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Oct 11

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  • Acupuncture Provides Tinnitus Attenuation Thursday October 24th, 2019

    Acupuncture provides tinnitus relief. Luoding City Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Guangdong, China) researchers determined that acupuncture combined with the herbal formula Liu Wei Di Huang Wan relieves symptoms and improves quality of life for tinnitus sufferers. The study compared acupuncture and herbs with hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Acupuncture plus herbs produced a 77.5% effective rate compared with 50% in the hyperbaric oxygen control group. [1] Study outcome measures included symptom severity, duration, and the impact of tinnitus on sleep, mood, and attention.

    A total of 80 patients with tinnitus and a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) diagnosis of liver and kidney yin deficiency were recruited for the study and were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture and herbs or hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The acupuncture group was comprised of 23 male and 17 female patients, ages 45–67 years (mean age 54.3 years), with a disease duration of 1–12 years (mean duration 3.8 years). The control group was comprised of 24 male and 16 female patients, ages 46–70 years (mean age 55.4 years), with a disease duration of 2–13 years (mean duration 4.1 years). There were no statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups at the initiation of the investigation (p>0.05).

    Biomedical diagnostic criteria included tinnitus or hearing loss without obvious pathological changes to the tympanic membrane or external auditory canal and a reduced sense of hearing. TCM diagnostic criteria included: a TCM diagnosis of liver and kidney yin deficiency, tinnitus which is present day and night with a worsening of symptoms during the night, heat in the five palms, headaches, dizziness, dream-disturbed sleep, pain and weakness of the knees and lumbar region, night sweats, dryness of the mouth and throat, nocturia, red tongue body with sparse coating, and a fine-wiry pulse.

    Further inclusion criteria were a disease duration of >12 months, the ability to communicate clearly, and informed consent. Exclusion criteria were concurrent cardiac, cerebral, hepatic, renal, hemopoietic, or immune disorders, other auditory disorders, and poor treatment compliance.


    Patients assigned to the control group received hyperbaric oxygen treatment administered at 0.2 MPa. Sessions were conducted daily and lasted 80 minutes with two five-minute breaks each time. Each course was comprised of 10 treatments and a total of 30 treatments were administered.

    Patients assigned to the acupuncture group were prescribed Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Shu Di Huang, Shan Zhu Yu, Shan Yao, Fu Ling, Mu Dan Pi, Ze Xie) at a dosage of 6 grams twice daily. Acupuncture was administered on the affected side at the following acupoints:

    • Tinggong (SI19)
    • Tinghui (GB2)
    • Ermen (TB21)
    • Wangu (SI4)
    • Fengchi (GB20)
    • Taichong (LV3)
    • Hegu (LI4)
    • Zusanli (ST36)
    • Shenshu (BL23)

    Treatment was administered using number 28 filiform needles with a balanced reducing-reinforcing technique. For patients with patterns of excess, a lifting-thrusting, twisting-rotating reducing method was employed. For patients with patterns of deficiency, this was substituted with a lifting-thrusting, twisting-rotating reinforcing method. Treatment was administered daily with one course comprising 10 treatments. A total of 30 treatments were administered.


    The primary outcome measure for the study was the total effective rate which was calculated as follows. Each patient’s symptom severity was graded according to the subcategories of: tinnitus severity, tinnitus duration, impact on sleep, impact on attention, and impact on mood. Each subcategory was classified as absent, mild, moderate, or severe, and awarded 0, 2, 4, or 6 points respectively.

    Patients with an overall score of <6 were classified as grade 1. Patients with an overall score of 7–10 were classified as grade 2. Patients with an overall score of 11–14 were classified as grade 3. Patients with an overall score of 15–18 were classified as grade 4. Patients with an overall score of 19–21 were classified as grade 5.

    To calculate the total effective rate, patients with a total resolution of symptoms were classified as recovered. For patients who experienced a reduction in severity of two grades and a significant improvement in symptoms, the treatment was classified as markedly effective. For patients who experienced a reduction in severity of one grade and some improvement in symptoms, the treatment was classified as effective. For patients who experienced no change in grade and no improvement in symptoms, the treatment was classified as ineffective. The recovered, markedly effective, and effective rates were then added together to provide the total effective rate.

    In the acupuncture group, mean pre-treatment scores were 2.00 for tinnitus severity, 2.86 for tinnitus duration, 1.32 for impact on sleep, 1.77 for impact on attention, and 0.82 for impact on mood. Following treatment, these scores improved to 0.85, 1.38, 0.80, 1.20, and 0.41 respectively. In the control group, mean pre-treatment scores were 2.01 for tinnitus severity, 2.83 for tinnitus duration, 1.30 for impact on sleep, 1.86 for impact on attention, and 0.83 for impact on mood. Following treatment, these scores reduced to 1.65, 2.00, 0.85, 1.31, and 0.64 respectively. Both groups experienced significant improvements across all subcategories (p<0.05). Improvements were significantly greater in the acupuncture group (p<0.05).

    In the acupuncture group, there were 3 recovered, 10 markedly effective, 18 effective, and 9 ineffective cases, giving a total effective rate of 77.5%. In the control group, there were 4 markedly effective, 16 effective, and 20 ineffective cases, giving a total effective rate of just 50%.

    The results of this study indicate that acupuncture combined with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan herbal formula may provide an effective treatment for tinnitus due to liver and kidney yin deficiency. This combined treatment offers superior results when compared with hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Overall, the high ineffective rate indicates that patients need to be advised that results vary significantly.

    Gan Mei (2019) “Clinical Observation on Treatment of Tinnitus with Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency by Acupuncture Combined with Liu Wei Di Huang Pill,” Journal of Practical Traditional Chinese Medicine Vol.35 (2) p. 160.

    Source: HealthCMI

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  • It’s a perfect year for fungi foragers… if you can dodge the killers Wednesday October 23rd, 2019
    • Hours of autumn sunshine after months of rain means that the fields are full
    • Fungi are also extremely beneficial for the survival of their surrounding plants 
    • They may look harmless but Britain is home to plenty of deadly specimens too 

    Hours of autumn sunshine after months of rain means that fields and woods are full of numerous varieties of mushroom. It’s the perfect weather for foraging.

    Not that my grandpa would have called it by such a highfalutin word. Like countless people who grew up between the world wars, he simply went mushroom picking.

    The notion of paying ten quid for a tiny tray of girolles or chunky porcini in a posh supermarket would have horrified him. All those delicious mushrooms outdoors were waiting to be scooped up for free. Letting them go to waste was downright immoral.

    Grandpa would have been in his element this autumn. On a recent expedition carried out by the Fungus Conservation Trust (FGT), 102 different varieties were identified in the course of two hours’ foraging at just one country estate, Hestercombe in Somerset — a record-breaking haul.

    Among the rarities was the octopus stinkhorn, also known as Devil’s Fingers, a fungus that looks like a lost starfish.

    Michael Jordan, head of the FGT, called this cornucopia ‘a significant flush . . . brought on by the ideal summer and autumn weather’.

    But though 102 varieties might sound a lot, it’s a tiny fraction of the 15,000 types of fungus found in the UK. And thanks to this year’s perfect weather conditions, the Royal Horticultural Society says that more are on show than at any time for years.

    And this isn’t just good news for foragers. Fungi are also extremely beneficial for the survival of surrounding plants.

    When plants die, fungi help them decompose, recycling the dead plants’ carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen into nutrients for other plants and insects. But mushrooms are, of course, striking in their own right.

    Among recent surprising sights was a large common stinkhorn at Birkheads Secret Gardens in Newcastle, a huge fungus so phallic that one visitor made a complaint.

    True, the common stinkhorn has a foul smell, as its name suggests, but that’s probably not what offended the visitor’s delicate sensibilities. (Let it be noted that, in his Generall Historie Of Plants, written in 1597, botanist John Gerard listed the stinkhorn as the ‘pricke mushroom’. Charming.)

    Many more attractive fungi have been truffled up by mushroom hunters this autumn. They include the verdigris agaric, its brilliant green sheen radiant at Hyde Hall in Essex, and a puffball bigger than a human head, at Wisley in Surrey.

    The verdigris agaric, which pops up on mulch and compost heaps, is so little studied that experts can’t even agree on whether it’s poisonous. So if you see one, definitely don’t risk it.

    At Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, two rare, brightly coloured examples have been found: the scarlet caterpillar club fungus and the orange peel fungus. The caterpillar club is one of nature’s most macabre plants: it grows out of the underground bodies of moth pupae.

    My grandpa, who died aged 94 in 2008, would not have dared to pick caterpillar clubs, let alone verdigris agaric. He collected only what he had learned as a boy to be safe. Growing up on the North Downs, he first went picking with his mother, a born countrywoman.

    By the time I came along in the Sixties, he was living in suburban London, outside Croydon, where wild mushrooms had largely disappeared.

    The golden rule with mushrooms, of course, is never to eat them unless you are completely confident that what you’ve found is edible. Swallow the wrong sort and you could suffer diarrhoea, sweating, drooling and stomach cramps — and that’s a best-case scenario. They may look harmless but Britain is home to plenty of deadly specimens.

    My advice, then, if you’re inspired to go in search of these natural wonders is look but don’t eat.

    For if the frightening fungi on the right are anything to go by, pick the wrong mushroom and it could be your last.


    Death Cap: This plain whitish mushroom, with a zombie-like pallor to its cap, is the biggest fungal killer in the world, and it’s widespread in the UK. Eating just half a mushroom can be fatal. Severe abdominal pains set in after six hours, followed by liver and renal failure. Grows throughout the autumn on the ground in woods with broad-leaved trees such as oak and beech.

    Destroying Angel: This ghostly white mushroom is more lethal than the death cap. Just one of these in a bowl of soup is said to be potent enough to kill anyone who has a spoonful, and there is no known antidote. The chief toxin, alpha-amanitin, keeps circulating through the body, causing more damage with every pass.

    Fool’s Webcap: It may look nutty and nourishing, but eating this mushroom can be deadly — and it has no antidote. Its victims feel fine for the first three days after eating it — but then flu-like symptoms set in, followed by raging thirst and kidney failure. After consuming this fungus, which has a slight smell of a radish, the best you can hope for is a kidney transplant.

    Panther Cap: This pox-crusted fungus is fiercely poisonous, as many foragers have discovered when they mistook it for the much flatter edible blusher mushroom. Found under oak and beech trees. Under its cap are thin papery spokes called gills. Sometimes fatal, a person can expect to experience intense sickness and extremely vivid hallucinations.

    Funeral Bell: Growing on rotting conifer stumps, its toasted brown cap has gills underneath radiating from its stem. Looks dangerously similar to the brown stew fungus, which is edible. Virulently poisonous.

    Angel’s Wings: These delicate and fragile mushrooms grow on old pine stumps and are popular in Japan, even though they were linked to 55 cases of food poisoning and 17 deaths in one year. They produce an amino acid that attacks the brain cells, and causes acute encephalopathy, a severe brain disease.

    Fool’s Funnel: Also known as ‘the sweating mushroom’, it grows on lawns and meadows, meaning it is often confused with the edible Scotch bonnet. While eating it is rarely fatal, in large doses it causes abdominal pain, sickness, diarrhoea and blurred vision.

    Devil’s Bolete: With its striking red pores, this stands out on chalky soil. Poisonous, particularly when eaten raw, and causes severe diarrhoea and stomach pain.

    Source: Daily Mail

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  • Poor toilet hygiene behind E. coli superbug spread – BBC News Wednesday October 23rd, 2019

    People not washing their hands after going to the toilet, rather than undercooked meat, is behind the spread of a key strain of E. coli.

    Experts looked at thousands of blood, faecal and food samples.

    They found human-to-human transmission was responsible – “faecal particles from one person reaching the mouth of another”.

    Public Health England said hand-washing and good hygiene were key to preventing the spread of infections.

    There are many different strains of E. coli. Most are harmless but some can cause serious illness.

    Antibiotic-resistant E. coli is increasingly common. Strains which have ‘Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBLs) – enzymes that destroy penicillin and another antibiotic, cephalosporin – are causing particular concern.

    E. coli is the most common cause of blood poisoning, accounting for about one third of cases in the UK, with ESBL strains accounting for around 10% of those – around 5,000 a year

    ‘Little crossover’

    In the study, published in Lancet: Infectious Diseases, the team analysed 20,000 human faecal samples and 300 blood samples plus hundreds of sewage samples, animal slurry and meats including beef, pork and chicken – as well fruit and salad.

    One strain – ST131 – was seen in the majority of human samples from all three sources. It is found in the gut but can, usually via urinary tract infections, cause serious infections.

    However, the strains found in meat, cattle and animal slurry were mostly different.

    Prof David Livermore, from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, who led the research, said: “Critically – there’s little crossover between strains from humans, chickens and cattle.

    “Rather – and unpalatably – the likeliest route of transmission for ESBL-E. coli is directly from human to human, with faecal particles from one person reaching the mouth of another.”

    He said maintaining food hygiene was still important – people should handle raw meat carefully, not least because there are other strains of food-poisoning bacteria that come through the food chain.

    But he added: “Here – in the case of ESBL-E. coli – it’s much more important to wash your hands after going to the toilet.

    “It’s particularly important to have good hygiene in care homes, as most of the severe E. coli infections occur among the elderly, and people may need help going to the toilet.”

    Prof Neil Woodford, of Public Health England, said: “In order to tackle antibiotic resistance, we not only need to drive down inappropriate prescribing, but reduce infections in the first place.

    “In order to limit serious, antibiotic resistant E. coli bloodstream infections, we must focus on thorough hand-washing and good infection control, as well as the effective management of urinary tract infections.”

    Source: BBC

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