Research: STOCKERT and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 141

Abstract

STOCKERT and colleagues, Austrian Society for Acupuncture, Huglgasse 1-3, Vienna, Austria, have investigated links between the function of the digestive system and asthma in children.

Background

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) postulates an interaction between the lung as a Yin-organ and the large intestine as a Yang-organ. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate in asthmatic school age children whether treatment with laser acupuncture and probiotics according to TCM portends a clinical benefit to standard medical care.

Methodology

17 children aged 6-12 years with intermittent or mild persistent asthma were enrolled in this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot study. 8 patients received laser acupuncture for 10 weeks and probiotic treatment in the form of oral drops (living non-pathogenic Enterococcus faecalis) for 7 weeks. 9 patients in the control group were treated with a laser pen which did not emit laser light and were given placebo drops. Peak flow variability and forced expiratory volume in 1 second were measured and Quality of Life was assessed by a standardized questionnaire.

Results

Laser Acupuncture and probiotics significantly decreased mean weekly Peak Flow Variability as a measurement of bronchial hyperreactivity by -17.4% in the TCM group compared to 2.2% in the control group (p = 0.034). No significant effect was detected for Forced Expiratory Volume or Quality of Life criteria. As an exploratory result, patients in the TCM group had fewer days of acute febrile infections when compared with the control group [1.14 vs. 2.66 , p = 0.18].

Conclusion

It would appear that the interactive treatment of lung and large intestine according to TCM has a beneficial effect on bronchial hyperreactivity in school age children with asthma and might be helpful in the prevention of acute respiratory exacerbations. These results should however be confirmed by further studies.

References

Stockert K et al. Laser acupuncture and probiotics in school age children with asthma: a randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study of therapy guided by principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Pediatric Allergy & Immunology 18 (2): 160-6, Mar 2007.

Comment

The above research demonstrates a positive effect of TCM interactive treatment of lung and large intestine upon bronchial hyperreactivity in children.

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