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Neurological

Headaches
Tension Headaches
1) German researchers found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for patients suffering from tension headaches. Over an eight-week period, Dr. Weidenhammer and his team compared traditional Chinese acupuncture, minimal acupuncture (the needles are inserted superficially in the skin), and no treatment.
The headache rate in patients given the traditional treatment and the minimal acupuncture had similar results - the subjects experienced 7 fewer days of headaches and 6.6 fewer days of headaches, respectively, in the four weeks following the treatment. The control group, which received no treatment, had only 1.5 fewer headache days.

CONCLUSION: "A significant proportion of patients with tension-type headaches benefited from acupuncture," said Dr. Weidenhammer. Acupuncture cut the rate of headaches by nearly half.

2) The treatment of tension headache: with time series analysis.

• Fourteen patients with tension headache were given eight weekly treatments, four of true acupuncture and four of sham in random order.
• Mean pain in medication scores were reduced by 52% and 54% respectively at initial follow-up. Reductions in pain scores of over 50% were achieved by 50% of the patients and the significance of these changes were confirmed by time series analysis. The majority of patients maintained their gains at four-month follow-up.

Vincent CA, Journal of Psychosomatic Research 1990; 34(5):553-61

Acupuncture Effective for Chronic Headaches
1) The researchers determined the effects of acupuncture on patients with chronic headaches, particularly migraines. They randomly allocated patients to receive up to 12 acupuncture treatments over three months or to a control intervention offering usual care.

• After a year, headaches were lower in the acupuncture group than in controls. Patients in the acupuncture group experienced the equivalent of 22 fewer days of headache per year (8 compared to 38). Compared with controls, patients randomized to acupuncture used 15% less medication, made 25% fewer visits to general practitioners and took 15% fewer days off sick.

CONCLUSION: The researchers concluded that acupuncture leads to persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine.
Vickers AJ, et al. British Medical Journal Pub 2004 Mar 15

2) In a study published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of medications.

CONCLUSION: Acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches, and to stimulate adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.

3) Long-Term Effect of Acupuncture on Headache
Recent studies concerning the use of acupuncture in migraine headaches show that some authors believe that improvement is due to a place¬bo effect, rather than an actual reduction of pain. In this study, questionnaires were sent to patients six months following acupuncture therapy for headaches.

Based on patient response, it was found that acupuncture treatment did, in fact, result in long-term effects. For a majority of headache patients, the frequency, duration and severity of attacks decreased significantly.
Gregory S Chen, University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama

4) A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, of 50 patient presenting with various types of headaches were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that >90% of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced either no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.

Migraine
Many controlled studies have shown Acupuncture to be useful in treating migraine:

1) Review of 22 randomized controlled trials
In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered "sham" acupuncture.

2) Acupuncture ver¬sus a variety of pharmacological therapies
In one of the largest studies of its kind to date, a team of investigators in Italy ex¬amined the effectiveness of acupuncture ver¬sus a variety of pharmacological therapies in treating migraines. Their results, pub¬lished in a recent issue of the Journal of Tra¬ditional Chinese Medicine revealed that patients given acupuncture experienced fewer migraine episodes, missed fewer days from work, and suffered no side effects com¬pared to patients on conventional drug therapy.

Patients were divided into two treatment groups, each consisting of 60, and asked to track the duration and severity of symptoms, side effects and work absences. One group wastreated with acupuncture with courses of 10 treatments, administered twice a week. The second group of patients received drug therapy consisting of two or three treat¬ments using a variety of pharmaceutical products

Results: Six months after receiving their first treatment, the average migraine value for a patient in the drug therapy group was 65.45, a reduction of nearly 46% from the start of care. For those in the acupuncture group, however, the results were even more dramatic: the average acupuncture patient's migraine values decreased nearly 80%.

Peripheral Neuropathy
Acupuncture in the Treatment of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

1) Acupuncture has been applied successfully by others in symptomatic peripheral diabetic neuropathy, as well as hypertension, and it has proven itself efficacious in the lowering of blood glucose in experimental animals.

• This study determined the effects of applying acupuncture on the vibration perception thresholds (VPT) of diabetic patients suffering from peripheral diabetic neuropathy.

The study group comprised 25 patients presenting consecutively, age range 54-72 yrs. all type 2 with duration of diabetes from 0 (newly discovered) to 22yrs. Each received at least 12 sessions (one cycle) of acupuncture treatment according to need and VPT was measured before and after each cycle of treatment.

• The average VPT before and after the first cycle of treatment recorded in these patients was: 27.0 before and 21.0 after treatment: a decrease of 22.2%.

CONCLUSION: Acupuncture can affect vibration perception thresholds, believed to be related to increased circulation, and hence the normalization of neural blood flow.
Diabetes, May 2000 by Lawrence Nwabudike, Constantin -Tirgoviste

2) 90 patients in this study, 53M/37F, were randomly divided into two groups of 45 patients each, a treatment group and a comparison group.

• Patients in the comparison group were asked to adhere to a relatively rigid diet and to engage in proper physical exercise. They were also administered glyburide orally, and vitamin B-1 and vitamin B-12 intramuscularly per day. Thirty days of this regime equaled one course of treatment.
• Patients in the treatment group received the same Western medical treatment described above. In addition, they also received acupuncture. Four to six acupoints were chosen each treatment, and treatment was given once per day. Thirty days of this regime also equaled one course of treatment.

Treatment Group outcomes:

• 31 cases (68.89%) got a marked effect, 13 cases (28.89%) got some effect, and one case (2.22%) got no effect. Therefore, the total effectiveness rate in the treatment group was 97.78%. In the comparison group, which was treated only with Western medicine, 20 cases (44.44%) got a marked effect, 15 cases (33.33%) got some effect, and 10 cases (22.23%) got no effect, for a total effectiveness rate of 77.77%. Follow up after six months found that the therapeutic effect in the acupuncture treatment group was stable.

Discussion:
This study conclusively shows that Western medicine combined with Chinese medicine is more effective than Western medicine alone. Further, not only was the combined acupuncture and Western medication regime more effective for the relief of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, it also was more effective for lowering the blood glucose levels.
Issue #3, 1999 of Zhong Guo Zhen Jiu (Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion)

Reynaud's syndrome
Treatment of primary Reynard’s syndrome with acupuncture.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluation of the effects of a standardized acupuncture treatment in primary Reynard’s syndrome.
DESIGN: A controlled randomized prospective study.
SETTING: A winter period of 23 weeks, angiological clinic of Hannover Medical School.
SUBJECTS: Thirty-three patients with primary Reynard’s syndrome (16 control, 17 treatment).
INTERVENTIONS: The patients of the treatment group were
given seven acupuncture treatments during the weeks 10 and 11 of the observation period.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: All patients kept a diary throughout the entire observation period noting daily frequency, duration and severity of their vasospastic attacks. A local cooling test combined with nailfold capillaroscopy
was performed for all patients at baseline (week 1) and in weeks 12 and 23, recording flow stop reactions of the nailfold capillaries.
RESULTS: The treated patients showed a significant decrease in the frequency of attacks from 1.4 day-1 to 0.6 day-1, P < 0.01 (control 1.6 to 1.2, P = 0.08). The overall reduction of attacks was 63% (control 27%, P = 0.03). The mean duration of the capillary flowstop reaction decreased from 71 to 24 s (week 1 vs. week 12, P = 0.001) and 38 s (week 1 vs. week 23, P = 0.02) respectively. In the control group the changes were not significant.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that traditional Chinese acupuncture is a reasonable alternative in treating patients with primary Reynard’s syndrome.
Appiah R, Hiller S, et al, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Dept. of Angiology,Germany.

Bell’s Palsy
1) A Multicentral Randomized Control Study on Clinical Acupuncture Treatment of Bell's Palsy.

METHODS: 480 cases from 4 hospitals were enrolled for this study, among which 439 cases completed the whole course of the study. The patients were randomly divided into the following 3 groups, a control group(treated with prednisone, vitamin B1, vitamin B12 and dibazol), an acu-moxibustion group (treated with filiform needle plus moxibustion), and a basic treatment plus acu-moxibustion group (treated with oral medicine like those in the control group plus acupuncture, and with moxibustion like in the acu-moxibustion group). The whole treatment course lasted 4 weeks. The therapeutic effects were evaluated according to the symptoms and signs, House-Brackmann grading scale and facial disability indexes(FDI).

RESULTS: All the 4 centers (hospitals) completed this study well, with no statistically significant difference found among the 4 centers in therapeutic effects. The patients with different conditions were well distributed in the 3 groups, thus the basic general data were comparable (P > 0.05). The therapeutic effects of the two treatment groups were better than the control group (respectively P < 0.05 and P < 0.01), and it was the best in the acu-moxibustion group (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Acupuncture and moxibustion may exert definite therapeutic effects on Bell's palsy, better than that of the basic treatment group or the basic treatment plus acu-moxibustion group.
The College of Acupuncture and Massage, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Sichuan 610075, China. Liang et al. PubMed: 16705841

2) Observation on electromyogram changes in 93 cases of peripheral facial paralysis(bell’s palsy) treated by point-through-point acupuncture.
Bioelectricity of the affected muscles at acute stage, recovery stage and sequel state in 93 cases of peripheral facial paralysis was observed with EMG.
Pathological potential or motor potential was found to be reduced to varying
degrees in all the affected muscles.
After treatment by point-through-point acupuncture, myodynamia recovered fairly rapidly, EMG showed obvious changes, pathological potential decreased, and the normal motor unit potential increased remarkably.
Comparative analysis of EMG before and after acupuncture indicated that point-through-point acupuncture had an obvious therapeutic effect on the
disease.
It was also very significant that EMG was used in diagnosing various
stages of peripheral facial paralysis, evaluation of prognosis and guidance in
clinical treatment.
Yuan H, et al, Tianjin College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

 
     
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