The Effects of Acupuncture at Real or Sham Acupoints on the Intrinsic Brain Activity in Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients.
ABSTRACT: Accumulating neuroimaging studies in humans have shown that acupuncture can modulate a widely distributed brain network in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Acupuncture at different acupoints could exert different modulatory effects on the brain network. However, whether acupuncture at real or sham acupoints can produce different effects on the brain network in MCI or AD patients remains unclear. Using resting-state fMRI, we reported that acupuncture at Taixi (KI3) induced amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) change of different brain regions in MCI patients from those shown in the healthy controls. In MCI patients, acupuncture at KI3 increased or decreased ALFF in the different regions from those activated by acupuncture in the healthy controls. Acupuncture at the sham acupoint in MCI patients activated the different brain regions from those in healthy controls. Therefore, we concluded that acupuncture displays more significant effect on neuronal activities of the above brain regions in MCI patients than that in healthy controls. Acupuncture at KI3 exhibits different effects on the neuronal activities of the brain regions from acupuncture at sham acupoint, although the difference is only shown at several regions due to the close distance between the above points.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The results of many clinical trials and experimental studies regarding acupoint specificity are contradictory. This review aims to investigate whether a difference in efficacy exists between ordinary acupuncture on specific acupoints and sham acupuncture controls on non-acupoints or on irrelevant acupoints. METHODS: Databases including Medline, Embase, AMED and Chinese Biomedical Database were searched to identify randomized controlled trials published between 1998 and 2009 that compared traditional body acupuncture on acupoints with sham acupuncture controls on irrelevant acupoints or non-acupoints with the same needling depth. The Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias was employed to address the quality of the included trials. RESULTS: Twelve acupuncture clinical trials with sham acupuncture controls were identified and included in the review. The conditions treated varied. Half of the included trials had positive results on the primary outcomes and demonstrated acupoint specificity. However, among those six trials (total sample size: 985) with low risk of bias, five trials (sample size: 940) showed no statistically significant difference between proper and sham acupuncture treatments. CONCLUSION: This review did not demonstrate the existence of acupoint specificity. Further clinical trials with larger sample sizes, optimal acupuncture treatment protocols and appropriate sham acupuncture controls are required to resolve this important issue.
Project description:Shaoyang acupoints are the most frequently used in migraine treatment. However, the central analgesic mechanism remains poorly understood. Studies have demonstrated that single stimulus of the verum acupuncture in healthy subjects can induce significant connectivity or activity changes in pain-related central networks compared with sham acupuncture. However, these findings are not indicative of the central analgesic mechanism of acupuncture at Shaoyang acupoints. Thus, we recruited 100 migraine sufferers and randomly assigned them into five groups: Shaoyang uncommon acupoint, Shaoyang common acupoint, Yangming uncommon acupoint, non-acupoint control, and blank control groups. Subjects were subjected to evaluation of curative effects and functional MRI prior to and after 10 and 20 acupuncture treatments. All subjects were diagnosed by physicians and enrolled following clinical physical examination. Subjects were observed during 1-4 weeks after inclusion. At the fifth week, the first clinical evaluation and resting functional MRI were conducted. The Shaoyang mon acupoint, Shaoyang common acupoint, Yangming uncommon acupoint, and non-acupoint control grousp then were treated with acupuncture, five times per week, 20 times in total over 4 weeks. The second and third clinical evaluations and resting functional MRI screenings were conducted following 10 and 20 acupuncture treatments. The blank control group was observed during the 5 to 8 week period, followed by clinical evaluation and resting functional MRI. The aim of this study was to examine changes in brain functional activity and central networks in subjects with migraine undergoing acu-puncture at Shaoyang uncommon acupoints. This study provides a further explanation of the central analgesic mechanism by which acupuncture at Shaoyang acupoints treats migraine.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Primary insomnia (PI) is characterized by difficulties in initiating sleep or maintaining sleep, which lead to many serious diseases. Acupuncture for PI has drawn attention with its effectiveness and safety. However, the operation of choosing acupoints lacks scientific suggestion. Our trial aims to provide reference and scientific basis for the selection of acupoints and to explore its possible mechanism. METHODS:A patient-assessor-blinded, randomized and sham controlled trial was designed to compare the efficacy of 5-weeks acupuncture at a single acupoint, the combination of multi-acupoints, and a sham point. The Pittsburgh sleep quality index and Athens Insomnia Scale questionnaire were used for the primary clinical outcomes, while polysomnography was performed for the secondary clinical outcomes. The resting state functional MRI was employed to detect the cerebral responses to acupuncture. The brain activity in resting state was measured by calculating the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF), which reflected the idiopathic activity level of neurons in the resting state. These results were analyzed by two factorial ANOVA test and post-hoc t-tests. RESULTS:The clinical outcomes suggest that acupuncture could improve clinical symptoms, and the combination of multi-acupoints might lead to a better clinical efficacy. The rs-fMRI results suggested that the brain activity of certain regions was related to the sleep experience, and acupuncture could regulate the activity of these regions. Furthermore, the combination of multi-acupoints could impact more regions which were influenced by the sleep experience. CONCLUSIONS:Acupuncture has been proven to be beneficial for PI patients, and the combination of multi-acupoints might improve its efficacy. TRIAL REGISTRATION:This trial has been registered on the U.S. National Library of Medicine (https://clinicaltrials.gov) ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02448602 . Registered date: 14/04/2015.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Acupuncture has been commonly used for preventing migraine attacks and relieving pain during a migraine, although there is limited knowledge on the physiological mechanism behind this method. The objectives of this study were to compare the differences in brain activities evoked by active acupoints and inactive acupoints and to investigate the possible correlation between clinical variables and brain responses. METHODS AND RESULTS: A randomized controlled trial and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were conducted. A total of eighty migraineurs without aura were enrolled to receive either active acupoint acupuncture or inactive acupoint acupuncture treatment for 8 weeks, and twenty patients in each group were randomly selected for the fMRI scan at the end of baseline and at the end of treatment. The neuroimaging data indicated that long-term active acupoint therapy elicited a more extensive and remarkable cerebral response compared with acupuncture at inactive acupoints. Most of the regions were involved in the pain matrix, lateral pain system, medial pain system, default mode network, and cognitive components of pain processing. Correlation analysis showed that the decrease in the visual analogue scale (VAS) was significantly related to the increased average Regional homogeneity (ReHo) values in the anterior cingulate cortex in the two groups. Moreover, the decrease in the VAS was associated with increased average ReHo values in the insula which could be detected in the active acupoint group. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term active acupoint therapy and inactive acupoint therapy have different brain activities. We postulate that acupuncture at the active acupoint might have the potential effect of regulating some disease-affected key regions and the pain circuitry for migraine, and promote establishing psychophysical pain homeostasis. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-TRC-13003635.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate state between normal aging and Alzheimer's disease, which is the world's most common form of dementia. It is important to identify early and easily available interventions to delay the progression of MCI to Alzheimer's disease. Acupuncture has been reported to improve the clinical outcomes of MCI treatment. Acupuncture is a complex intervention, involving both specific and non-specific factors associated with therapeutic benefits. Therefore, we intend to obtain basic data for developing an optimal acupuncture treatment for MCI by comparing the effects of different acupuncture treatment methods on cognitive function in MCI patients. METHODS:This study will be a prospective, outcome-assessor-blinded, parallel-arm, single-center (DongShin University Gwangju Korean Medicine Hospital, Republic of Korea), randomized controlled clinical trial. Thirty-two participants with MCI will be randomized in equal numbers to four groups (basic acupuncture (BA), acupoint specificity (AS), needle duration (ND), or electroacupuncture (EA)) and receive acupuncture treatment once per day, 3 days/week for 8 weeks. The BA and ND groups will receive acupuncture treatment for 30 and 20 min, respectively, at Baihui (GV20), Sishencong (EX-HN1), Fengchi (GB20), and Shenting (GV24). The EA group will receive electroacupuncture treatment at the same acupoints for 30 min. The AS group will receive acupuncture treatment at GV20, EX-HN1, GB20, GV24, and Taixi (KI3) for 30 min. The outcome measured will be scores on the Korean version of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale, the Korean version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale, the Korean Activities of Daily Living scale, the Korean Instrumental Activities of Daily Living scale, and the European Quality of Life Five Dimension Five Level scale. All scores will be recorded before intervention, 8 weeks after the first intervention, and 12 weeks after completing the intervention. DISCUSSION:Four acupuncture protocols will be assessed and compared as potential MCI treatments. This study is expected to provide data to be used in developing an optimal acupuncture method for MCI treatment. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinical Research Information Service, KCT0003430 . Registered on 16 January 2019. http://cris.nih.go.kr ).
Project description:Many clinical trials and meta-analyses related to acupuncture for osteoporosis (OP) have been published. However, identifying the evidence from these studies still remains a challenge for acupuncturists. We conducted a systematic search of the Chinese Biomedical Medicine (CBM), VIP Database, Wanfang Data, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), PubMed, Springer, Cochrane Library, and Embase to identify relevant trials, systematic reviews, and/or meta-analyses up to October 31, 2018. Data were extracted to assess the methodological quality using Veritas plots and to explore potential acupuncture prescriptions using the Traditional Chinese Medicine inheritance support system (TCMISS). In addition, potential mechanisms of core acupoints identified by data mining were summarized based on published studies. A total of 218 clinical trials and ten meta-analyses were included, involving 212 acupuncture prescriptions, 102 acupoints, 13 meridians, three extra meridians, and one Ashi point. The mean Veritas score of publication year, type of study, Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews 2, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, heterogeneity, and publication bias were 5.5, 7.2, 6, 5.6, 5.8, and 7.5, respectively. The study of Pan et al. received the highest Veritas score of 8.67 points. The most frequently used meridian was BL. Acupoint combinations BL23 and BL20, BL23 and GV4, and BL23 and ST36 were used frequently. The core acupoints association networks were acupoints BL23, BL20, ST36, GV4, SP6, CV4, and KI3. The potential mechanisms of core acupoints involved upregulated expression of members in OPG/RANKL, Wnt/<i>?</i>-catenin, and MAPK pathways, such as LRP5, <i>?</i>-catenin, Runx2, and OPG. In conclusion, our Veritas plots enable acupuncturists to evaluate key attributes of meta-analysis quality related to acupuncture for primary OP and to improve the quality of evidence-based medicine relating to acupuncture. Data mining analysis revealed an association network of meridians, acupoint combinations, core acupoints, and the underlying mechanisms of acupuncture for primary OP.
Project description:Acupuncture is widely used in China to treat functional dyspepsia (FD). However, its effectiveness in the treatment of FD, and whether FD-specific acupoints exist, are controversial. So this study aims to determine if acupuncture is an effective treatment for FD and if acupoint specificity exists according to traditional acupuncture meridians and acupoint theories.This multicenter randomized controlled trial will include four acupoint treatment groups, one non-acupoint control group and one drug (positive control) group. The four acupoint treatment groups will focus on: (1) specific acupoints of the stomach meridian; (2) non-specific acupoints of the stomach meridian; (3) specific acupoints of alarm and transport points; and (4) acupoints of the gallbladder meridian. These four groups of acupoints are thought to differ in terms of clinical efficacy, according to traditional acupuncture meridians and acupoint theories. A total of 120 FD patients will be included in each group. Each patient will receive 20 sessions of acupuncture treatment over 4 weeks. The trial will be conducted in eight hospitals located in three centers of China. The primary outcomes in this trial will include differences in Nepean Dyspepsia Index scores and differences in the Symptom Index of Dyspepsia before randomization, 2 weeks and 4 weeks after randomization, and 1 month and 3 months after completing treatment.The important features of this trial include the randomization procedures (controlled by a central randomization system), a standardized protocol of acupuncture manipulation, and the fact that this is the first multicenter randomized trial of FD and acupuncture to be performed in China. The results of this trial will determine whether acupuncture is an effective treatment for FD and whether using different acupoints or different meridians leads to differences in clinical efficacy.Clinical Trials.gov Identifier: NCT00599677.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Acupoint selection is a key factor in the treatment of diseases and has not been well studied. The aim of this trial is to explore the differences in efficacy between compatible acupoints and a single acupoint for patients with functional dyspepsia (FD). METHODS:This randomized controlled trial will be conducted in the First Affiliated Hospital of Changchun University of Chinese Medicine in China. Two hundred and sixteen FD patients will be randomly assigned to the compatible acupoints group, single acupoint group, or sham acupuncture group. This trial will include a 1-week baseline period, a 4-week treatment period, and a 4-week follow-up period. During the 4-week treatment period, patients will receive 20 sessions of acupuncture (weekly cycles of one session per day for 5 consecutive days followed by a 2-day break). The primary outcome will be a change in the Nepean Dyspepsia Life Quality Index from baseline to after the 4-week treatment period. Secondary outcome measures will include the dyspeptic symptom sum score, Overall Treatment Effect questionnaire, and 36-item Short Form survey. Adverse events also will be recorded. Ultraweak photon emission and metabolomics tests will be performed at baseline and at the end of treatment to explore the mechanisms of the differences between compatible acupoints and a single acupoint. DISCUSSION:The results of this trial will allow us to compare the difference in efficacy between compatible acupoints and a single acupoint. The findings from this trial will be published in peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Acupuncture-Moxibustion Clinical Trial Registry, AMCTR-IPC-18000176, registered on 4 March 2019; Chinese Clinical Trial Registry, ChiCTR1900023983, registered on 23 June 2019.
Project description:Acupuncture treatment is based on acupoint stimulation; however, the biological basis is not understood. We stimulated one acupoint with catgut embedding (CEP) for 8 weeks and then used isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation to screen proteins with altered expression in adjacent acupoints of Sprague Dawley rats. The expression levels of 10 proteins, including kininogen (KNG), consistently changed >1.5-fold in all three acupoints in CEP versus sham CEP-treated rats. Eight-week, but not 3-day, CEP treatment enhanced KNG expression. The enhanced KNG expression among small vessels in the subcutaneous layer was revealed via immunofluorescence. Nitric oxide synthesis was enhanced similar to KNG. These findings uncover biological changes at acupoints and suggest the critical role of the KNG–nitric oxide signaling pathway in acupoint activation.
Project description:Acupuncture at homotopic acupoints or heterotopic acupoints is known to either inhibit or facilitate gastrointestinal motility, depending on the acupoint location. However, little effort has been made to investigate the roles of specific receptors (such as adrenergic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors) in mediating the effects of acupuncture at heterotopic and homotopic acupoints. Different adrenergic receptor subtypes or cholinergic receptor subtypes are predominantly expressed in various sections of the gut, resulting in variations between the effects of acupuncture at heterotopic or homotopic acupoints on gastrointestinal motility. Here, we investigated the role of ?1/?2 receptors and M2/M3 receptors in gastrointestinal motility regulated by acupuncture at ST37, a heterotopic acupoint, and ST25, a homotopic acupoint, by simultaneously recording intraluminal pressures in the distal colon and stomach or jejunum and examining fecal phenol red excretion in ?1/2 receptor-knockout mice and M2/3 receptor-knockout mice. We found that knockout of the M2/3 receptor significantly inhibited ST37 acupuncture-induced enhancement of gastric motility, jejunal motility, and colonic motility. Additionally, knocking out of the ?1/2 receptor significantly diminished the ST25 acupuncture-induced inhibition of gastric motility and jejunal motility without significantly altering the enhancement of colonic motility induced by acupuncture at ST25. Acupuncture at ST37 significantly accelerated gastrointestinal transition in ?1/2 receptor-knockout mice and their wild-type littermates. However, this acceleration of gastrointestinal transition was markedly diminished in M2/3 receptor-knockout mice relative to their wild-type littermates. Acupuncture at ST25 significantly increased gastrointestinal transition in ?1/2 receptor-knockout mice and significantly decreased gastrointestinal transition in M2/3 receptor-knockout mice without altering gastrointestinal transition in wild-type littermates of either. Our study revealed that M2/3 receptors are required for the gastrointestinal motility associated with whole gastrointestinal transition enhanced by acupuncture at heterotopic acupoints, whereas ?1/2 receptors are required for the same gastrointestinal motility processes inhibited by acupuncture at homotopic acupoints. Therefore, our findings reveal important biological mechanisms underlying acupuncture treatment of disorders involving gastrointestinal motility dysfunction.