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Helene Langevin

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Name  Helene Langevin

Helene Langevin wwwbrighamandwomensorgDepartmentsandServices

Aacp annual conference 2011 professor helene langevin part 1 4

Helene Langevin is a professor in the University of Vermont College of Medicine's Department of Neurological Sciences. She is best known for discovering cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the field of acupuncture. She is also a Professor in Residence of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital. Since 2013, Dr. Langevin is the Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, jointly owned by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


Dr. Langevin currently serves as principal investigator of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Boston Globe describes her as a "celebrity" in the world of acupuncture.

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Dr. Langevin received an MD degree from McGill University in 1978. She did a post doctoral research fellowship in Neurochemistry at the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit in Cambridge, England, residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a Professor in Residence of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is also a part-time Professor of Neurology, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. She is the Principal Investigator of two NIH-funded studies investigating the role of connective tissue in low back pain and the mechanisms of manual and movement based therapies. Her previous studies in humans and animal models have found that "needle grasp", the biomechanical component of de qi, may be caused by connective tissue winding around the needle.

Dr. Helene Langevin was appointed as Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in November 2012.

Effects of needle rotation

Subsequent research by Langevin has focused on the effects of rotating acupuncture needles tissue cells. In particular, Langevin discovered that:

  • Manipulation of the acupuncture needle transmits a mechanical signal to connective tissue cells via mechanotransduction.
  • By making use of ultrasound elastography, the patterns of tissue displacement by acupuncture can be mapped spatially and temporally.
  • Increased rotation of the acupuncture needle, which acts as an effective mechanical stimulus, results in increased tissue displacement
  • Acupuncture meridians

    In 2002, Langevin published a study which found that the location of acupuncture meridians corresponded to that of connective tissue planes 80% of the time.


    A review article by the European Journal of Physiology has acknowledged that Langevin "has made a step in the right direction and her result is important to obtain the mechanical coupling between the (acupuncture) needle and the tissues".

    Peer-reviewed publications

    1. Langevin HM, Fujita T, Bouffard NA, Takano T, Koptiuch C, Badger GJ, Nedergaard M. Fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling induced by tissue stretch involves ATP signaling. J Cell Physiol. 2013 Sep; 228(9):1922-6.

    2. Langevin HM, Nedergaard M, Howe AK. Cellular control of connective tissue matrix tension. J Cell Biochem. 2013 Aug; 114(8):1714-9.

    3. Snapp RR, Goveia E, Peet L, Bouffard NA, Badger GJ, Langevin HM. Spatial organization of fibroblast nuclear chromocenters: component tree analysis. J Anat. 2013 Sep; 223(3):255-61.

    4. Goldman N, Chandler-Militello D, Langevin HM, Nedergaard M, Takano T. Purine receptor mediated actin cytoskeleton remodeling of human fibroblasts. Cell Calcium. 2013 Apr; 53(4):297-301.

    5. Abbott RD, Koptiuch C, Iatridis JC, Howe AK, Badger GJ, Langevin HM. Stress and matrix-responsive cytoskeletal remodeling in fibroblasts. J Cell Physiol. 2013 Jan; 228(1):50-7.

    6. Abbott RD, Howe AK, Langevin HM, Iatridis JC. Live free or die: stretch-induced apoptosis occurs when adaptive reorientation of annulus fibrosus cells is restricted. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 May 4; 421(2):361-6.

    7. Davis RT, Churchill DL, Badger GJ, Dunn J, Langevin HM. A new method for quantifying the needling component of acupuncture treatments. Acupunct Med. 2012 Jun; 30(2):113-9.

    8. Corey SM, Vizzard MA, Bouffard NA, Badger GJ, Langevin HM. Stretching of the back improves gait, mechanical sensitivity and connective tissue inflammation in a rodent model. PLoS One. 2012; 7(1):e29831.

    9. Wu J, Chen D, Langevin HM, Nyborg WL. Interaction between parallel polymer fibers insonificated by ultrasound of low/mild intensity: an analytical theory and experiments. Ultrasonics. 2012 Mar; 52(3):417-21.

    10. Langevin HM, Fox JR, Koptiuch C, Badger GJ, Greenan-Naumann AC, Bouffard NA, Konofagou EE, Lee WN, Triano JJ, Henry SM. Reduced thoracolumbar fascia shear strain in human chronic low back pain. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011; 12:203.

    11. Park JJ, Akazawa M, Ahn J, Beckman-Harned S, Lin FC, Lee K, Fine J, Davis RT, Langevin H. Acupuncture sensation during ultrasound guided acupuncture needling. Acupunct Med. 2011 Dec; 29(4):257-65.

    12. Langevin HM, Bouffard NA, Fox JR, Palmer BM, Wu J, Iatridis JC, Barnes WD, Badger GJ, Howe AK. Fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling contributes to connective tissue tension. J Cell Physiol. 2011 May; 226(5):1166-75.

    13. Corey SM, Vizzard MA, Badger GJ, Langevin HM. Sensory innervation of the nonspecialized connective tissues in the low back of the rat. Cells Tissues Organs. 2011; 194(6):521-30.

    14. Langevin HM, Wayne PM, Macpherson H, Schnyer R, Milley RM, Napadow V, Lao L, Park J, Harris RE, Cohen M, Sherman KJ, Haramati A, Hammerschlag R. Paradoxes in acupuncture research: strategies for moving forward. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011:180805.

    15. Ahn AC, Park M, Shaw JR, McManus CA, Kaptchuk TJ, Langevin HM. Electrical impedance of acupuncture meridians: the relevance of subcutaneous collagenous bands. PLoS One. 2010; 5(7):e11907.

    16. Berman BM, Langevin HM, Witt CM, Dubner R. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jul 29; 363(5):454-61.

    17. Langevin HM, Storch KN, Snapp RR, Bouffard NA, Badger GJ, Howe AK, Taatjes DJ. Tissue stretch induces nuclear remodeling in connective tissue fibroblasts. Histochem Cell Biol. 2010 Apr; 133(4):405-15.

    18. Langevin HM, Huijing PA. Communicating about fascia: history, pitfalls, and recommendations. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2009; 2(4):3-8.

    19. Langevin HM, Stevens-Tuttle D, Fox JR, Badger GJ, Bouffard NA, Krag MH, Wu J, Henry SM. Ultrasound evidence of altered lumbar connective tissue structure in human subjects with chronic low back pain. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2009; 10:151.

    20. Wayne PM, Hammerschlag R, Langevin HM, Napadow V, Park JJ, Schnyer RN. Resolving paradoxes in acupuncture research: a roundtable discussion. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Sep; 15(9):1039-44.

    21. Schnyer R, Lao L, Hammerschlag R, Wayne P, Langevin HM, Napadow V, Harris R, Park J, Milley R, Cohen M, MacPherson H. Society for Acupuncture Research: 2007 conference report: "The status and future of acupuncture research: 10 years post-NIH Consensus Conference". J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Sep; 14(7):859-60.

    22. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, Lao L, Stener-Victorin E, Harris R, Langevin HM. The status and future of acupuncture mechanism research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Sep; 14(7):861-9.

    23. Ahn AC, Colbert AP, Anderson BJ, Martinsen OG, Hammerschlag R, Cina S, Wayne PM, Langevin HM. Electrical properties of acupuncture points and meridians: a systematic review. Bioelectromagnetics. 2008 May; 29(4):245-56.

    24. Bouffard NA, Cutroneo KR, Badger GJ, White SL, Buttolph TR, Ehrlich HP, Stevens-Tuttle D, Langevin HM. Tissue stretch decreases soluble TGF-beta1 and type-1 procollagen in mouse subcutaneous connective tissue: evidence from ex vivo and in vivo models. J Cell Physiol. 2008 Feb; 214(2):389-95.

    25. Whittaker JL, Teyhen DS, Elliott JM, Cook K, Langevin HM, Dahl HH, Stokes M. Rehabilitative ultrasound imaging: understanding the technology and its applications. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 Aug; 37(8):434-49.

    26. Langevin HM, Rizzo DM, Fox JR, Badger GJ, Wu J, Konofagou EE, Stevens-Tuttle D, Bouffard NA, Krag MH. Dynamic morphometric characterization of local connective tissue network structure in humans using ultrasound. BMC Syst Biol. 2007; 1:25.

    27. Langevin HM, Bouffard NA, Churchill DL, Badger GJ. Connective tissue fibroblast response to acupuncture: dose-dependent effect of bidirectional needle rotation. J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Apr; 13(3):355-60.

    28. Storch KN, Taatjes DJ, Bouffard NA, Locknar S, Bishop NM, Langevin HM. Alpha smooth muscle actin distribution in cytoplasm and nuclear invaginations of connective tissue fibroblasts. Histochem Cell Biol. 2007 May; 127(5):523-30.

    29. Langevin HM, Sherman KJ. Pathophysiological model for chronic low back pain integrating connective tissue and nervous system mechanisms. Med Hypotheses. 2007; 68(1):74-80.

    30. Langevin HM, Bouffard NA, Badger GJ, Churchill DL, Howe AK. Subcutaneous tissue fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling induced by acupuncture: evidence for a mechanotransduction-based mechanism. J Cell Physiol. 2006 Jun; 207(3):767-74.

    31. Langevin HM. Connective tissue: a body-wide signaling network? Med Hypotheses. 2006; 66(6):1074-7.

    32. Langevin HM, Storch KN, Cipolla MJ, White SL, Buttolph TR, Taatjes DJ. Fibroblast spreading induced by connective tissue stretch involves intracellular redistribution of alpha- and beta-actin. Histochem Cell Biol. 2006 May; 125(5):487-95.

    33. Ahn AC, Wu J, Badger GJ, Hammerschlag R, Langevin HM. Electrical impedance along connective tissue planes associated with acupuncture meridians. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2005; 5:10.

    34. Konofagou EE, Langevin HM. Using ultrasound to understand acupuncture. Acupuncture needle manipulation and its effect on connective tissue. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2005 Mar-Apr; 24(2):41-6.

    35. Langevin HM, Bouffard NA, Badger GJ, Iatridis JC, Howe AK. Dynamic fibroblast cytoskeletal response to subcutaneous tissue stretch ex vivo and in vivo. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2005 Mar; 288(3):C747-56.

    36. Langevin HM, Konofagou EE, Badger GJ, Churchill DL, Fox JR, Ophir J, Garra BS. Tissue displacements during acupuncture using ultrasound elastography techniques. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2004 Sep; 30(9):1173-83.

    37. Langevin HM, Cornbrooks CJ, Taatjes DJ. Fibroblasts form a body-wide cellular network. Histochem Cell Biol. 2004 Jul; 122(1):7-15.

    38. Langevin HM, Badger GJ, Povolny BK, Davis RT, Johnston AC, Sherman KJ, Kahn JR, Kaptchuk TJ. Yin scores and yang scores: A new method for quantitative diagnostic evaluation in traditional Chinese medicine research. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Apr; 10(2):389-95; discussion 387.

    39. Hammerschlag R, Culliton PD, Langevin HM, Lao L. A new partnership: the Society for Acupuncture Research and the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Dec; 9(6):807-8.

    40. Iatridis JC, Wu J, Yandow JA, Langevin HM. Subcutaneous tissue mechanical behavior is linear and viscoelastic under uniaxial tension. Connect Tissue Res. 2003; 44(5):208-17.

    41. Langevin HM, Yandow JA. Relationship of acupuncture points and meridians to connective tissue planes. Anat Rec. 2002 Dec 15; 269(6):257-65.

    42. Langevin HM, Churchill DL, Wu J, Badger GJ, Yandow JA, Fox JR, Krag MH. Evidence of connective tissue involvement in acupuncture. FASEB J. 2002 Jun; 16(8):872-4.

    43. Langevin HM, Churchill DL, Fox JR, Badger GJ, Garra BS, Krag MH. Biomechanical response to acupuncture needling in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2001 Dec; 91(6):2471-8.

    44. Langevin HM, Churchill DL, Cipolla MJ. Mechanical signaling through connective tissue: a mechanism for the therapeutic effect of acupuncture. FASEB J. 2001 Oct; 15(12):2275-82.

    45. Langevin HM, Vaillancourt PD. Acupuncture: does it work and, if so, how? Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry. 1999 Jul; 4(3):167-75.


    Helene Langevin Wikipedia

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