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Wien Med Wochenschr. 2000;150(13-14):278-85.

[Principles and application of acupuncture in neurology].

[Article in German]

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Ludwig Boltzmann-Institut für Klinische Neurobiologie, Wien.


Acupuncture is a valuable method of complementary medicine with broad application in neurology. It is based on the experiences of traditional Chinese medicine as well as on experimentally proven biological (biochemical and neurophysiological) effects. Acupuncture-induced analgesia is mediated by inhibition of pain transmission at a spinal level and activation of central pain-modulating centers by release of opioids and other peptides that can be prevented by opioid antagonists (naloxone). Modern neuroimaging methods (functional MRI) confirmed the activation of subcortical and cortical centers, while transcranial Doppler sonography and SPECT showed an increase of cerebral blood flow and cerebral oxygen supply in normal subjects. Clinical experience and controlled studies confirmed the efficacy of acupuncture in various pain syndromes (tension headache, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, posttraumatic pain, lumbar syndrome, ischialgia, etc.) and suggest favorable effects in the rehabilitation of peripheral facial nerve palsy and after stroke. Appropriate techniques, hygiene safeguards and knowledge of contraindications will minimize the risks of rare side effects of acupuncture which represents a valuable adjunction to the treatment repertoire in modern neurology. There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its pathophysiology and clinical value.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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