Researchers have shown that adding acupuncture to routine care, can benefit patients with vascular dementia. A total of 68 patients received either usual care, or usual care plus acupuncture. Up to 21 acupuncture sessions were given over a 6 week period. Patients were included in the study provided dementia had been diagnosed before they were 80 years old, and provided they had no other neurodegenerative conditions. Usual care comprised prescribed medication plus a weekly telephone call to enquire about their health.
At the end of the 6 week treatment period, and again at follow-up after a further 4 weeks, patients who had received acupuncture performed better than the control group on tests of cognitive function. They also reported less interference from dementia with their daily activities. The authors point out that recent international policy guidelines aim to promote independence in dementia patients, and there exists a rising interest in nonpharmacological interventions.
(Acupuncture for Vascular Dementia: A Pragmatic Randomized Clinical Trial. The Scientific World Journal, 2015.)