Friday, 25 April 2014

Does acupuncture really work for Parkinson Disease?

University of Arizona doctors have found that acupuncture really does work for balance and gait disorders in Parkinson’s disease patients. The researchers measured significant clinical improvements in overall balance, gait speed and stride length. The results were published in Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The researchers convened to measure objective improvements on balance and gait for Parkinson’s disease patients through the implementation of acupuncture.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement. Changes include the onset of tremors, slower movements, shuffling, difficulty swallowing, fainting, reduced arm sway, rigidity and changes in speech and gait.

In the study, patients were randomly assigned to an acupuncture group or a control group. The acupuncture group received electro acupuncture. The control group received sham acupuncture to rule out variables including the placebo effect. Patients received one treatment per week for three weeks.

Balance and gait measurements were taken from various positions and during many types of activities.

The results showed an overall improvement in balance by 31% in the acupuncture group. Gait speed showed a significant increase by 10% and stride length increased by 5% for patients receiving acupuncture. Control group patients showed no improvements.

Balance, gait and stride length were all significantly improved by the application of electro acupuncture. Use of a sham acupuncture control group eliminated the possibility of the placebo effect. As a result, the researchers concluded, “EA (electro acupuncture) is an effective therapy in improving certain aspects of balance and gait disorders in PD (Parkinson’s disease).”

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