<figcaption> Credit: © istockphoto.com / Oleg Kozlov</figcaption>
Credit: © istockphoto.com / Oleg Kozlov

Was Kate Moss on to something? In 2006 the BBC reported that the supermodel and sometimes drug user was getting acupuncture to combat her cravings. "People say it seems to work," says Kenneth Kwong, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Now, Kwong and his colleagues think they might know why.

Acupuncture is thought to release beta-endorphins, which have analgesic effects - something that anyone, not just a person experiencing withdrawal, could benefit from, says Thomas Kosten at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. What Kwong has found is that, in addiction, acupuncture might help regulate an out-of-whack dopamine system, a hallmark of drug dependence.

At the most recent Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, Kwong and his colleagues presented a poster on their experiments in applying electroacupuncture (a variation on the traditional method) to rats that they had given amphetamine....

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