While acupuncture is already known to reduce muscle pain and stress, scientists recently discovered that it might also help cognitive impairment, which is one of dementia’s symptoms and usually occurs before the disease gets complete hold of the person.
The study was performed by the Chinese researchers from Wuhan University.
Mild cognitive impairment is described as a level of the normal cognitive decrease caused by aging and the grave decline in dementia. While it is not sure how things may evolve, the apparition of the mild cognitive impairment may be a first sign that the disease is installing inside the brain.
„…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,” said the authors of the study.
The research involved 568 people from various trials, which were separated into two groups. The first group received acupuncture, and the second received only conventional medicine, a drug called nimodipine. The drug is used in Alzheimer’s disease, and it helps improving learning and cognitive performance.
The experiment followed three different stages, in order to verify the correctitude of the final results. Another part of the study involved measuring the effects of the two treatments combined, acupuncture and traditional medicine, on patients with mild cognitive impairment.
The participants had ages between 24 and 94 years old, and the acupuncture cure lasted two months, three or five times every week.
At the end of the treatment, the cognitive ability was tested with two instruments, picture recognition, and mini-mental state exam. Both tests are used in diagnosing dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
The results showed that the group who benefited from acupuncture treatment had better results than the group who only took nimodipine.
When it comes to the combined treatment, the results were significantly superior at the mini-mental state exam scores.
However, both treatments had side effects. For instance, some of the patients faint during the acupuncture treatment or showed slow bleeding at the needle’s point. As for nimodipine, it can cause a mild headache or gut symptoms.
Remains to be seen what patients will be brave enough to try the traditional Chinese cure. However, it’s still a good sign that the brain reacts to stimulation. Whatever might be the correct treatment for mild cognitive impairment, anything that keeps dementia away is more than welcome.
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