That's the word from researchers at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, who carried out the largest scientific study yet of two products that some believe can reduce nausea. The results, which researchers say point to the power of the placebo effect, were published in the August issue of Pain and Symptom Management.
Scientists at the cancer center at the University of Rochester Medical Center compared the response in 700 cancer patients who received either two acupressure bands, an acustimulation band, or no band. Both the pressure and the stimulation bands are worn on the wrist, and several studies have shown them to be helpful in reducing nausea from seasickness, motion sickness, and morning sickness from pregnancy. The pressure band applies steady pressure to an acupuncture point on the inside of the wrist; the acustimulation band gives a mild electrical pulse to the same point. Such bands are sold at some drugstores but are not widely used in medicine.
Participants in the study wore the bands on the day of their chemotherapy treatment and the following four days. About 85 percent of the study participants were women being treated for breast cancer; most of the others had lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease.
Overall, acupressure patients reported 15 percent less nausea on the day of treatment, compared to patients who wore no band. Acupressure patients had roughly the same amount of nausea and vomiting as the others in the days following treatment.
When scientists analyzed the results more closely, they found that the acupressure bands were more helpful to patients who expected the device to ease their nausea. Patients who expected the bands to help rated their nausea 25 percent less
Contact: Tom Rickey
University of Rochester Medical Center