Acupuncture might treat alcohol addiction, rat study finds

  06 September 2019    Read: 1286
Acupuncture might treat alcohol addiction, rat study finds

Lab animals are used in all sorts of bizarre experiments, but a new study this week is definitely one for the scrapbook. 

A team of researchers in Korea and the U.S. got rats addicted to alcohol, then attempted to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms using acupuncture. And according to their data, the treatment was fairly successful. But there’s more than a few reasons to be sceptical of acupuncture’s healing power when it comes to addiction, says Gizmodo.

According to the study, published in Science Advances on Wednesday, the researchers first trained rats to use a lever that would give them water laced with alcohol. Then they got half the rats hooked on alcohol by feeding it to them for 16 days, while the other half served as a control. The next day, the rats were left without alcohol for two hours, enough time for them to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including tremors and anxiety. Some of the rats were then given acupuncture, getting a tiny needle placed in their wrist—a position called Shen Men, Heart 7, or HT7 by practitioners.

The authors found that the alcohol-dependent rats given acupuncture at HT7 were less likely to experience withdrawal symptoms than those not given it; they also fed themselves less alcohol when they later had the opportunity to do so.

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