[Correlation analysis on changes between cognitive ability and brain fMRI after acupoint thread embedding in Alzheimer's disease patients]

Author: Zhou YL, Han HY, Jia JP.
Department of Acupuncture, the Third Hospital of Henan Traditional Chinese Medicine College, Zhengzhou 450008.
Conference/Journal: Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi.
Date published: 2008 Aug
Other: Volume ID: 28 , Issue ID: 8 , Pages: 689-93 , Special Notes: [Article in Chinese] , Word Count: 350

OBJECTIVE: To explore the mechanism of acupoint thread embedding (ATE) in treating Alzheimer's disease (AD) by means of brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). METHODS: Twenty-six patients with mild to moderate AD were assigned to the tested group and the control group in pairing, 13 in each group. ATE was performed in patients of the tested group at Shenmen (HT7), Fenglong (ST40), Taixi (KI3) and Zusanli (ST36) acupoints, once every month for 6 times in total; but for patients of the control group only sham operation was done at the same acupoints. The correlation between cognitive ability and fMRI were assessed by comparing the scores of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Alzhemer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive section (ADAS-Cog), monitored at two time points, namely, in one week before starting treatment and 1 week after terminating 6-month treatment. Furthermore, fMRI was detected to obtain the data of the cerebral blood oxygen content before treatment and 6 months after completing the 6-month therapeutic course. Correlation analysis was conducted on the obtained data using software SPM. RESULTS: After treatment, changes of MMSE score significently increased in the test group (P < 0.01) and decreased in the control group (P < 0.01), and ADAS-Cog decreased in the test group (P < 0.01) and increased in the control group (P < 0.05), showing statistical significance between the two groups (P < 0.01, P < 0.05). The activated regions related with the change of MMSE were mainly inferior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, superior frontal gyrus, transverse temporal gyrus, on the left cerebrum and superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, hippocampal gyrus, cingulate gyrus, postcentral gyrus, paracentral lobule on the right cerebrum; those related with change of ADAS-Cog were superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, fusiform gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, hippocampal gyrus on the left cerebrum, and superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, fusiform gyrus, transverse temporal gyrus, postcentral gyrus, middle occipital gyrus on the right cerebrum. CONCLUSION: ATE could improve the cognitive ability of AD patients, its possible mechanism may be through the activation on the cognition related regions of frontal, temporal lobe and marginal system, as well as those of cerebellum.