31 August 2009
RMIT University researchers will investigate the use of acupuncture for spring hay fever management, after receiving a substantial grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for a three-year clinical trial.
Volunteers are needed for testing this new therapeutic method following positive results of a pilot study led by Professor Charlie Xue, Director of Traditional and Complementary Medicine Research Program at the RMIT Health Innovations Research Institute.
Professor Xue and Emeritus Professor David Story, from RMIT’s Health Innovations Research Institute, and Professor Frank Thien, Director, Respiratory Medicine at Eastern Health and Box Hill Hospital, Monash University, are co-investigators for the project.
The team has more than 10 years of collaboration in acupuncture and herbal medicine clinical research for chronic respiratory diseases.
Since starting research in 1995, the team has successful completed clinical trials on acupuncture, acupressure and herbal medicines for hay fever.
“Hay fever affects one in six adult Australians and it is most prevalent in spring season”, Professor Xue said.
The condition involved an inflammatory response to allergens, such as grass pollen, and symptoms included sneezing, blocked nose, nasal itch and a runny nose, Professor Thien said.
Professor Story said pharmacotherapy provided symptomatic relief of seasonal hay fever, however, most medications do not offer effective relief for all and may have side effects.
“Our previous studies demonstrated that acupuncture was well tolerated by patients and that acupuncture was a safe and effective option for the symptomatic treatment of chronic hay fever” said Professor Xue.
Trial participants will receive 12 sessions of acupuncture over a period of four-weeks with a four-week follow-up.
About 100 spring hay fever sufferers from Melbourne are needed for the trial that will run from late September to December.
For interviews or comment: Professor Charlie Xue, (03) 9925 7745 or 0488 060 218.
For general media enquiries, Dr Mira An (03) 9925 6527 or 0401 335 613.