Evaluation of conventional treatment versus acupuncture on brain activity in ischemic stroke patients

Do ischemic stroke patients recover better if they under acupuncture, or conventional treatment? A group of researchers found out that the two ways of treatment are different from each other. However, it was acupuncture that improved symptoms of stroke patients by making significant changes in the sensory, emotional and motor aspects of their body.

They found out that acupuncture could reduce nervous and motor functional inadequacies and raise the stroke patient’s quality of life. Specifically, the experiment on 21 ischemic stroke patients from January 2011 to December 2013 yielded the following findings:

  • The acupuncture group had a higher regional homogeneity (ReHo) in the cerebellum after treatment compared to the one which did not receive the said treatment.
  • Cerebral activity rose in the BA6 frontal lobe of stroke patients who underwent acupuncture and conventional treatment. Researchers attributed this to stronger nerve fiber connections, heightened local neuronal synchronicity, and improved information transfer and process.
  • The acupuncture group showed higher clinical efficiency compared to the group that had conventional treatment.
  • Acupuncture patients showed greater improvement in terms of emotional and sensory functions. This could mean that acupuncture may have an effect on cerebral functions pertaining to the emotional and sensory areas.
  • Acupuncture and conventional treatment got a more massive cerebral response than a single application of conventional treatment, especially in areas of the brain related to emotional and sensory function.

Acupuncture treatment may have worked better in treating patients of ischemic stroke because it had a greater effect in the patient’s sensory, emotional, and motor areas, especially the middle temporal gyrus, cerebellum, and insula.


Ping W, Fang Z, Yongxin L, Ji L, Lihua Q, Wei Q, Lu L, Canxin Y, Yan X, Yu B, et al. EFFECT OF ACUPUNCTURE PLUS CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT ON BRAIN ACTIVITY IN ISCHEMIC STROKE PATIENTS: A REGIONAL HOMOGENEITY ANALYSIS. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. October 2017;37(5):650–658. DOI: 10.1016/S0254-6272(17)30319-9

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