Chinese Researchers Prove Acupuncture for Stroke Using MRI Technology

A recent study shows that acupuncture increases brain activity in stroke victims. Using MRI technology, researchers documented that real acupuncture increased brain activity and functionality and that sham acupuncture and a blank control group did not increase brain activity and functionality. Sham acupuncture is the placement of acupuncture needles in nearby incorrect locations and the control group received no medical treatment. In this study, real acupuncture was proven to benefit ischemia stroke victims using acupuncture in a quantifiable and repeatable study.

The study was conducted in an animal experiment setting on rats and was conducted by a joint effort by Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China; Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Hubei College of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The scientists conclude that the immediate effect of acupuncture in the stimulation of brain activity is verified and that further study is therefore recommended.

Citing promising research on the positive effects of acupuncture in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, the scientists conducting the stroke study sought to create an even more stringent research methodology. The study notes, “To quantitatively understand the role of acupuncture, we need to have a statistically significant, biologically interpretable, and quantitatively repeatable measurement under the randomized trial setting.” Using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), fMRI and microPET imaging techniques, the researchers were able “to measure the glucose metabolic level in the brain which is an important index of brain function.”

Acupuncture points Bai Hui (GV20/Du-20) and Shui Gou (GV26/Du-26) were chosen. The needles were rotated for one minute at a frequency of about 2Hz and then left for four minutes at rest. The needle manipulation technique is repeated six times during the acupuncture session for a total of 30 minutes of acupuncture needle retention. The results were repeatable and measurable. Acupuncture was proven to increase brain activity in the acute stage of ischemia stroke using the brain glucose metabolic level as a quantitative index whereas the sham acupuncture group and the control group received no benefit. The researchers note that this experiment helps to explain Chinese medicine concepts regarding acupuncture with modern scientific language. 

Please click here for the full article.

Figure: FDG-microPET image examples of representative coronal sections. The right hemisphere of the rat brain (shown as right-hand side in each figure) is the area where ischemia injury happens. Top to bottom: RA group example (ID 0001) , SA group example (ID 0011), and BC group example (ID 0009). Left to right: Baseline scan, post-MCAO scan, and final scan. Here, the activity images are reconstructed by using the MAP algorithm (Kornblum et al. (2000)). Metabolic activity after real acupuncture increases significantly in the injured area; there was no evidently metabolic recovery after sham acupoint treatment; a metabolic deterioration was observed in the blank control case. Note that different images have different ranges of intensity values. This is unavoidable since we have different FDG-concentrations in different rats during micro-PET imaging due to the fact that the FDG-reagent had to be produced on a daily basis and be used at different time points. This variation vividly explains the reason (in addition to individual difference among different rats) that we used relative index instead of absolute intensity values in function comparison.
Website Builder