TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts from round the world | 30 August 2013

August 30, 2013

From the Archives of Pharmacal Research, 21 August 2013. [Epub ahead of print].

The effective mechanism of the polysaccharides from Panax ginseng on chronic fatigue syndrome.

Wang J, Sun C, Zheng Y, Pan H, Zhou Y, Fan Y.
Jilin Province Key Laboratory on Chemistry and Biology of Changbai Mountain Natural Drugs School of Life Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, 130024, People's Republic of China.


Ginseng acidic polysaccharide WGPA isolated from the root of Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer was fractionated into WGPA-A and WGPA-N by anion-exchange chromatography.

The antifatigue activity of ginseng acidic polysaccharide WGPA has been reported in our previous research.

This present study was designed to identify its active component and elucidate the mechanism for preventing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

WGPA, WGPA-A and WGPA-N were orally administered to mice once daily for 15 days. The effects of these compounds on physiological biomarkers of
oxidative stress and on the morphology of the mitochondria in striated skeletal muscle were assessed.

The results of forced swimming test-induced indicated that WGPA and WGPA-A could lengthen the swimming time, while WGPA-N could not.

In addition, malondialdehyde and lactate dehydrogenase levels in serum were enhanced; while those of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase were lowered. Interestingly, the structural degeneration of mitochondria were all ameliorated.

These findings suggested that WGPA-A is the active component of WGPA, it might have potential therapeutic effects for CFS and the oxidative stress might be involved in the pathogenesis. Our results also provided essential data for a better understanding of the antifatigue effects of P. ginseng extracts.

From Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 19 August 2913.

Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomized, sham-controlled trial with single-blinded design.

Ng SM, Yiu YM.
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.



Given that the etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is believed to be multidimensional, interventions generally have been nonspecific and typically produce only mild to moderate effects. In medical practice, treatment for CFS remains largely symptomatic. Preliminary evidence of the efficacy of acupuncture for CFS is available, but the field has lacked high-quality trials.


The research team conducted the study to determine the efficacy of acupuncture for CFS.

A two-arm, randomized, controlled, singleblinded design was adopted.


The study took place in a teaching laboratory at the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


Recruited through press publicity in Hong Kong, 127 individuals–40 men and 87 women–participated in the study. Intervention Through careful implementation of sham acupuncture in the control group (CG), the study blinded all participants with regard to their experimental or control status. The treatment regime was 2 sessions/wk for 4 consecutive wk.

Measures of fatigue (Chalder's Fatigue Scale), health-related quality of life (SF-12), and general mental health (GH Q-12) were taken at baseline and upon completion of treatment.


Ninety-nine participants completed the interventions, with 50 and 49 participants in the experimental group (EG) and CG respectively. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant decrease in physical (F(1,93) = 4.327; P = .040) and mental fatigue (F(1,96) = 10.451; P = .002) and improvement in the physical component score of SF-12 (F(1,93) = 4.774; P = .031). Considerable effects with Cohen's d were observed in the sham-control group: 0.92, 0.78, and 0.38 for the three scores, respectively. These positive effects could have included some therapeutic effects due to pressure on the acupuncture points from the sham needles in addition to normal placebo effects. The EG showed moderate net effect sizes with Cohen's d: 0.52, 0.63, and 0.54 for the three outcome measures, respectively.


Despite considerable positive effects for the CG, the EG demonstrated significant net-effect sizes at a moderate magnitude in physical and mental fatigue and in the physical component of health-related quality of life. The impacts on general mental health outcomes appeared to be smaller.

Compare with this South Korean study already reported in TGI Friday!

From Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 31 July 2013

Effects of qigong exercise on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness: a randomized controlled trial.

Chan JS, Ho RT, Wang CW, Yuen LP, Sham JS, Chan CL.
Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.



Anxiety/depressive symptoms are common in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome- (CFS-) like illness. Qigong as a modality of complementary and alternative therapy has been increasingly applied by patients with chronic illnesses, but little is known about the effect of Qigong on anxiety/depressive symptoms of the patients with CFS-like illness.


To investigate the effects of Qigong on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in patients with CFS-illness.


One hundred and thirty-seven participants who met the diagnostic criteria for CFS-like illness were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a waitlist control group. Participants in the intervention group received 10 sessions of Qigong training twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks, followed by home-based practice for 12 weeks.

Fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and postintervention.


Total fatigue score [F(1,135) = 13.888, P < 0.001], physical fatigue score [F(1,135) = 20.852, P < 0.001] and depression score [F(1,135) = 9.918, P = 0.002] were significantly improved and mental fatigue score [F(1,135) = 3.902, P = 0.050] was marginally significantly improved in the Qigong group compared to controls. The anxiety score was not significantly improved in the Qigong group.CONCLUSIONQigong may not only reduce the fatigue symptoms, but also has antidepressive effect for patients with CFS-like illness. Trial registration HKCTR-1200.

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