New Hypothesis for Acupuncture: Interview with Prof. Geoffrey Burnstock

          How can poking needles into the body soothe pain?  At an international meeting in Fukuoka, Japan this summer, Professor Geoffrey Burnstock of the University College London presented a new hypothesis, which he discussed with me in the recorded interview I invite you to hear.  The meeting was organized by Prof. Kazuhide Inoue, of the Kyushu University, Japan, a leading researcher on glia in chronic pain. 

Further Reading

Burnstock, G. (2009)  Acupuncture:  a novel hypothesis for the involvement of purinergic signaling.  Med. Hypotheses, October, 74:470-2.

Fields, R.D.  (2009)  New Culprits in Chronic Pain.  Scientific American  November, 301: 50-57.

Fields, R.D. and Burnstock, G. (2006)  Purinergic signalling in neuron-glia interactions. Nature Reviews Neuroscience June, 7(6): 423-36.


  1. Guillermo Pollard on May 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    If I had a buck for each time I came here.. Incredible post.

  2. robert burger on December 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Doctor Fields:

    I have followed your columns intermitently in Scientific American, and just now latched onto your important book, The Other Brain. This is (of course) elegantly written and even poetic at times. The Coda (Chapter 16) is at the same time a historical summation and a call for new work.
    In the latter regard, I hope you have access to another, but quite different, take on the brain, in the late Richard Bergland’s The Fabric of Mind. Dr. Bergland approaches the brain from another viewpoint, that of a neurosurgeon. And he finds the brain to be, essentially, a gland (with heavy emphasis on the neurostransmitters (hormones). I had many discussions with Richard in the late 1980s and 1990s, relative to pushing beyond his first book. Unfortunately, both of us lacked the insight that you have into the glial cells. I interviewed Marian Diamond (at UC Berkeley) for a story in 1986, in which she laid out all the details of her work on regenerating brain cells. But until I saw The Other Brain I didn’t make the connection with Bergland’s work.
    Congratulations on superb work. Let me know if I can fill you in on Bergland.

    –Bob Burger

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