Brain gray matter structure is widely injured after a stroke. The volume of brain gray matter gradually decreases when time goes by.
In a clinical study to observe how acupuncture can inhibit the progression of gray matter injury in patients with stroke, 16 stroke patients were recruited, and assigned to the scalp acupuncture group or the control group, 8 in each group. A third group of 16 healthy volunteers were recruited. All the participants received brain scanning. Two weeks after treatment, the scalp acupuncture group showed a reduction of progression of gray matter injury in comparison to the two other groups.
In another clinical study, seventy stroke patients with arm impairments were divided into two groups. The “interactive dynamic scalp acupuncture” group received scalp acupuncture therapy and rehabilitation training at the same time. The second group received scalp acupuncture therapy and rehabilitation training separately. The interactive dynamic scalp acupuncture therapy achieved the superior improvements of arm function and the activity of daily life as compared with the traditional scalp acupuncture therapy, and the longer the treatment lasted, the more apparent the improvements were.
How can acupuncture show some improvements on stroke patients?
To answer this question, a study of 61 stroke patients was carried out. The patients were divided into two groups. The first group received routine treatment. The second group received both routine treatment and scalp acupuncture for 7 days. Inflammatory markers in blood were measured during and after the treatments. The research team found that scalp acupuncture improved patients’ clinical symptoms, probably by reducing stroke induced inflammatory reactions.
- Lang Y, Cui FY, Li KS, Tan ZJ, Zou YH. Imaging Observation of Scalp Acupuncture on Brain Gray Matter Injury in Stroke Patients with Cerebral Infarction. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2016 Mar;36(3):294-9.
- Wang J, Pei J, Cui X, Sun K, Ni H, Zhou C, Wu J, Huang M, Ji L. Interactive dynamic scalp acupuncture combined with occupational therapy for upper limb motor impairment in stroke: a randomized controlled trial. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2015 Oct;35(10):983-9.
- Wang JH, Zhao M, Bao YC, Shang JF, Yan Q, Zhang ZC, Du XZ, Jiang H, Zhang WD. Effect of Scalp-acupuncture Treatment on Levels of Serum High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein, and Pro-inflammatory Cytokines in Patients with Acute Cerebral Infarction. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2016 Feb;41(1):80-4.