Acupuncture in Subacute Stroke: No Benefits Detected.

Author: Zhu Y, Zhang L, Ouyang G, Meng D, Qian K, Wang T.
Y. Zhu, Department of Rehabilitation, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.
Conference/Journal: Phys Ther
Date published: 2013 May 30
Other: Word Count: 245

There is debate around the effect of acupuncture on stroke with key reviews unable to find evidence of effect. This may be due to poor study design, small sample size and insufficient theoretical background.
The present study was designed to determine if acupuncture combined with conventional physical therapy improves motor function and activities of daily living in subacute stroke patients compared to conventional physical therapy alone.
Multicenter, single-blinded, randomized study.
Four rehabilitation centers in the Jiangsu province of China participated in this study.
One hundred and eighty-eight patients with subacute stroke admitted to the hospital were randomized into an acupuncture group and a conventional rehabilitation group.
A combination of body and scalp acupuncture was used for three months in the acupuncture group. All patients underwent conventional stroke rehabilitation.
The Fugl-Meyer Assessment(FMA) and Barthel Index(BI) were performed at baseline, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months after inclusion in the study.
No statistically significant differences were found at baseline between the groups. No statistically significant differences were found between the groups using the FMA motor scores and the BI scores at baseline, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months. Significant improvements were found in each group following treatment.
In patients with subacute stroke, the addition of body and scalp acupuncture to a regimen of conventional physical therapy does not result in further improvement in either motor function or activities of daily living beyond the effect of conventional physical therapy alone.
PMID: 23723385