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Chin J Integr Med. 2018 Aug 28. doi: 10.1007/s11655-018-2993-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of Acupuncture on Alzheimer's Disease: Evidence from Neuroimaging Studies.

Yu CC1, Ma CY2, Wang H1,3, Kong LH4,5, Zhao Y6,7, Shen F1,3, Wu M6,7.

Author information

1
College of Acupuncture and Orthopedics, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, 430061, China.
2
Department of Rehabilitation, Wuhan Central Hospital Affiliated to Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430014, China.
3
Hubei Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center of Preventive Treatment by Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, 430061, China.
4
College of Acupuncture and Orthopedics, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, 430061, China. xiyu1618@sina.com.
5
Hubei Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center of Preventive Treatment by Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, 430061, China. xiyu1618@sina.com.
6
Hubei Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, 430061, China.
7
Hubei Province Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, 430074, China.

Abstract

As the worldwide population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) increases. However, the results of promising medications have been unsatisfactory. Chinese acupuncture has a long history of treating dementia, but lack of evidence from well-designed randomized controlled trials that validate its efficacy and safety, as well as its lack of clear underlying mechanisms, contribute to its limited application in clinical practice. In recent years, brain imaging technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography, have been used to assess brain responses to acupuncture in a dynamic, visual, and objective way. These techniques are frequently used to explore neurological mechanisms of responses to acupuncture in AD and provide neuroimaging evidence as well as starting points to elucidate the possible mechanisms. This review summarizes the existing brain imaging evidence that explains the effects of acupuncture for AD and analyzes brain responses to acupuncture at cognitive-related acupoints [Baihui (GV 20), Shenmen (HT 7), Zusanli (ST 36), Neiguan (PC 6), and Taixi (KI 3)] from perspectives of acupoint specificity and acupoint combinations. Key issues and directions to consider in future studies are also put forward. This review should deepen our understanding of how brain imaging studies can be used to explore the underlying mechanisms of acupuncture in AD.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer's disease; acupoint specificity; acupuncture; brain response; neuroimaging

PMID:
30155679
DOI:
10.1007/s11655-018-2993-3

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