Advances in Integrative Medicine: Complementary Approaches and Therapies in Global Healthcare

A project collection of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This project collection belongs to the section "Health Assessments".

Papers displayed on this page all arise from the same project. Editorial decisions were made independently of project staff and handled by the Editor-in-Chief or qualified Editorial Board members.

Viewed by 49859

Editors


E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Aquatic Production, Laboratory of Apllied Physiology, Biomedical Sciences Institute of Abel Salazar, Porto University (ICBAS-UP), Jorge Ferreira Viterbo Street, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Interests: biomedical sciences; global and integrative health; complementary therapy development; extracellular superconductor transmission; supplementary nutrition and natural diet; physical and respiratory movements; clinical trials; medicine advances on artificial and biological intelligence integration; biomineralization of biosynthetic membranes; calcification physiology mechanisms in mollusks

E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Toxicology Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences, Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Politécnico e Universitário-CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal
Interests: global and integrative health; complementary therapy development; supplementary nutrition and natural diet; clinical trials; human genetics; platelet activation; thrombosis and hemostasis

Project Overview

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, diagnostic and therapeutic systems in addition to methods to safeguard sustainable public and individual health are no longer compatible with isolated/closed or even prejudiced structures, mechanisms, and processes. Several external or internal factors to the human being interfere in a transversal and complex way, forcing new concepts and technical–scientific methodologies in order to overcome somatic or mental imbalances.

Thus, it is increasingly observed that psychic and physical or biopsychosomatic human well-being is a final result of several interactions from environmental agents in confrontation with the immunological and neurological response capacity of internal components. This state of affairs sometimes calls, whenever possible, for expeditious, simple, and natural methods, since access to healthcare is sometimes expensively unnecessary. Therefore, we can say that we need to build more flexible approaches, in addition to agile, reliable, and transversal health approaches for everyone.

In this context, we are sufficiently motivated and proud to invite skilled scientists with an interest in global and integrative healthcare to present their studies in peer-reviewed papers in our Collection Project. Cross-disciplinary research will be important in the future. This issue will be open for all possible topics related to global health, e.g., reproductive health, occupational health, “forgotten health problems”, child and adolescent health, and infectious and chronic diseases, such as cancer, COVID-19 infection, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic, neurodegenerative, and immunodeficiency diseases. Thus, approaches on acupuncture effects, phytotherapy, decoctions, nutritional or dietetic supplements, Asian or Western physical and breathing exercises, as well as in silico intelligence medicine studies using bioresonance integrators are welcome.

The journal has excellent reviewers and adequate research specialists, with a rapidly increasing impact as well as a quick and thorough review process. Thus, you are welcome to join us in this interesting Project Collection. 

Dr. Jorge P. Machado
Prof. Dr. Maria Begoña Criado
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomedical sciences
  • global healthcare
  • integrative health
  • complementary therapy development
  • phytotherapy
  • acupuncture
  • chronic and infectious disease
  • nutrition and dietetic supplements
  • biological–artificial intelligence integration
  • physical and breathing exercises

Published Papers (21 papers)

2023

Jump to: 2022

15 pages, 2230 KiB  
Systematic Review
Acupuncture Improves Sleep Disorders and Depression among Patients with Parkinson’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis
by Wei-Ti Hsu, Chieh-Min Hsu, Shao-Chi Hung and Shih-Ya Hung
Healthcare 2023, 11(14), 2042; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11142042 - 17 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1651
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with a range of non-motor symptoms that lack effective treatments. Acupuncture is a popular alternative therapy for PD patients that has been shown to improve motor symptoms. However, the efficacy of acupuncture in treating non-motor symptoms has remained [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with a range of non-motor symptoms that lack effective treatments. Acupuncture is a popular alternative therapy for PD patients that has been shown to improve motor symptoms. However, the efficacy of acupuncture in treating non-motor symptoms has remained controversial. The goal of our study was to systematically assess the existing evidence for acupuncture’s efficacy in treating PD non-motor symptoms of sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. We conducted a meta-analysis of clinical trials by searching Pubmed, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science as electronic databases to evaluate acupuncture treatment for PD non-motor symptoms. Thirteen clinical trials met our inclusion criteria, and their methodological quality was assessed using the modified Jadad scale, indicating a moderate overall quality. Our results showed that acupuncture improved PD-related sleep disorders and depression but had no effect on anxiety and fatigue. Our meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture can be used as a complementary treatment for sleep disturbances and depression in PD patients and may exhibit a dual therapeutic effect on motor and non-motor symptoms. However, further well-designed clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these findings. Overall, our study highlights the potential of acupuncture as a viable complementary therapy for the treatment of PD non-motor symptoms of sleep disorders and depression, which can improve the quality of life of PD patients. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 778 KiB  
Article
Spanish Cross-Cultural Adaptation and Validation of Neck Bournemouth Questionnaire (NBQ) for Neck Pain Patients
by Juan José Pérez-García, Guadalupe Molina-Torres, María Isabel Ventura-Miranda, Irene Sandoval-Hernández, María Dolores Ruiz-Fernández, Jesús Martínez-Cal and Manuel Gonzalez-Sanchez
Healthcare 2023, 11(13), 1926; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11131926 - 03 Jul 2023
Viewed by 734
Abstract
Background: Neck pain is highly prevalent and one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions. Instruments that measure the factors involved in neck pain accurately are needed for clinical assessment. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are reliable, cost-effective, and specific tools for the assessment of [...] Read more.
Background: Neck pain is highly prevalent and one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions. Instruments that measure the factors involved in neck pain accurately are needed for clinical assessment. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are reliable, cost-effective, and specific tools for the assessment of musculoskeletal problems at different moments. The Neck Bournemouth Questionnaire (NBQ) assesses pain, function, disability, and psychological and social variables in patients with cervical pathologies. The aim of this study was to perform an adaptation and validation into Spanish of the NBQ (NBQ-Sp). Methods: A cross-sectional, observational study was carried out through translation, adaptation, and validation. A total of 129 patients with neck pain, of Spanish nationality, and over 18 years of age were included. Results: The NBQ-Sp showed excellent internal consistency, with Cronbach’s α of 0.897, test–retest reliability with interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.866, and standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimum detectable change (MDC) values were 1.302 and 3.038, respectively. A Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value of 0.857 was obtained, and Bartlett’s test yielded p < 0.001, finding one factor in the factor analysis. Conclusion: The NBQ-Sp has proven to be a valid and reliable tool for clinicians and researchers to measure neck pain in the Spanish population. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 996 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of Acupuncture on Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients Receiving Maintenance Hemodialysis
by Marta Correia de Carvalho, José Nunes de Azevedo, Pedro Azevedo, Carlos Pires, Jorge Pereira Machado and Manuel Laranjeira
Healthcare 2023, 11(9), 1355; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11091355 - 08 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1371
Abstract
Patients with kidney failure (KF) receiving maintenance hemodialysis (HD) experience numerous symptoms that impair their health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and contribute to high mortality rates. Acupuncture is often used for symptom enhancement and HRQOL. This blinded, randomized, controlled patient-assessor trial evaluated the [...] Read more.
Patients with kidney failure (KF) receiving maintenance hemodialysis (HD) experience numerous symptoms that impair their health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and contribute to high mortality rates. Acupuncture is often used for symptom enhancement and HRQOL. This blinded, randomized, controlled patient-assessor trial evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture on patients’ HRQOL receiving maintenance HD as a secondary analysis. Seventy-two participants were randomly assigned to verum acupuncture (VA), sham acupuncture (SA), or waiting-list (WL) groups. The outcome was an improvement in HRQOL, assessed using the Kidney Disease Quality of Life—Short Form, version 1.3 (KDQOL-SF™ v1.3) at baseline, after treatment, and at 12-week follow-up. Non-parametric tests were used for statistical analysis. Of the 72 randomized patients, 67 were included in the complete analysis set. As for the changes between baseline and after treatment, the VA group showed significantly increased scores on most of the KDQOL-SF™ v1.3 scales compared to SA or WL groups (p < 0.05). No statistically significant differences between groups were observed in the changes from baseline to follow-up (p > 0.05). Compared to the sham treatment, acupuncture improved the HRQOL in patients receiving maintenance HD after treatment but not at follow-up. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 1247 KiB  
Article
Can Acupuncture Improve the Flexibility of Hamstring Muscles? A Randomized, Blinded, and Controlled Pilot Study
by Rui Miguel Carvalho, Jorge Machado, Maria João Santos and Luís Carlos Matos
Healthcare 2023, 11(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11040490 - 08 Feb 2023
Viewed by 3645
Abstract
(1) Background: The lack of flexibility is frequently reported as a risk factor for hamstring muscle damage. Acupuncture, a therapeutic tool of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), may play a role in both treatment and prevention by improving muscle strength, microcirculation, and reducing muscle [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The lack of flexibility is frequently reported as a risk factor for hamstring muscle damage. Acupuncture, a therapeutic tool of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), may play a role in both treatment and prevention by improving muscle strength, microcirculation, and reducing muscle soreness. The primary objective of this pilot study was to examine the immediate effects of acupuncture on hamstring muscle stretching and on the pain or discomfort reported during stretching. (2) Methods: To mitigate heterogeneity effects, and due to the small sample size, the study employed a crossover design in which each participant was tested at three different moments of the experimental period with verum (true acupuncture in selected acupoints), sham (fake acupuncture in zones of the skin not corresponding to any known acupoint but near the selected acupoints), and placebo (stimulation of the selected acupoints with a stainless steel wire and cannula, without puncturing) stimulations. Flexibility and pain or discomfort were assessed using the seat and reach test (SR) and a visual analogic scale (VAS). (3) Results: Significant changes in flexibility were observed after verum acupuncture (p = 0.03), while no significant changes were seen in sham and placebo (p = 0.86 and p = 0.18, respectively). No significant differences were found in pain or discomfort during any of the stimulations (verum, p = 0.55; sham, p = 0.50; placebo, p = 0.58). (4) Conclusions: The results of this pilot study suggest that acupuncture may improve flexibility in the hamstring muscles, though it does not significantly affect pain or discomfort during stretching. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

6 pages, 1126 KiB  
Brief Report
Can Qigong Be a Tool to Assist Students in Handling COVID-19’s Resulting Academic Stress?
by Mário Gonçalves, Leonel Duarte, Jorge Magalhães Rodrigues, Henry Johannes Greten and Jorge Machado
Healthcare 2023, 11(3), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11030307 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1456
Abstract
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has increased students’ stress as they may feel under increased pressure to have a good performance and compensate for the disruption to their education. Improving attention levels and learning capacity may assist in ameliorating academic performance. Qigong is a [...] Read more.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has increased students’ stress as they may feel under increased pressure to have a good performance and compensate for the disruption to their education. Improving attention levels and learning capacity may assist in ameliorating academic performance. Qigong is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that appears to have positive effects on the management of mental health and may provide tools for coping with stressful situations. This paper explores data obtained while conducting a previous study and includes an excess of data from a total of 44 participants who were previously divided into an experimental Qigong group and a sham Qigong control group. The improvements in specific auditory processing and reaction times may indicate benefits in attention and learning capacity. These improvements were more pronounced in the experimental Qigong group compared to the sham Qigong group. Qigong may be able to assist in improving students’ academic performance and can be easily integrated into physical education classes. It could also assist students to cope with the increased academic pressure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic context. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

2022

Jump to: 2023

7 pages, 261 KiB  
Review
A Narrative Review of Current Striae Treatments
by Nuno Mendes, Paulo Jorge Alves, Mafalda Barros, Jorge Magalhães Rodrigues and Jorge Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2565; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122565 - 17 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3477
Abstract
Striae (striae cutis distensae) are a common disfiguring skin condition, characterised by the appearance of linear bands on the skin, with an atrophic look. The striae development is still unknown, being more common in women than in men. The prevalence of [...] Read more.
Striae (striae cutis distensae) are a common disfiguring skin condition, characterised by the appearance of linear bands on the skin, with an atrophic look. The striae development is still unknown, being more common in women than in men. The prevalence of this condition ranges from 50% to 90%. Regarding treatment, there are various treatment strategies currently available for stretch marks, including topical preparations such as tretinoin and glycolic acid, and also laser. The goal of this work is to discover the main treatments available for striae management. For that, a search was performed based on the definition of specific scientific keywords, by exploring PubMed, ScienceDirect and Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde (BVS). MeSH thesaurus (Medical Subject Headings) descriptors were used. The results indicate that, to date, no treatment is fully effective. More clinical trials are needed to validate the efficacy of these therapies and their long-term use in this type of skin lesion. Full article
11 pages, 1054 KiB  
Article
Backward Walking Styles and Impact on Spatiotemporal Gait Characteristics
by Teerapapa Luecha, Shin Takesue, Wen Liang Yeoh, Ping Yeap Loh and Satoshi Muraki
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2487; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122487 - 09 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1863
Abstract
Forward walking (FW) is a common balance assessment tool. However, its sensitivity is limited by the ceiling effect. Reverse gait, such as backward walking (BW), has been reported to have more advantages than FW for balance assessment. Three factors related to postural instability [...] Read more.
Forward walking (FW) is a common balance assessment tool. However, its sensitivity is limited by the ceiling effect. Reverse gait, such as backward walking (BW), has been reported to have more advantages than FW for balance assessment. Three factors related to postural instability (i.e., increased speeds, restricted arm swing, and reduced visual feedback) during BW were investigated to determine BW conditions that have the potential to predict falls. Three-dimensional analyses were used to analyze seven walking conditions. FW and BW at self-selected and fast speeds were analyzed to identify the effects of speed. Walking with normal arm swings, crossed arms, and abducted arms during BW was tested to determine the effects of arm position. BW with closed and open eyes was compared to investigate the effects of visual feedback. BW had a significantly shorter step length than FW at high speeds. When the arms were abducted, the stance phase (%) was significantly lower compared to when arms were crossed during BW. Moreover, BW with closed eyes revealed significantly higher mediolateral center of mass (COM) displacements than with open eyes. We observed that BW with fast speeds, a crossed arm position, and closed eyes has the potential to help assess fall risk because it requires higher balance ability through spatiotemporal and COM adjustment. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 1897 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Follow-Up of Intensive Integrative Treatment including Motion Style Acupuncture Treatment (MSAT) in Hospitalized Patients with Lumbar Disc Herniation: An Observational Study
by Mu-Jin Park, So-Ri Jin, Eun-Song Kim, Hyun-Seok Lee, Kyu-Hyun Hwang, Seung-Ju Oh, Jee Young Lee, Doori Kim, Yoon Jae Lee and In-Hyuk Ha
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2462; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122462 - 06 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the long-term effects of and satisfaction with integrative Korean medicine treatment and motion style acupuncture treatment (MSAT) in patients with lumbar disc herniation (LDH). We retrospectively analyzed medical charts and prospectively surveyed adult patients aged between 19 and [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the long-term effects of and satisfaction with integrative Korean medicine treatment and motion style acupuncture treatment (MSAT) in patients with lumbar disc herniation (LDH). We retrospectively analyzed medical charts and prospectively surveyed adult patients aged between 19 and 64 years treated for lumbar disc herniation for at least 6 days at three Korean hospitals from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2020. The primary outcome was the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for back pain. Secondary outcome measures included the NRS for radiating leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the European Quality of Life-5 Dimension-5 Level (EQ-5D-5L) questionnaire. The NRS scores for low back pain decreased from 5.40 ± 1.58 to 2.92 ± 2.09, NRS for radiating leg pain from 5.57 ± 1.56 to 1.78 ± 2.36, and ODI from 46.39 ± 16.72 to 16.47 ± 15.61 at baseline and survey, respectively. The EQ-5D-5L increased from 0.57 ± 0.19 to 0.82 ± 0.14. In conclusion, Korean medicine and MSAT could be effective treatment methods for patients with LDH. The results of this study can be used as helpful information for clinicians who treat patients with LDH in real clinical settings. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 634 KiB  
Review
Occupational Health: Physical Activity, Musculoskeletal Symptoms and Quality of Life in Computer Workers: A Narrative Review
by Sara Moreira, Maria Begoña Criado, Paula Clara Santos, Maria Salomé Ferreira, Carla Gonçalves and Jorge Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2457; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122457 - 05 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1897
Abstract
Computer work has assumed a very important role for many companies, but specific occupational and health symptoms associated with the use of computers can appear. According to the literature, physical activity is considered a key player in the prevention and control of work-related [...] Read more.
Computer work has assumed a very important role for many companies, but specific occupational and health symptoms associated with the use of computers can appear. According to the literature, physical activity is considered a key player in the prevention and control of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms, contributing to a better quality of life in computer workers. The principal aims of this review are to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship among sedentary behavior, physical activity and quality of life of computer workers; to outline the importance of promoting the development of an educational program for Occupational Health directed at computer workers at the level of quality of life, musculoskeletal symptoms, and physical activity; and to call for attention to the factors needed to initiate and maintain a health program that involves the active participation of workers who must be concerned about their health. This review demonstrates the important role of workplaces in health promotion and the opportunities that workplaces provide to establish and continue successful health-promotion programs for computer workers, generating important benefits for the health and quality of life of individuals and groups. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

9 pages, 1455 KiB  
Study Protocol
Fractional CO2 Laser versus Fractional Radiofrequency for Skin Striae Treatment: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
by Nuno Mendes, Paulo Jorge Alves, Mafalda Barros and Jorge Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2372; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122372 - 25 Nov 2022
Viewed by 2132
Abstract
Striae are common dermal lesions associated with physiological and psychological alterations, affecting the quality of life. This proposed randomized controlled trial protocol will evaluate the clinical efficacy and treatment safety of fractional CO2 laser versus fractional radiofrequency (FRF) in clinical trials. We [...] Read more.
Striae are common dermal lesions associated with physiological and psychological alterations, affecting the quality of life. This proposed randomized controlled trial protocol will evaluate the clinical efficacy and treatment safety of fractional CO2 laser versus fractional radiofrequency (FRF) in clinical trials. We will randomly allocate 60 subjects who present abdominal striae into two different groups for the treatment, which will be performed once a month for a 3-month period. The results will be assessed by quartile scoring criteria; by comparing digital photos taken before and after each treatment; and also, by the measurement of cutaneous temperature, skin pH, and elasticity before and after the treatment. This paper describes the rationale and the design of the randomized controlled trial, which may provide evidence for clinical application of the methodology and the quality related to the efficacy and safety of fractional CO2 laser versus the FRF protocol for striae treatment. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 2395 KiB  
Systematic Review
Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms—A Systematic Review
by Catarina Ramos Pereira, Jorge Machado, Jorge Rodrigues, Natália M. de Oliveira, Maria Begoña Criado and Henri J. Greten
Healthcare 2022, 10(11), 2334; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10112334 - 21 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3034
Abstract
Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Several pharmacological and surgical therapies have been developed; however, they are accompanied by some adverse effects. As a result, many patients have been resorting to complementary medicine, namely acupuncture, in the hope [...] Read more.
Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Several pharmacological and surgical therapies have been developed; however, they are accompanied by some adverse effects. As a result, many patients have been resorting to complementary medicine, namely acupuncture, in the hope of obtaining symptomatic improvements without having disruptive side effects. Therefore, advances in research in this area are very important. This work presents a systematic review of the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments in relieving PD symptoms. Methods: EMBASE, Medline, Pubmed, Science Direct, The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Central) and Scielo databases, were systematically searched from January 2011 through July 2021. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in English with all types of acupuncture treatment were included. The selection and analysis of the articles was conducted by two blinding authors through Rayyan application. Results: A total of 720 potentially relevant articles were identified; 52 RCTs met our inclusion criteria. After the exclusion of 35 articles, we found 17 eligible. The included RCTs reported positive effects for acupuncture plus conventional treatment compared with conventional treatment alone in the UPDRS score. Conclusions: Although all the studies reviewed pointed out a positive effect of acupuncture on improving motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease, we found great discrepancies regarding the studies’ design and methodology, making difficult any comparison between them. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 1784 KiB  
Study Protocol
Autism Spectrum as an Etiologic Systemic Disorder: A Protocol for an Umbrella Review
by Lara Teixeira Lopes, Jorge Magalhães Rodrigues, Celeste Baccarin, Kevin Oliveira, Manuela Abreu, Victor Ribeiro, Zélia Caçador Anastácio and Jorge Pereira Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(11), 2200; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10112200 - 02 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2248
Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder with a huge prevalence increasing every year (1/44 children). Still diagnosed as a mental disorder, the last 10 years of research found possible causes, risks, genetics, environmental triggers, epigenetics, metabolic, immunological, and neurophysiological [...] Read more.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder with a huge prevalence increasing every year (1/44 children). Still diagnosed as a mental disorder, the last 10 years of research found possible causes, risks, genetics, environmental triggers, epigenetics, metabolic, immunological, and neurophysiological unbalances as relevant aetiology. Umbrella methodology is the highest level of scientific evidence, designed to support clinical and political decisions. A literature search for autism aetiology, pathophysiology, or causes, conducted in the last 10 years, at PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, Scopus, and the Web of Science, resulted in six umbrella reviews. Nevertheless, only one quantitative analysis reported risk factors and biomarkers but excluded genetics, experiments on animal models, and post-mortem studies. We grouped ASD’s multi-factorial causes and risks into five etiological categories: genetic, epigenetic, organic, psychogenic, and environmental. Findings suggest that autism might be evaluated as a systemic disorder instead of only through the lens of mental and behavioural. The overview implications of included studies will be qualitatively analysed under ROBIS and GRADE tools. This umbrella review can provide a rational basis for a new urgent health policy to develop better and adequate integrated care services for ASD. The methodological protocol has the register CRD42022348586 at PROSPERO. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 1043 KiB  
Article
Effect of Acupuncture on Functional Capacity and Health-Related Quality of Life of Hemodialysis Patients: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
by Marta Correia de Carvalho, Jorge Pereira Machado, Manuel Laranjeira, José Nunes de Azevedo and Pedro Azevedo
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 2050; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10102050 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1621
Abstract
The proposed randomized controlled trial protocol will evaluate the effect of acupuncture treatment on the functional capacity (FC) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) with glomerular filtration rate (GFR) category 5 (CKG G5) patients receiving maintenance dialysis. Patients [...] Read more.
The proposed randomized controlled trial protocol will evaluate the effect of acupuncture treatment on the functional capacity (FC) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) with glomerular filtration rate (GFR) category 5 (CKG G5) patients receiving maintenance dialysis. Patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) from a dialysis center will be randomly assigned to experimental, placebo and control groups. In order to determine the difference between the same number of treatments performed three times or one treatment a week, experimental (verum acupuncture) and placebo (sham acupuncture) groups will receive a total of nine acupuncture treatments; however, both groups will be divided into subgroups A and B. The same selection of acupuncture points will be applied to both experimental subgroups and the placebo subgroups will receive acupuncture on non-acupuncture points. The results will be assessed by the 6-min Walk Test, Handgrip Test, 30-sec Sit-to-Stand and Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form and will be held at baseline, after treatment and 12 weeks post-treatment follow up. This paper describes the rationale and design for a randomized, patient-assessor blinded controlled trial, which may provide evidence for the clinical application of acupuncture in CKG G5 patients undergoing HD. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 1750 KiB  
Study Protocol
Acupuncture in Women with Human Polycystic Ovary/Ovarian Syndrome: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
by Natália M. de Oliveira, Jorge Machado, Zaiwei Huang and Maria Begoña Criado
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1999; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101999 - 11 Oct 2022
Viewed by 4794
Abstract
(1) Background: Human polycystic ovary/ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is linked to endocrine, metabolic, and psychological complications. We propose a randomized controlled pilot study for an acupuncture protocol regarding the management of PCOS symptoms based on TCM diagnosis; (2) Methods: We will randomly allocate 120 [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Human polycystic ovary/ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is linked to endocrine, metabolic, and psychological complications. We propose a randomized controlled pilot study for an acupuncture protocol regarding the management of PCOS symptoms based on TCM diagnosis; (2) Methods: We will randomly allocate 120 women diagnosed with PCOS into two groups. The study group will be treated with acupuncture for points known to act upon the autonomous regulation of the hormonal, metabolic and emotional components. (3) Results and Conclusions: We expect to provide evidence of high methodological quality related to the effects and safety of an acupuncture protocol based on the perspective of a TCM diagnostic. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 1062 KiB  
Article
Effect of Acupuncture on Functional Capacity in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: A Patient-Assessor Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial
by Marta Correia de Carvalho, José Nunes de Azevedo, Pedro Azevedo, Carlos Pires, Manuel Laranjeira and Jorge Pereira Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1947; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101947 - 05 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1906
Abstract
Decreased functional capacity (FC) in patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) is associated with adverse health events and poor survival. Acupuncture is recognized as a safe and effective integrative treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of acupuncture treatment on the [...] Read more.
Decreased functional capacity (FC) in patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) is associated with adverse health events and poor survival. Acupuncture is recognized as a safe and effective integrative treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of acupuncture treatment on the FC in chronic kidney disease with GFR category 5 (CKG G5) patients undergoing HD. In this patient-assessor blinded randomized controlled trial, seventy-two KF patients were randomly assigned to experimental (n = 24), placebo (n = 24) and control groups (n = 24). The primary outcome was the improvement in FC assessed by the 6-Minute Walk Test (6-MWT). Secondary outcomes included assessment of peripheral muscle strength by the Handgrip Strength Test (HGS) and the 30-Second Sit-to-Stand Test (STS-30) at baseline, after treatment and at 12-week follow up. A mixed ANOVA with interaction time*group was used. The experimental group increased walk distance (p < 0.001), lower limbs strength (p < 0.001) and handgrip strength (p = 0.012) after nine acupuncture sessions and stabilized in the follow-up (p > 0.05). In the placebo and control groups the 6-MWT and 30STS results decreased (p < 0.001) and the HGS scores did not change through time (p > 0.05). Acupuncture treatment improved FC and muscle strength in patients undergoing HD. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 579 KiB  
Review
Can Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Breathing Work Support the Psycho-Immune Homeostasis during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic? A Narrative Review
by Bruno Mendo, Mário Gonçalves, Lara Lopes, Luís Carlos Matos and Jorge Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1934; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101934 - 02 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2718
Abstract
Breathing is crucial in life; nevertheless, the healthcare community often overlooks the health potential of breathing techniques. Conscious manipulation of breathing to achieve specific health goals is found in yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi. This paper reviews the value of breathing exercises as [...] Read more.
Breathing is crucial in life; nevertheless, the healthcare community often overlooks the health potential of breathing techniques. Conscious manipulation of breathing to achieve specific health goals is found in yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi. This paper reviews the value of breathing exercises as a foremost mechanism for promoting, recuperating and maintaining health. Practices involving breathing techniques are described, and their prophylactic or therapeutic characteristics are explored. The main goals of this review are: (i) to summarize the evidence supporting the hypothesis that breathing practices have a significant beneficial impact on human health; (ii) to provide a deeper understanding of traditional biofeedback practices, particularly yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi, and outline their focus on breathing techniques; (iii) to outline specific immune-related responses, relevant for COVID-19 disorders; and (iv) to call for committed attention and action from the scientific community and health agencies in promoting the implementation of a practical and costless health program based on breathing techniques. This review shows the health potentials of breathing practices and exercises, which, by having a high benefit–cost ratio, could be selected and implemented as a primary standard routine in public health programs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 434 KiB  
Article
Mental Health Benefits of a Traditional Vegetative Biofeedback Therapy Online Program during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Controlled Trial
by Jorge Magalhães Rodrigues, Catarina Santos, Cristina Ventura and Jorge Machado
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1843; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101843 - 23 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1819
Abstract
Mandatory lockdown resulting from a pandemic may be effective against the physical impact of the virus; however, the resulting mental strains can lead to the development of several mental disturbances. Taijiquan and Qigong are considered traditional vegetative biofeedback therapies that allow the practitioner [...] Read more.
Mandatory lockdown resulting from a pandemic may be effective against the physical impact of the virus; however, the resulting mental strains can lead to the development of several mental disturbances. Taijiquan and Qigong are considered traditional vegetative biofeedback therapies that allow the practitioner to control the functions and processes of the body through specific movements or stances, breathing techniques, and meditative exercises. This study aims to understand if these techniques can be applied as an online distance therapeutic option to reduce the psychological impact of home confinement and social distancing. Sixty-four participants were recruited and allocated to three groups. The experienced and novice Taijiquan and Qigong participants’ groups received the intervention for 8 weeks while the control group did not receive any intervention. The outcomes were psychological well-being and psychological distress levels and were assessed by the Mental Health Inventory and a written interview. The experienced Taijiquan and Qigong participants achieved significant improvements in psychological well-being and psychological distress. Novice Taijiquan and Qigong participants achieved a significant improvement in anxiety levels. Additionally, the control group showed a significant decrease in psychological well-being. This study suggests that this distance online program of Taijiquan and Qigong is feasible and may benefit the mental health of participants during a lockdown. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 2578 KiB  
Article
Antifungal Potential of Some Herb Decoctions and Essential Oils on Candida Species
by Alexandra Noites, Bruno Araújo, Jorge Machado and Eugénia Pinto
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1820; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101820 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1760
Abstract
(1) Background: Candidiasis is a fungal infectious disease caused by opportunistic Candida species. The incidence of candidiasis has improved, due to prolonged antibiotic therapy and an increased number of immunocompromised patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if decoctions and essential [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Candidiasis is a fungal infectious disease caused by opportunistic Candida species. The incidence of candidiasis has improved, due to prolonged antibiotic therapy and an increased number of immunocompromised patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if decoctions and essential oil (EO) of neem (Azadirachta indica, Meliaceae family), coptidis (Coptis chinensis, Ranunculaceae family), magnolia (Magnolia officinalis, Magnoliaceae family), scutellaria (Scutellaria barbata, Lamiaceae family), and the EO of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium, Myrtaceae family), have antifungal activity in vitro against some clinically prevalent species of Candida. (2) Methods: The antifungal activity was studied by the determination of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum lethal concentration (MLC) against five Candida strains. The effect in dimorphic transition of Candida albicans was also evaluated for the two plants with higher antimicrobial behavior. (3) Results: C. chinensis decoction and EO and L. scoparium EO exhibited antifungal activity in Candida spp. In addition to the fact that both C. chinensis decoction and EO proved strong antifungal activity, L. scoparium EO also displayed a relevant inhibitory effect on the dimorphic transition. (4) Conclusions: The results provided support for the potential use of C. chinensis and L. scoparium in the treatment of infections by Candida spp. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2217 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Auriculotherapy on Situational Anxiety Trigged by Examinations: A Randomized Pilot Trial
by Andreia Vieira, Paula Sousa, Alexandra Moura, Lara Lopes, Cristiane Silva, Nicola Robinson, Jorge Machado and António Moreira
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1816; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101816 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2815
Abstract
Background: Auriculotherapy may activate the parasympathetic nerve system and reduce anxiety levels. Short-term auriculotherapy’s effects and safety on university students’ anxiety levels was assessed prior to exams. Methods: A randomized, controlled pilot trial was conducted. The day before the exam, university students were [...] Read more.
Background: Auriculotherapy may activate the parasympathetic nerve system and reduce anxiety levels. Short-term auriculotherapy’s effects and safety on university students’ anxiety levels was assessed prior to exams. Methods: A randomized, controlled pilot trial was conducted. The day before the exam, university students were randomly allocated to the auriculotherapy group (AA, n = 13) or the waiting-list group (WG, n = 13). Baseline measures were taken 4 weeks before the exam at Time point (TP 0); at 7.30 a.m. on the day before the exam (TP I); at 11 a.m. before auriculotherapy (TP II); 30 min after AA (TP III); and at 7.30 a.m. before the exam (TP IV). The outcomes were the State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory (STAI); quality of night-sleep, Visual Analogue scale (VAS) for anxiety, and salivary cortisol. Adverse events were also recorded. Results: A total of 26 students participated in this study and became more anxious as assessed by STAI in TPII (p = 0.002) and TPIV (p = 0.000) than TP0. AA reduced the STAI in TPIII (p = 0.045) and PIV (p = 0.001) and the VAS (p = 0.012) in TPIV. Cortisol was reduced in TPIII (p = 0.004), and the AA slept better (p = 0.014) at TPIV. Discomfort at the auricular site was reported in only one AA participant. Conclusions: Auriculotherapy appeared safe and effective in reducing anxiety levels before university exams. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 1496 KiB  
Article
Hypericum perforatum and Its Potential Antiplatelet Effect
by Maria-do-Céu Monteiro, Alberto C. P. Dias, Daniela Costa, António Almeida-Dias and Maria Begoña Criado
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1774; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091774 - 15 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2147
Abstract
Background: Hypericum perforatum (HP) is currently one of the most consumed medicinal plants in the world. In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb hypericum (Guan Ye Lian Qiao) belongs to the group of plants that clarify heat. It is also used to [...] Read more.
Background: Hypericum perforatum (HP) is currently one of the most consumed medicinal plants in the world. In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb hypericum (Guan Ye Lian Qiao) belongs to the group of plants that clarify heat. It is also used to treat various types of infection and inflammation. In contrast to the extensive literature on the antidepressant effects of HP, little is known about its action on platelets. The main objective of this work was to investigate the possible relevance of HP to platelet function. Methods: We characterized the profile of platelet activation in the presence of HP extracts through an evaluation of molecular markers by flow cytometry: mobilization of intracellular Ca++ and expression of platelet receptors such as activated GPIIbIIIa and P-selectin (CD62). Results: The results indicated a possible inhibitory effect of HP on the platelet activation response, which could be explained by the effect on intracellular calcium mobilization and the expression of activated GPIIbIIIa receptors. Despite of the limitations of an in vitro study, our results provide evidence of the possible mechanisms of action of HP. Conclusions: Further studies are needed to elucidate the effect of HP on hemostasis, but it may be recognized as a substance with antiplatelet properties. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 978 KiB  
Article
Vapor-Phase of Essential Oils as a Promising Solution to Prevent Candida Vaginal Biofilms Caused by Antifungal Resistant Strains
by Liliana Fernandes, Bruna Gonçalves, Raquel Costa, Ângela Fernandes, Ana Gomes, Cristina Nogueira-Silva, Sónia Silva, Maria Elisa Rodrigues and Mariana Henriques
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091649 - 29 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2166
Abstract
Background: Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a disease with high incidence, a huge impact on the quality of life and health of women, and which represents a great challenge to treat. The growing need to apply antifungal intensive therapies have contributed to an emergence [...] Read more.
Background: Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a disease with high incidence, a huge impact on the quality of life and health of women, and which represents a great challenge to treat. The growing need to apply antifungal intensive therapies have contributed to an emergence of drug-resistant Candida strains. Thus, effective therapeutic options, to meet the antifungal-resistance challenge and to control high resilient biofilms, are urgently needed. This study aimed to investigate the antifungal activity of essentials oils (EOs) on drug-resistant Candida vaginal isolates. Method: Therefore, the antimicrobial effect of tea tree, niaouli, white thyme, and cajeput EOs on the planktonic growth of Candida isolates was initially evaluated by an agar disc diffusion method. Then, the vapor-phase effect of tea tree EO (VP-TTEO) on biofilm formation and on pre-formed biofilms was evaluated by crystal violet staining, XTT reduction assay, colony forming units’ enumeration, and scanning electron microscopy. Results: The results revealed high antifungal activity of EOs against drug-resistant Candida isolates. Additionally, the VP-TTEO showed a significant inhibitory effect on the biofilm formation of all tested isolates and was able to provoke an expressive reduction in mature Candida albicans biofilms. Conclusions: Overall, this study suggests that the VP-EO may be a promising solution that is able to prevent biofilm-related VVC caused by antifungal-resistant strains. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop