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Wednesday February 7, 2001

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Researchers attempt to pin down depression

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Acupuncture about as effective as therapy, drugs, specialist says

Two years after researchers discovered that acupuncture alleviates symptoms of depression in women, UA psychologists have launched a wider study of the ancient Chinese procedure and its effect on patients.

The promising results of the first small study encouraged the researchers to look more closely at whether acupuncture can be used along with traditional treatments - such as psychotherapy and drugs - to lighten the often-debilitating effects of depression, a condition that afflicts one in five women.

"We found that individually tailored acupuncture treatment for depression provided relief of symptoms in about 75 percent of the women we treated, which is comparable to psychotherapy or medication," said Rosa Schnyer, acupuncturist and principal research specialist in the UA psychology department.

The University of Arizona study, published in the journal American Psychological Society, consisted of 33 women diagnosed with mild to moderate depression.

Because of the small number of test subjects in the first study, the UA team's findings were not conclusive, Schnyer said.

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