fMRI review on brain responses to acupuncture: the limitations and possibilities in traditional Korean
ABSTRACT Since the late 1990s, imaging studies have allowed the visualization of brain response to acupuncture stimulation with alteration in blood flow. In 1998, the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study for the Korean acupuncture was published and thereafter, many subsequent neuroimaging studies with acupuncture have been published and revealed that acupuncture modulates central nervous system in human being. The purpose of this review is to summarize and evaluate the acupuncture studies using fMRI.
A survey of computerized literature searches for experimental studies of acupuncture studies using fMRI revealed that a total of 19 studies were published from 1998 to 2005.
These studies have mainly focused on the correlation between acupoints and corresponding brain cortices, acupoint-specific patterns of brain activity. The analgesic effect of acupuncture implied that the pain network, including the hypothalamus and limbic system, was induced by different kinds of acupuncture stimulation. There are still several limitations in these experimental designs.
We reviewed studies that contributed to an understanding of the neurophysiologic mechanisms of acupuncture with the hope that this review will be of benefit to the future traditional Korean acupunctural fMRI studies.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Younbyoung Chae, May 11, 2015
SourceAvailable from: Dong-Seon Chang[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Acupuncture is a therapeutic treatment that is defined as the insertion of needles into the body at specific points (ie, acupoints). Advances in functional neuroimaging have made it possible to study brain responses to acupuncture; however, previous studies have mainly concentrated on acupoint specificity. We wanted to focus on the functional brain responses that occur because of needle insertion into the body. An activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis was carried out to investigate common characteristics of brain responses to acupuncture needle stimulation compared to tactile stimulation. A total of 28 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, which consisted of 51 acupuncture and 10 tactile stimulation experiments, were selected for the meta-analysis. Following acupuncture needle stimulation, activation in the sensorimotor cortical network, including the insula, thalamus, anterior cingulate cortex, and primary and secondary somatosensory cortices, and deactivation in the limbic-paralimbic neocortical network, including the medial prefrontal cortex, caudate, amygdala, posterior cingulate cortex, and parahippocampus, were detected and assessed. Following control tactile stimulation, weaker patterns of brain responses were detected in areas similar to those stated above. The activation and deactivation patterns following acupuncture stimulation suggest that the hemodynamic responses in the brain simultaneously reflect the sensory, cognitive, and affective dimensions of pain. PERSPECTIVE: This article facilitates a better understanding of acupuncture needle stimulation and its effects on specific activity changes in different brain regions as well as its relationship to the multiple dimensions of pain. Future studies can build on this meta-analysis and will help to elucidate the clinically relevant therapeutic effects of acupuncture.The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society 02/2013; 14(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jpain.2012.11.011 · 4.22 Impact Factor
Acupuncture in Medicine 10/2012; 30(4). DOI:10.1136/acupmed-2012-010220 · 1.68 Impact Factor
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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