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Determining the Precise Cerebral Response to Acupuncture: An Improved fMRI Study
Published: Friday, November 09, 2012
Author: Hua Liu et al.

by Hua Liu, Jianyang Xu, Baoci Shan, Yongzhong Li, Lin Li, Jingquan Xue, Binbin Nie

Background

In acupuncture brain imaging trials, there are many non-acupuncture factors confounding the neuronal mapping. The modality of the placebo, subjects’ psychological attitude to acupuncture and their physical state are the three most confounding factors.

Objective

To obtain more precise and accurate cerebral fMRI mapping of acupuncture.

Design and Setting

A 2×2 randomized, controlled, participant-blinded cross-over factorial acupuncture trial was conducted at Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing, China.

Participants

Forty-one college students with myopia were recruited to participate in our study and were allocated randomly to four groups, Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D.

Interventions

Group A received real acupuncture (RA) and treatment instruction (TI); Group B received RA and non-treatment instruction (NI); Group C received sham acupuncture (SA) and TI; Group D received SA and NI.

Results

Stimulation at LR3 activated some areas of the visual cortex, and the cerebral response to non-acupuncture factors was complex and occurred in multiple areas.

Conclusions

The results provide more evidence regarding the credibility of acupuncture therapy and suggest that more precise experimental designs are needed to eliminate sources of bias in acupuncture controlled trials and to obtain sound results.

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