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Acupuncture May Have Helped to Revive Coma Patient

Keywords: TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY - Acupuncture, GV26, Coma

Reference: "Acupuncture Helps Regain Postoperative Consciousness in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Study," Tseng YJ, Hung YC, et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2012 Dec 4. (Address: Wen-Long Hu, Department of Chinese Medicine, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. E-mail: oolonghu@gmail.com ).

Summary: A clinical report on a single case featuring a 65-year-old man experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being involved in a motor vehicle accident found that acupuncture may have helped the patient to regain consciousness. Subject had a right-sided subdural hemorrhage, subsequent complications, and initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of E1V1M2. 12 days post- surgery, the patient remained in poor condition due to serious complications with a GCS of E2VeM4. After 12 days, the patient was treated with acupuncture 3x per week, consisting of strong stimulation at GV26 (Shuigou) and the 12 Well points using the half-needling technique. After 3 weeks of consecutive treatment, the patient regained consciousness and could tolerate rehabilitation programs, with GCS score of E4VtM6. This case shows potential usage of acupuncture as a complementary therapy in patients with TBI who fail to regain consciousness postoperatively.

Acupuncture May Reduce Fatigue in MS Patients

Keywords: MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS - Acupuncture, Fatigue, Amantadine

Reference: "Amantadine and the place of acupuncture in the treatment of fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis: an observational study," Foroughipour M, Bahrami Taghanaki HR, et al, Acupunct Med, 2012 Nov 14; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Dr Ali Shoeibi, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran. E-mail: shoeibia@mums.ac.ir ).

Summary: A clinical trial including 40 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) found that acupuncture may lesson fatigue in MS patients resistant to conventional treatment alone. Patients with fatigue unresponsive to amantadine (n=20) underwent 12 sessions of acupuncture. 5 patients (25%) responded to acupuncture combined with amantadine treatment. Fatigue scores of all 20 patients who were resistant to the medication were significantly reduced after acupuncture treatment. Results show that acupuncture may be beneficial for some MS patients with fatigue who are resistant to conventional drugs such as amantadine.

The Brain Circuitry Mediating Antipruritic (anti-itch) Effects of Acupuncture

Itch is an aversive sensory experience and while systemic therapies, such as acupuncture, have shown promise in alleviating itch in patients suffering from chronic itch, their antipruritic mechanisms are unknown.
As several lines of evidence implicate brain-focused mechanisms, we applied functional magnetic resonance imaging and our validated temperature-modulation itch model to evaluate the underlying brain circuitry supporting allergen-induced itch reduction in atopic dermatitis patients by acupuncture, antihistamine, and respective placebo treatments.
Brain response to allergen itch demonstrated phase dependency. During an increasing itch phase, activation was localized in anterior insula and striatum, regions associated with salience/interoception and motivation processing. Once itch reached peak plateau, robust activation was noted in prefrontal cognitive and premotor areas. Acupuncture reduced itch and itch-evoked activation in the insula, putamen, and premotor and prefrontal cortical areas.
Neither itch sensation nor itch-evoked brain response was altered following antihistamine or placebo acupuncture. Greater itch reduction following acupuncture was associated with greater reduction in putamen response, a region implicated in motivation and habitual behavior underlying the urge to scratch, specifically implicating this region in acupuncture's antipruritic effects.
Understanding brain circuitry underlying itch reduction following acupuncture and related neuromodulatory therapies will significantly impact the development and applicability of novel therapies to reduce an itch.
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