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Needles can relieve dental patients from severe anxiety

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Needles can relieve dental patients from severe anxiety
LEIPZIG, Germany: Using acupuncture might help dentists to treat highly anxious patients, new research from Denmark and the UK suggests. In a study, published by the British Medical Journal Group earlier this week, scientists from the Universities of Copenhagen and Sheffield found that targeting two specific acupuncture points on the top of the head decreases the average Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) score in adult patients by more than half.

The BAI score is a 21-question multiple-choice self-report inventory that is used by clinicians to measure the severity of an individual\'s anxiety. It differenciates between patients who are mildly, moderately and severely anxious.

The authors of the new study based their findings on 16 women and four men from eight dental practice lists in the UK. All were in their 40s and had been trying to deal with this problem for between two and 30 years, the paper states. The acupuncture was carried out by the dentists themselves, all of whom are members of the British Dental Acupuncture Society.

According to latest studies, up to a third of all dental patients in developed countries suffer from some form of dental anxiety. One in ten patients are so afraid of the dentists that they put off dental treatment altogether.

The authors of the study said that several attempts have been made to conquer the problem including sedatives, relaxation techniques and hypnosis but although these methods have been found to be helpful, they are often time consuming and require considerable levels of psychotherapeutic skills.

They caution that further larger studies are needed to confirm the value of acupuncture in these sorts of cases, but suggest that it may offer a simple and inexpensive alternative method of treatment.


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