SEOUL, June 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Researchers from the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine said Thursday that they had discovered evidence through a series of animal experiments indicating that acupuncture helps overcome depression.
Rats suffering from depression were divided into three groups, with one group receiving no medical treatment and the other receiving acupuncture.
The third group received ‘fake’ acupuncture treatment in which the needles were injected into ‘fake’ acupuncture points.
The results showed that the untreated group demonstrated depressive behavior, which involved lack of movement.
As for the group that received acupuncture, however, the moving distance of rats in the open space increased by 36 percent, and their behavioral response to bury marbles underground also jumped by 76 percent, indicating lower levels of depression.
The ‘fake’ acupuncture group, on the other hand, showed no meaningful change.
The acupuncture group demonstrated change in the liver’s lipidomics, in which highly unsaturated lipids that shrank due to depression recovered, and the liver’s aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels improved by 32 percent.
AST is an enzyme found in cells throughout the body but mostly in the heart and liver.
Inflammatory factors related to depression, including ‘IL-1β’, ‘TNF-α’, and ‘COX-2′ were reduced, particularly in the spleen, which is in charge of the body’s overall immune system, where these factors dropped by more than 40 percent.
The body’s response to leptin, a type of hormone that causes depression and affects the liver’s lipid metabolism, was much higher among the acupuncture group than the untreated group.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)