Project: Research project

Grant Details


Severe depression is an unfortunately common condition, especially among
women, and one which for many persons have sought alternative treatments.
This may reflect that for many persons depression is a chronic or
episodic rather than an acute condition, one for which conventional
treatments fail to provide full or lasting remission. The efficacy of the
alternative treatments that persons seek for the symptoms of depression
has not been empirically assessed. This proposal presents a preliminary,
yet controlled, study to test the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment
for unipolar depression in women. This interdisciplinary collaborative
project involves the principal collaboration between a faculty member
from the psychology department at the University of Arizona and the
Director of and acupuncturist for the Kwan Yin Center for the Healing
Arts. Additional collaborators include another faculty member from the
department of psychology, a medical doctor affiliated with the University
of Arizona Medical Center, and four local acupuncturists who will serve
as consultants. The project involves assessing depression from the
perspectives of both Western and Chinese medicine, and developing
treatment plans according to the principles of Chinese medicine that
accommodate each individual's specific pattern of disharmony.
Additionally, these individually-tailored treatments will consider the
phase of the menstrual cycle as an important determinant of the selected
treatment points. The main objective of the study is to determine if the
efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment depression is substantial enough
to warrant a large-scale clinical trial. Specifically, there are four
objectives: a) to evaluate the efficacy as well as the clinical
significance of acupuncture as a treatment for symptoms of unipolar
depression; b) to evaluate the comparative efficacy of individually-
tailored acupuncture treatments relative to treatment using a set of
points nonspecific to depression and relative to a wait-list control
group; c) to assess stability of or changes in electroencephalographic
asymmetries as a function of treatment; and d) to compare Western and
Chinese medicine-based diagnostic procedures to identify those patterns
of disharmony that are subsumed under the diagnosis of unipolar
Effective start/end date9/30/939/29/95


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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