Can Acupuncture Improve Memory?
China Acupuncture Study
Min Deng, from the Department of Neurology at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in China, and Xu-Feng Wang, from the Department of General Surgery at Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, conducted a study on acupuncture. They wanted to discover can acupuncture improve memory.
As a result, evidence presented in “Acupuncture in Medicine” shows effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for pre-dementia. However, authors advise that further studies are required to present a more accurate outcome. When used in combination with other treatment, acupuncture may assist with improving the mild cognitive impairment. (Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal cognitive decline in the elderly and the onset of dementia.)
More than 16 million people in the US suffer from mild to severe cognitive impairment. Every year, between 5 to 10% of those affected will develop dementia. To examine whether acupuncture could be a reliable technique for AMCI, researchers compared it to nimodipine. The participants, ranging in age from 26 to 94 were treated with acupuncture three to five times a week for eight weeks in four trials and for three months in another trial.
Participants receiving acupuncture had better outcomes than those receiving nimodipine. They achieved better scores on two of the principal tests used to assess AMCI: the mini-mental state exam and picture recognition. Acupuncture in conjunction with nimodipine significantly improved mini-mental state exam scores when compared with nimodipine alone. Three of the trials reported adverse effects, including fainting and slow bleeding (errhysis) at needle sites for acupuncture, and gut symptoms and mild headache for nimodipine.
In conclusion, the results of this meta-analysis suggest that acupuncture therapy has a significant positive effective on cognitive and memory function in patients with AMCI compared with nimodipine alone. The results also show that acupuncture is effective as an adjunctive treatment to nimodipine for AMCI.
Authors of the study noted that the quality of the research was poor. They agreed that they need more thorough studies with more participants to fairly assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for patients suffering from AMCI. Other variables and limitations were that the trial design didn’t take into account the potential placebo effects. Also, since the trials were carried out in China, participants viewed acupuncture as an acceptable and beneficial treatment.