxide) level in semen and improve the quality of sperm. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2004 Mar;24(3):223-6.

Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Experimentally Induced Polycystic Ovaries

human-reproduction-infertility-acupuncture

Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Experimentally Induced Polycystic Ovaries

1

Elisabet Stener-Victorin

2,a, Thomas Lundebergb, Urban Waldenströma, Luigi Mannic, Luigi Aloec, Stefan Gunnarssond, and Per Olof Jansona

a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Göteborg University, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden b Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, SE-164 01 Stockholm, Sweden c Institute of Neurobiology (CNR), Rome, Italy d Department of Evolutionary Biology, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

ABSTRACT

Despite extensive research on the pathogenesis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), there is still disagreement on the underlying mechanisms. The rat model for experimentally induced polycystic ovaries (PCO)—produced by a single injection of estradiol valerate—has similarities with human PCOS, and both are associated with hyperactivity in the sympathetic nervous system. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is known to serve as a neurotrophin for both the sympathetic and the sensory nervous systems and to enhance the activity of catecholaminergic and possibly other neuron types. Electro-acupuncture (EA) is known to reduce hyperactivity in the sympathetic nervous system. For these reasons, the model was used in the present study to investigate the effects of EA (12 treatments, approximately 25 min each, over 30 days) by analyzing NGF in the central nervous system and the endocrine organs, including the ovaries. The main findings in the present study were first, that significantly higher concentrations of NGF were found in the ovaries and the adrenal glands in the rats in the PCO model than in the control rats that were only injected with the vehicle (oil or NaCl). Second, that repeated EA treatments in PCO rats resulted in concentrations of NGF in the ovaries that were significantly lower than those in non-EA-treated PCO rats but were within a normal range that did not differ from those in the untreated oil and NaCl control groups. The results in the present study provide support for the theory that EA inhibits hyperactivity in the sympathetic nervous system.

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TCM herbs and miscarriage

herbs-miscarriage-acupunctureThis study confirmed Chinese herbal medicines can reduce the risk of miscarriage in the early weeks of pregnancy. Two days after embryo transfer a group of women was administered a Chinese herbal formula renown to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Control group were not administered any hers. But both groups were on progesterone support treatment.

Researchers found, that there was a significant reduction of miscarriages in the group taking Chinese herbal medicine. 23% of women in the progesterone only group miscarried, while in the Chinese herbs group this number was significantly lower – 13%.

The study was published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Chin J Integr Med. 2006 Sep;12(3):189-93.
Effect of Gutai Decoction on the abortion [miscarriage] rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
Liu Y1, Wu JZ.
Author information
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To study the effect of Chinese herbal medicine Gutai Decoction (GTD) on the abortion rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET).

METHODS:
Observed were two hundred and forty-seven women having received IVF-ET and with beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-HCG) > 25 IU/L on the 14th day after transferring. All were treated conventionally with progesterone 20 – 80 mg per day after transferring and if necessary the treatment was supplemented with Progynova 2 – 4 mg per day, with the medication withdrawn gradually from the 9th week of pregnancy till stopped completely. Among them 131 cases received GTD medication additionally, for 109 cases of whom the medication started from the 2nd day of transferring (taken as Group A) and for the other 22 cases from the 14th day after transferring (taken as Group B), the other 116 cases with no additional GTD treatment given were taken as the control group, with the medication lasting to the 12th week. The abortion rate in them was observed.

RESULTS:
The abortion rate in Group A, Group B and the control group was 12.84%, 13.64% and 23.28%, respectively, the difference between the GTD treated groups and the control group was significant (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Chinese medicine GTD could reduce abortion rate in women receiving IVF-ET. PMID: 17005079 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Stress hormone Cortisol and early miscarriage

Cortisol levels and very early pregnancy loss (miscarriage) in humans
Pablo A. Nepomnaschy , Kathleen B. Welch , Daniel S. McConnell, Bobbi S. Low, Beverly I. Strassmann , and Barry G. England

Author Affiliations
*Department of Anthropology, 1085 South University Avenue,
Reproductive Sciences Program, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, L4000 Women’s Hospital,
School of Natural Resources and Environment, 430 East University Street,
Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, 915 East Washington Street,
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, 109 Observatory Street,
**Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research, 426 Thompson Street, and
††Department of Pathology, Medical Science I, 1301 Catherine Street, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Communicated by Richard D. Alexander, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, December 27, 2005 (received for review December 17, 2004)
Abstract

Maternal stress is commonly cited as an important risk factor for spontaneous abortion. For humans, however, there is little physiological evidence linking miscarriage to stress. This lack of evidence may be attributable to a paucity of research on maternal stress during the earliest gestational stages. Most human studies have focused on “clinical” pregnancy (>6 weeks after the last menstrual period). The majority of miscarriages, however, occur earlier, within the first 3 weeks after conception (?5 weeks after the last menstrual period). Studies focused on clinical pregnancy thus miss the most critical period for pregnancy continuance. We examined the association between miscarriage and levels of maternal urinary cortisol during the first 3 weeks after conception. Pregnancies characterized by increased maternal cortisol during this period (within participant analyses) were more likely to result in spontaneous abortion or miscarriage (P < 0.05). This evidence links increased levels in this stress marker with a higher risk of early pregnancy loss in humans.

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Acupuncture increases percentage of normal sperm form

This study showed that acupuncture significantly improves sperm morphology (increases percentage of normal form sperm). This was a randomised controlled blinded trial and was published in a peer-reviewed Asian Journal of Andrology.

abnormal-sperm-acupuncture

Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8.
Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities.
Gurfinkel E, Cedenho AP, Yamamura Y, Srougi M.
Source
Human Reproduction Division, Discipline of Urology, São Paulo Federal University, Paulista School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil. egurfa@uol.com.br
Abstract
AIM:
To evaluate the effect of Chinese Traditional Medicine, acupuncture and moxa treatment, on the semen quality in patients with semen abnormalities.
METHODS:
In a prospective, controlled and blind study, nineteen patients, aged 24 years approximately 42 years and married for 3 years approximately 11 years without children with semen abnormalities in concentration, morphology and/or progressive motility without apparent cause, were randomized into two groups and submitted to acupuncture and moxa treatment at the therapeutic (Study Group) and the indifferent points (Control Group), respectively, for 10 weeks. Semen analyses were performed before and after the treatment course.
RESULTS:
The patients of the Study Group presented a significant increase in the percentage of normal-form sperm compared to the Control Group (calculated U=16.0, critical U=17.0).
CONCLUSION:
The Chinese Traditional Medicine acupuncture and moxa techniques significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm in infertile patients with oligoastenoteratozoospermia without apparent cause.

Natural depression relief – Electro-acupuncture

Comparative study of electro-acupuncture and maprotiline in treating depression
[Article in Chinese]
Han C, Li XW, Luo HC.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion School, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) and maprotiline (Map) in treating depression. METHODS: Thirty patients of depression were treated with EA and 31 patients with Map orally taken respectively. The therapeutic effect and side-effect were evaluated by measurement of Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), Self-Rating Scale for Depression (SDS), Self-Rating Scale for Anxiety (SAS), Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI) and Asberg Rating Scale for side-effects (ARS) before treatment and on the day 14, 28 and 42 of the therapeutic course. RESULTS: After treatment, the scores of HAMD and SDS lowered significantly (P < 0.01) than before treatment, and with insignificant difference between the group (P > 0.05). For patients with somatic syndrome, the HAMD score decrease rate was obviously higher in the Map group than that in the EA group. However, for the patients with anxiety somatization syndrome, the score of SAS, ARS in the EA group were significantly lower than those in the Map group (P < 0.05). Moreover, the efficacy index was higher in the EA group (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Both EA and Map are effective in treating depression. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2002 Jul;22(7):512-4, 521.

Auricular (ear) acupuncture decreases the anxiety

Auricular acupuncture: a potential treatment for anxiety.
Wang SM, Kain ZN.

Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut 06521, USA. shu-ming.wang@yale.edu

Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic anxiety disorders. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing anxiety in a volunteer population. If found effective, this modality could be introduced as a treatment of anxiety before surgery. Adult volunteers (n = 55), were randomized to three treatment groups: a) Shenmen group–bilateral auricular acupuncture at the “shenmen” point; b) Relaxation group-bilateral auricular acupuncture at a “relaxation” point; and c) Sham group-bilateral auricular acupuncture at a “sham” point. Press-acupuncture needles were inserted at the respective auricular areas for 48 h. State anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, and electrodermal activity were assessed at 30 min, 24 h, and 48 h after insertion. Analyzing anxiety levels using repeated-measures analysis of variance has demonstrated a significant difference [F (2,51) =8.8, P = 0.001] between the three treatment groups. Post hoc analysis demonstrated that patients in the Relaxation group were significantly less anxious at 30 min (P = 0.007) and 24 h (P = 0.035) as compared with patients in both the Shenmen group and the Sham group, and less anxious at 48 h (P = 0.042) as compared with patients in Shenmen group. Repeated-measures analysis of variance performed for electrodermal activity, blood pressure, and heart rate demonstrated no group differences (P = ns). We conclude that auricular acupuncture at the “relaxation” point can decrease the anxiety level in a population of healthy volunteers.

Anesth Analg. 2001 Feb;92(2):548-53.

Remarkable reduction in anxiety symptoms and depression with acupunture

Acupuncture in patients with minor depressive episodes and generalized anxiety. Results of an experimental study
[Article in German]
Eich H, Agelink MW, Lehmann E, Lemmer W, Klieser E.

Klinik fur Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, am Evangelischen Krankenhaus Gelsenkirchen Universitatsklinik der Ruhr-Universitat Bochum.

In a placebo-controlled, randomized, modified double-blind study we investigated the effects of body needle acupuncture (n = 10) in 43 patients with minor depression (ICD 10 F32.0, F32.1) and 13 patients with generalized anxiety disorders (ICD10 F41.1). The severity of the disease was assessed by the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI). Treatment response was defined as a significant improvement in CGI. An intent-to-treat analysis was performed to compare treatment responses between verum- and placebo acupuncture. After completing an total of 10 acupuncture sessions the verum acupuncture group (n = 28) showed a significantly larger clinical improvement compared to the placebo group (Mann-Whitney test, p < 0.05). There were significantly more responders in the verum-compared to the placebo group (60.7% vs. 21.4%; chi-square test, p < 0.01). In contrast, no differences in the response rates were evident just after 5 acupuncture sessions. A multivariate analysis with the independent factor acupuncture (verum vs. placebo) and the results of the results of the additional rating scales (total score of HAMA, HAMD, Bf-S, BL) as dependent variables (ANOVA, 1:54 D.F.) revealed a clear trend towards lower HAMA scores in the verum group after completing 10 acupunctures (F3.29, p = 0.075). This corresponds well to the high response rate of 85.7% in patients with generalized anxiety disorders, in whom verum acupuncture was applied. Our results indicate that needle acupuncture (Du.20, Ex.6, He.7, Pe.6, Bl.62) leads to a significant clinical improvement as well as to a remarkable reduction in anxiety symptoms in patients with minor depression or with generalized anxiety disorders. The total sum of acupuncture sessions and the specific location of acupuncture needle insertions might be important factors for bringing about therapeutic success.

Anxiety, depression, somatic and vasomotor symptoms improved by acupuncture

Tumori. 2002 Mar-Apr;88(2):128-30.
Links
Acupuncture in the treatment of menopause-related symptoms in women taking tamoxifen.
Porzio G, Trapasso T, Martelli S, Sallusti E, Piccone C, Mattei A, Di Stanislao C, Ficorella C, Marchetti P.

Medical Oncology Unit, University of L’Aquila, Italy. porzio1@interfree.it

Fifteen patients were enrolled in a pilot study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of menopausal symptoms in tamoxifen-treated patients. Patients were evaluated before treatment and after one, three and six months with the Greene Menopause Index and were treated according to the traditional Chinese medicine. Anxiety, depression, somatic and vasomotor symptoms were improved by the treatment; libido was not modified. Acupuncture seems to be safe and effective for the treatment of menopausal symptoms in women with previous breast cancer taking tamoxifen. Confirmatory studies with a larger number of patients and with a placebo-treated group are warranted.

Acupuncture helps patients with very poor sperm density

Acupuncture is effective for men with very poor sperm density. With these men acupuncture can improve sperm quality to the extent that they don’t have to undergo testicular biopsy. The abstract of the study:

Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study.
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Lederman H, Bartoov B.
Source
Institute of Chinese Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Abstract
Classic therapies are usually ineffective in the treatment of patients with very poor sperm density. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of acupuncture on these males. Semen samples of 20 patients with a history of azoospermia were examined by light microscope (LM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM), with which a microsearch for spermatozoa was carried out. These examinations were performed before and 1 month after acupuncture treatment and revealed that the study group originally contained three severely oligoteratoasthenozoospermic (OTA), two pseudoazoospermic and 15 azoospermic patients. The control group was comprised of 20 untreated males who underwent two semen examinations within a period of 2-4 months and had initial andrological profiles similar to those of the experimental group. No changes in any of the parameters examined were observed in the control group. There was a marked but not significant improvement in the sperm counts of severely OTA males following acupuncture treatment (average = 0.7 +/- 1.1 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate before treatment vs. 4.3 +/- 3.2 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate after treatment). A definite increase in sperm count was detected in the ejaculates of 10 (67%) of the 15 azoospermic patients. Seven of these males exhibited post-treatment spermatozoa that were detected even by LM. The sperm production of these seven males increased significantly, from 0 to an average of 1.5 +/- 2.4 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate (Z = -2.8, P < or = 0.01). Males with genital tract inflammation exhibited the most remarkable improvement in sperm density (on average from 0.3 +/- 0.6 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate to 3.3 +/- 3.2 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate; Z = -2.4, P < or = 0.02). Two pregnancies were achieved by the IVF-ICSI procedure. It is concluded that acupuncture may be a useful, nontraumatic treatment for males with very poor sperm density, especially those with a history of genital tract inflammation.

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