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Health Info Newsletter October 21, 2015:: Credit/Debit, Insomnia, Atrial Fibrillation


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I have covered many subjects in the past years.  If you have a health concern start with a search in the search box on the upper right corner.  If you need further assistance contact me, I have great sources of information.


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Acupressure Improves Sleep Among Menopausal Women


By MASSAGE Magazine October 1, 2015


To complement the Research Reports in the October 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: In a recent study, self-administered acupressure significantly improved sleep quality among menopausal women experiencing sleep difficulties.


The consistent use of acupressure, applied at home as a self-care technique, resulted in a significant improvement in sleep quality among menopausal women, according to recent research.


The study, “The effect of acupressure on sleep quality in menopausal women: a randomized control trial,” involved 120 menopausal women ranging in age from 41 to 65, with a score higher than five on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.


The women were randomly assigned to either the acupressure group, the sham acupressure group or the control group. Those in the acupressure and sham acupressure groups were trained to use circular massage covering about one centimeter in diameter on specified points with about three to four kilograms of pressure. The women in the control group had a health-based conversation once a week. 


Acupressure techniques assigned


Subjects in the acupressure and sham acupressure groups were asked to perform the techniques at home for 10 minutes two hours before going to sleep. They were instructed to do so every night except Fridays for four weeks in a row.


According to the researchers, women in the acupressure group were trained to massage four acupoints: Shenmen on the wrist crease; Sanyinjiao point (SP6) on both feet; Fengchi on the hairline at the back of the neck (occipital area); and Yintang at the top of the nose on the centerline between the eyebrows. Women in the sham acupressure group were instructed to massage four sham acupoints. 


( You can find the points with these instructions.....Shenmen On the front of the wrist toward the inner end of the wrist crease just inside of the small prominent bone, Sanyinjiao three fingers above the inner ankle bone behind the tibia, Fengchi in the soft spot at the back of the neck, one and a half fingers from the midline and just below the margin of the skull bone, Yintang at the midpoint between the inner ends of the eyebrows. Find the most tender spot in the area and massage the point until the sensation reduces)


The results


The main outcome measure for this study was sleep quality, as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Results of the research showed a significant improvement in sleep quality among the women in both the acupressure group and the sham acupressure group as compared to the control group. However, the improvement in sleep quality was much greater among women in the acupressure group as compared to the sham acupressure group.


“The total improvement of [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score] in comparison to baseline was 41 percent in the acupressure group and 17 percent in the sham acupressure group,” stated the study’s authors.The researchers concluded that acupressure is effective when it comes to improving sleep quality among menopausal women.


Nick's comment:  Even though this study was done with menopausal women the treatment can be used by anyone and at any age.


About the Authors


Authors: Zahra Abedian, Leila Eskandari, Hamid Abdi and Saeed Ebrahimzadeh.


Sources: Evidence-Based Care Research Centre, Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sheikh Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran; Health Center, Semnan University of Medical Science, Semnan, Iran. Originally published in the July 2015 issue of the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, 40(4), 328-334.



Coenzyme Q10 and atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition in which the smaller chamber of the heart does not beat regularly, but merely quivers with no rhythmic contraction. This leads to reduced heart function, but because the atrial beat contributes only about 20 percent of the blood to the left ventricle (the rest passes passively through the mitral valve) it is usually not a debilitating condition. However, because the chamber is not contracting, the blood is more likely to coagulate while collecting in the intricate channels of the atrial wall. For this reason, patients who are in persistent AF are usually put on anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or some of the newer agents used for the same purpose, to prevent a dislodged clot from causing a stroke or other tissue damage.

Patients with heart failure often develop AF, and they may be at a higher risk of more severe cardiac arrhythmias, depending on the severity of their heart failure. In a new study, 102 heart failure patients were given either a combination of the usual heart failure drugs with a placebo, or the same drugs plus a daily supplement of 30 mg of coenzyme Q10. The subjects included 72 men and 30 women aged 45 to 82 years. They were evaluated at the start of the study by electrocardiogram, Holter monitor for 24 hours, and blood levels of inflammatory substances that are markers for heart risks. They were then evaluated again after 6 months and 12 months.

At both follow-up evaluations, those subjects in the coenzyme Q10 treatment group had a significantly lower incidence of AF. At 12 months, the incidence of AF was 6.3 percent in the group treated with coenzyme Q10, compared with 22.2 percent in the control group. The heart muscle function (ejection fraction) was significantly better in the treatment group (24 percent increase) at both follow-up evaluations compared to the control group (19 percent increase). In addition, the inflammatory markers were markedly lower in the coenzyme Q10 treatment group than in the controls. For example, the decline in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in the medication-only group was 20 percent, but in the coQ10 group the decline was 40 percent. (Zhao Q, et al., Effect of coenzyme q10 on the incidence of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. J Investig Med. 2015 Jun;63(5):735-9.)

Practical guidelines:

Coenzyme Q10 is essential for energy production in muscle cells, and the heart requires more than any other muscle. Levels are often too low in heart patients, and treatment with statin drugs can lower it further. The dose of coenzyme Q10 in this study was very low compared to typical treatment levels (30 mg as opposed to 100 to 400 mg, or even higher in heart patients with more severe disease).

It is easy to design a study to fail, and I am surprised that this study showed such statistically significant benefits with such a small dose and with a relatively small group of subjects. In the citations found with this study, only one article gives the specific dose of coenzyme Q10, and in that one the dose averaged 100 mg per day, so I am surprised that they chose to treat with only 30 mg. My recommendation is a dose of 100 to 200 mg per day (I take 400 mg) and ubiquinol (the reduced form) is likely to be better than the more common ubiquinone (the oxidized form), although this is converted in the body to ubiquinol.

Nick's Comment:  Another treatment is using a mixture of Lecithin and vitamin B5 which helps increase the neurotransmitter that regulates heart rate.

Read the article about this treatment here