Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California Irvine are studying how acupuncture can help your heart. Cardiologist John Longhurst has received a two million dollar grant to continue his research on the underlying physiological basis of acupuncture, and its effects on the cardiovascular system.
Longhurst: We're looking down at the cellular or sub-cellular level to try to determine how acupuncture can influence the cardiovascular system. And we're trying to define the mechanisms by which acupuncture can regulate the sympathetic outflow.
Narrator: Although cardiovascular benefits of acupuncture have previously been observed, the mechanism of action is unknown. Longhurst says this research is the first of its kind to receive federal support and is important in establishing a scientific basis to those observations.
Longhurst: If we can define the mechanisms about how acupuncture works, this will provide important evidence that will help convince physicians and scientists that there really is something to the practice of acupuncture that might be beneficial for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.