A Chinese experimental trial sought out more positive effects of acupuncture when applied during early rehabilitation of patients who suffered from acute ischemic stroke. It confirmed that the unconventional treatment benefited the patients and reduced the dysfunctions associated with stroke.
The study was supported by Zhejiang Chinese Medical University. It was published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The participants consisted of 250 post-stroke patients. They were randomly divided into two groups, the acupuncture and non-acupuncture groups. Members of the acupuncture group underwent 18 acupuncture sessions over the course of three weeks.
The primary outcome measured was neurologic deficits. The secondary outcomes were motor function, swallowing function, cognitive function, and adverse reactions to acupuncture.
Participants who underwent acupuncture treatment displayed significant improvements in their neurologic health, as well as their abilities to swallow and think. However, they did not demonstrate any improvements in their motor function.
Excepting motor function, all variables showed positive changes compared to their starting measurements. While the lower extremity subscale of motor function did show considerable enhancement, no such increase appeared for the upper extremity subscale.
A larger number of acupuncture group members made recoveries from stroke-related swallowing disorder. There were only a few cases of reactions to treatment, and they were all mild reactions.
The study indicated that acupuncture is a safe way of amending neurological problems and improving stroke-related dysfunctions involving swallowing, cognition, and lower extremity.
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Chen L, Fang J, Ma R, Gu X, Chen L, Li J, Xu S. ADDITIONAL EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE ON EARLY COMPREHENSIVE REHABILITATION IN PATIENTS WITH MILD TO MODERATE ACUTE ISCHEMIC STROKE: A MULTICENTER RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 18 July 2016;16(226). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1193-y.