Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Resident Innovates Acupuncture for Relieving Nausea

Unknown-3Imagine a wrist watch that can relieve your symptoms of nausea within five minutes. That is the kind of healthcare innovation taking place at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Yan Sun, M.D., second-year resident in the Internal Medicine Department is at the center of the development.

Essentially, this new technology is worn like a wrist watch. It sends electrical stimulation (rather than a needle – the traditional way of acupuncture) to a tiny area on the wrist. It curbs nausea and vomiting within 5-10 minutes for patients who have slow or impaired digestion.

In recognition of her work, Dr. Sun has been selected as a 2014 Presidential Poster recipient by a committee from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG). More than 2,000 research abstracts were reviewed. Each year, less than 5% of accepted abstracts receive this distinction for high quality, novel, unique and interesting research.

The work was presented and displayed at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Philadelphia last week where more than 10,000 gastroenterologists from around the world were in attendance.

Entitled “Central and Peripheral Effects of Transcutaneous Acupuncuture Therapy for Nausea in Patients With Diabetic Gastroparesis” – Dr. Sun’s work pioneers a new model in humans to provide insights and understanding to the central nervous system and the control of nausea and vomiting in patients with gastroparesis (stomach paralysis). This work opens the door for a new therapy with needleless and customizable cutaneous electrical stimulation.

The device will soon undergo further development, studying the technology’s long-term use, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, said Richard McCallum, M.D., who recruited Dr. Sun to El Paso in 2011 from the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, China.

“This accomplishment brings national recognition to Texas Tech and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine as a whole,” said Dr. McCallum, professor and founding chair of the Internal Medicine Department at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Dr. McCallum also acknowledged the interdepartmental collaboration that helped propel Dr. Sun’s work.
– Hugo Sandoval, Ph.D., and Stephen Sands, Ph.D., colleagues in the Center of Excellence for Neurosciences
– The Center of Neurogastroenterolgy and GI Motility
– Irene Sarosiek, M.D., Ph.D., co-investigator, Dept. of Internal Medicine
– Gengiqing Song, M.D., Dept. of Internal Medicine
– A seed grant by the TTUHSC EP Department of Medicine Research Committee