The neural substrates of verum acupuncture compared to non-penetrating placebo needle: An fMRI study
ABSTRACT Acupuncture, an ancient East Asian therapeutic technique, is currently emerging as an important modality in complementary and alternative medicine around the world. Several studies have provided useful information regarding neurophysiological mechanisms of acupuncture in human brain activation. We explored brain activation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and compared verum acupuncture to placebo needles. Two fMRI scans were taken in random order in a block design, one for verum acupuncture and one for non-penetrating placebo needles at the motor function-implicated acupoint LR2, on the left foot, in 10 healthy volunteers. We calculated the contrast that subtracted the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses between the verum and sham acupuncture. Verum acupuncture stimulation elicited significant activation in both motor function-related brain areas, including the caudate, claustrum, and cerebellum, and limbic-related structures, such as the medial frontal gyrus, the cingulate gyrus, and the fusiform gyrus. These findings suggest that acupuncture not only elicited acupoint-implicated brain activation, but also modulated the affective components of the pain matrix. The current investigation of the specific pattern of the brain activation related to genuine acupuncture provides new information regarding the neurobiological basis of acupuncture.
SourceAvailable from: Peggy Margaretha, Petronella, Carolina Bosch[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BackgroundAcupuncture is increasingly used as an additional treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).MethodsIn this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, brain activation in response to acupuncture in a group of 12 patients with PD was compared with a group of 12 healthy participants. Acupuncture was conducted on a specific acupoint, the right GB 34 (Yanglingquan), which is a frequently used acupoint for motor function treatment in the oriental medical field.ResultsAcupuncture stimulation on this acupoint activates the prefrontal cortex, precentral gyrus, and putamen in patients with PD; areas that are known to be impaired in patients with PD. Compared with healthy participants, patients with PD showed significantly higher brain activity in the prefrontal cortex and precentral gyrus, especially visible in the left hemisphere.ConclusionsThe neuroimaging results of our study suggest that in future acupuncture research; the prefrontal cortex as well as the precentral gyrus should be treated for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and that GB 34 seems to be a suitable acupoint. Moreover, acupuncture evoked different brain activations in patients with Parkinson’s disease than in healthy participants in our study, stressing the importance of conducting acupuncture studies on both healthy participants as well as patients within the same study, in order to detect acupuncture efficacy.Trial registrationKCT0001122 at cris.nih.go.kr (registration date: 20140530)Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-336) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 09/2014; 14(1):336. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-14-336 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Acupuncture stimulation increases local blood flow around the site of stimulation and induces signal changes in brain regions related to the body matrix. The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is an experimental paradigm that manipulates important aspects of bodily self-awareness. The present study aimed to investigate how modifications of body ownership using the RHI affect local blood flow and cerebral responses during acupuncture needle stimulation. During the RHI, acupuncture needle stimulation was applied to the real left hand while measuring blood microcirculation with a LASER Doppler imager (Experiment 1, N = 28) and concurrent brain signal changes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI; Experiment 2, N = 17). When the body ownership of participants was altered by the RHI, acupuncture stimulation resulted in a significantly lower increase in local blood flow (Experiment 1), and significantly less brain activation was detected in the right insula (Experiment 2). This study found changes in both local blood flow and brain responses during acupuncture needle stimulation following modification of body ownership. These findings suggest that physiological responses during acupuncture stimulation can be influenced by the modification of body ownership.PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e109489. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0109489 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Shaoyang acupoints are the most frequently used in migraine treatment. However, the central analgesic mechanism remains poorly understood. Studies have demonstrated that single stimulus of the verum acupuncture in healthy subjects can induce significant connectivity or activity changes in pain-related central networks compared with sham acupuncture. However, these findings are not indicative of the central analgesic mechanism of acupuncture at Shaoyang acupoints. Thus, we recruited 100 migraine sufferers and randomly assigned them into five groups: Shaoyang uncommon acupoint, Shaoyang common acupoint, Yangming uncommon acupoint, non-acupoint control, and blank control groups. Subjects were subjected to evaluation of curative effects and functional MRI prior to and after 10 and 20 acupuncture treatments. All subjects were diagnosed by physicians and enrolled following clinical physical examination. Subjects were observed during 1-4 weeks after inclusion. At the fifth week, the first clinical evaluation and resting functional MRI were conducted. The Shaoyang mon acupoint, Shaoyang common acupoint, Yangming uncommon acupoint, and non-acupoint control grousp then were treated with acupuncture, five times per week, 20 times in total over 4 weeks. The second and third clinical evaluations and resting functional MRI screenings were conducted following 10 and 20 acupuncture treatments. The blank control group was observed during the 5 to 8 week period, followed by clinical evaluation and resting functional MRI. The aim of this study was to examine changes in brain functional activity and central networks in subjects with migraine undergoing acu-puncture at Shaoyang uncommon acupoints. This study provides a further explanation of the central analgesic mechanism by which acupuncture at Shaoyang acupoints treats migraine.Neural Regeneration Research 10/2013; 8(28):2649-55. DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.28.007 · 0.23 Impact Factor