Posted on Sep 12, 2018, 10 p.m.
Acupuncture has been used to alleviate some of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain, recent studies have shown it helped to improve cognitive function and overall clinical status of Alzheimer’s patients effectively and safely.
Although it takes time to progress the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, affecting the memory, disabling effective thinking, and can even change patient personality. Risk of developing the disease increase and become more likely with age, there are currently no known means of stopping or reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease available. Medicines such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine only relieve symptoms of the disease temporarily, such drugs are costly and can cause adverse events that almost always force and end to treatment; making the need to find an effective, affordable, and safe cure most important for patients around the globe.
Acupuncture has been used to help alleviate some of the symptoms of AD, however systematic review of data suggested that there was insufficient evidence to convince that acupuncture actually did anything to help improve patient cognitive function; and another review suggested the existing body of evidence has failed to demonstrate effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment. Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers conducted trials to determine effectiveness of acupuncture among those that have Alzheimer’s disease in response to such reviews.
Acupuncture was compared with the drug donepezil in patients suffering with mild to moderate cases of AD in a trial that lasted for 28 weeks. Cognitive abilities, daily activities, and behavior of participant was observed during the first four weeks to set baseline of comparison, which were measured again at week 12 and 24, with overall clinical status of patients recorded during weeks 16 and 28. Patients were divided into 2 groups: drug treatment group and acupuncture group. Acupuncture group subjects received basic acupoint treatment tailored to each subject undergoing tri-weekly acupuncture sessions for 12 weeks straight. Drug treatment subjects were given 5 mg of donepezil hydrochloride daily for the first four weeks which was increased to 10 mg during the last eight weeks of the trial.
During the trial and follow up period cognitive function and effect of treatment on overall clinical status of the subjects was assessed, basic and instrumental activities in the course of daily life, frequency and behavioral problems, and other forms of dementia were also evaluated. Safety of both treatments was analyzed, any instances of adverse events, serious events, and physical examination and vital signs were recorded.
Researchers reported acupuncture improved cognitive function and overall clinical status of subjects based on scores of the participants, effect of treatment on daily living and behavioral symptoms appeared to be limited. Acupuncture treatment was noted to be well tolerated, and none of the subjects receiving treatment dropped out due to adverse effects, as compared to four patients in the drug treatment group.
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