Is sepsis the real killer?

According to research conducted by scientists at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, sepsis is labeled “a major cause of death” because nearly 250,000 deaths in the US are attributed to it annually. Yet the sepsis infection, a common condition that circulates in hospital intensive care units, is much less deadly than the ensuing inflammation disorder.

Rutgers immunologist Luis Ulloa noted, “They die because of the inflammatory disorder they develop after the infection. So we hoped to study how to control the inflammatory disorder.”

How can inflammation be controlled?

Borrowing a page from Eastern medicine, Western physicians are investigating the benefits of acupuncture.

Acupuncture generally works by stimulation. The practitioner stimulates various, specific nerves in a person’s body by pressing a number of tiny needles into the skin.

Since it is already known that stimulating the body’s major nerve, the vagus nerve, activates a process of inflammation reduction, researchers were interested in whether sepsis-related inflammation would be affected.

Their primary interest centered on the use of electroacupuncture, which sends small amounts of electricity through the nerves, on sepsis-infected mice.

Would inflammation and organ injury be reduced?

Half of septic mice live longer with electroacupuncture.

·     The good news: Researchers discovered that, though all the researched mice died, the rate of survival increased for half of the septic mice by a week.

This demonstrated that by increasing the current, the effect of needle placement was improved. Electroacupuncture on septic mice stimulated inflammation-reducing cytokines.

·      The bad news: Further investigation revealed that removal of the hormone producing adrenal glands eliminates the effectiveness of electroacupuncture.

Unfortunately, sepsis damages adrenal function in many patients, therefore many would not benefit from electroacupuncture.

Study Provides Key information

·      Scientist found that electroacupuncture raised levels of immune boosting dopamine. Though dopamine alone doesn’t affect sepsis. fenoldopam, a drug which mimics dopamine, was discovered to reduce sepsis-related deaths by 40%.

·      Acupuncture has been shown to improve Crohn’s disease and arthritis.

·      The study created new avenues for research regarding acupuncture and sepsis-drug treatments.

Read the full article here: Acupuncture ‘could treat inflammation and save lives’ – Medical News Today