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Microvasc Res. 2013 Sep;89:34-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2013.06.009. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Complexity analysis of the microcirculatory-blood-flow response following acupuncture stimulation.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan.


Beat-to-beat cardiovascular variability analysis provides important information on the circulatory regulatory activities. Changes in the arterial pulse transmission or the opening condition of arteriolar openings might change the fluctuation pattern of the MBF supply, and thus change the complexity property therein. We performed complexity analysis of beat-to-beat laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) signals to study the microcirculatory-blood-flow (MBF) response at the needled site (Hegu acupoint) following acupuncture stimulation (AS). LDF signals were measured in male healthy volunteers (n=29). Each experiment involved recording a 20-minute baseline-data sequence and two sets of effects data recorded 0-20 and 50-70min after stopping AS. Approximate-entropy (ApEn) analysis, which quantifies the unpredictability of fluctuations in a time series, was performed on each 20-minute beat-to-beat LDF data sequence. The present findings indicate that AS can not only improve the local blood supply but may also increase ApEn values and decrease MBF variability parameters. This was the first attempt to apply complexity analysis to LDF signals in order to elucidate microcirculatory responses following AS. The observed results are probably attributable to the contradictory effects on the MBF supply induced by AS, which might interfere with the microcirculatory regulatory activities so as to increase the complexity of LDF signals. The present findings could help to identify the mechanism underlying the effects of AS, might aid the development of an index for monitoring the induced microcirculatory regulatory responses, and thus provide an evidence-based connection between AS and modern physiology.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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