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Research: Stroke


October 2009
Effects of Electroacupuncture Treatment on Impaired Cognition and Quality of Life in Taiwanese Stroke Patients
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine;
Volume 15, Issue 10, pages 1067-1073.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of electroacupuncture on cognitive function and health-related quality of life in patients who have had a stroke. DESIGN: This clinical trial employed a prospective, randomized, single-blind design. SETTINGS/LOCATION: The study was conducted at the department of rehabilitation medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. SUBJECTS: Thirty-eight (38) participants were recruited, but only 33 completed the study. Seventeen (17) stroke participants with cognitive impairment were assigned to the treatment group and 16 were assigned to the control group. INTERVENTIONS: Electroacupuncture was applied to acupuncture points PC6 and HT7 for 20 minutes twice a week for 8 weeks in the treatment group, while participants in each group continued rehabilitation. OUTCOME MEASURES: Cognitive assessment (LOTCA-G) and quality-of-life assessment (SF-36 and SS-QOL) were carried out in each group at baseline and at 8 weeks after treatment. RESULTS: Significant improvement was detected in four subtests of LOTCA-G: orientation, perception, praxis, and attention ( p<0.05) between treatment and control groups. Significant improvement was also indicated in subscales of SF-36 (RP, VT, SF, RE, MH, MCS) and SS-QOL (language) ( p<0.05). No correlation was noted between the variables of LOTCA-G and SF-36/SS-QOL except four matches: Memory (LOTCA-G) and Mental Component Summary (SF-36): r=0.492; Memory (LOTCA-G) and Personality (SS-QOL): r=0.485; Praxis (LOTCA-G) and Language (SS-QOL): r=0.616; Orientation (LOTCA-G), and Language (SS-QOL): r=0.534. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study confirm a positive effect of electroacupuncture on cognition and quality of life in patients who had a stroke.

2008

Electroacupuncture May Help Motor Recovery in Chronic Stroke Survivors: A Pilot Study
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development; Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 587-595.
Past studies have suggested that acupuncture may reduce spasticity in stroke survivors. We do not know, however, whether acupuncture may enhance the effect of strength training on motor function. This study compared upper-limb motor functional improvement in chronic stroke survivors who received a combination of acupuncture and strength training with that of subjects who received strength training alone. A total of 10 chronic stroke patients with moderate or severe wrist muscle spasticity were recruited for this study. The study used a crossover design with a random order of either combined electroacupuncture and strength training or strength training alone. Each subject received one of the two types of treatment twice a week for the first 6 weeks and switched to the other for another 6 weeks. Quantitative measurements of wrist spasticity, active wrist extension range of motion, isometric wrist strength, and clinical evaluation with Fugl-Meyer (FM) upper-limb motor scores were conducted before and after either treatment. After the combined treatment, the quantitative spasticity level, active wrist extension range of motion (increased by a mean of 16.3 degrees), and FM upper-limb motor score (increased by a mean of 4.9 points) changed significantly (p < 0.01) but no significant changes were noted in isometric wrist strength. The strength training alone resulted in no significant changes to any measured variable. The results of the current study indicate that the combined acupuncture and strength training treatment reduced muscle spasticity and may have improved motor function for chronic stroke survivors with moderate or severe muscle spasticity.
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