Medical Orient Express (Sept-Oct 2023)

1. Auricular Acupuncture Appears to Improve Patient Blood Sugar Control in Type 2 Diabetes

OBJECTIVE: Although type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major health epidemic, little research on auricular acupuncture for reducing blood glucose levels has been published. In Guatemala, where this study was conducted, the prevalence of T2DM is high and access to care is limited. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if an auricular acupuncture protocol could be a feasible, effective treatment for reducing blood glucose, thus offering another potential accessible treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Utilizing a self-controlled design approach, 28 participants diagnosed with T2DM were recruited and received 2 weeks of treatment consisting of a set protocol of 5 points in each ear. Pre- and post-treatment surveys were used to assess patients’ health status, treatment expectations, and quality of life. Paired t-tests were used to measure pre- to post-treatment glucose levels.

RESULTS: Treatment produced significant reduction in the patients’ fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels, averaging 45.35 (n = 19; P = 0.014) and 109.45 points (n = 10; P = 0.008), respectively. Surveys indicated that all participants would be interested in using the treatment again to help manage their blood glucose.

CONCLUSIONS: An auricular protocol may provide a low-cost, effective treatment for lowering blood glucose in patients with T2DM. The results of this study are promising, suggesting that further investigation is warranted.

Joan Boccino. Auricular Acupuncture for Lowering Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Study. Med Acupunct. 2023 Aug 1;35(4):186-194. doi: 10.1089/acu.2023.0022. Epub 2023 Aug 14.


2. A Well-Known TCM Herbal Formula, YuPingFengSan, is Non-Inferior to the Immunostimulant, Pidotimod, in Reducing Respiratory Frequency and Symptomology in Children with Recurrent Respiratory Tract Infection

IMPORTANCE: Recurrent respiratory tract infection (RRTI) is common in children. Inappropriate RRTI treatment will lead to asthma and other diseases, thereby seriously affecting the growth and physical health of children. Immune function modulation can prevent and alleviate childhood RRTI. Yupingfeng (YPF), a patented traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has immunomodulatory effects and is widely used in China to treat children with RRTI.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of YPF monotherapy in treating children with RRTI.

METHODS: This multicenter, randomized, double‐blind, double‐simulation, noninferiority clinical trial was conducted from January 2015 to August 2017, with an 8‐week treatment period and 52‐week follow‐up after the drug withdrawal. Children aged 2–6 years with RRTI meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria were enrolled in 13 hospitals in China and divided randomly into three groups (2:2:1 ratio) to receive YPF, pidotimod, or placebo.

The primary outcome was the proportion of RRTI returning to normal standard level during the follow‐up. The secondary outcomes were reduction in the number of RRTI recurrences, effect on clinical symptoms (in accord with TCM practice), effect per symptom, and safety. The trial was registered at the Chinese Clinical Trials Registry ( under the unique identifier ChiCTR‐IPR‐15006847.

RESULTS: Three hundred and fifty‐one children were enrolled and randomly assigned to 3 groups; 124, 125, and 61 children in the YPF, pidotimod, and placebo groups, respectively, had completed the trial. During the follow‐up, the proportion of RRTI returning to normal standard level was 73.13%, 67.15%, and 38.81% with YPF, pidotimod, and placebo, respectively (P < 0.0001). The proportion of cases who returned to normal standard level in the YPF group was 34.32% higher than that in the placebo group. The safety profile did not significantly differ among the groups.

INTERPRETATION: YPF granules were noninferior to the active control drug pidotimod oral solution for the treatment of RRTI in children, and were superior to placebo, with a high safety profile.

Xu BP, et al. Safety and efficacy of Yupingfeng granules in children with recurrent respiratory tract infection: A randomized clinical trial. Pediatr Investig. 2022 Jun; 6(2): 75–84. Published online 2022 Jun 2. doi: 10.1002/ped4.12326