Acupuncture Stimulates Brain Areas Impaired in Parkinson’s Disease

An international study involving Korea, Europe and the US, has revealed that acupuncture stimulation of the point Yanglingquan near the knee, can activate areas of the brain which are known to be impaired in patients with Parkinson’s disease. In a comparison study, twelve patients (mean age 53) with Parkinson’s disease and twelve otherwise matched, healthy individuals, were needled at Yanglingquan whilst brain activity was observed using an fMRI scanner. The patients with Parkinson’s had their usual medication stopped 12 hours before the investigation.

The results showed that acupuncture stimulation had activated the prefrontal cortex, precentral gyrus and putamen in the patients with Parkinson’s; all these areas are known to be impaired in this disease. Furthermore, the characteristics of the activation were different for the two groups, and the patients with Parkinson’s displayed significantly higher post-acupuncture activity in the prefrontal cortex and precentral gyrus.

(Acupuncture on GB34 activates the precentral gyrus and prefrontal cortex in Parkinson’s disease. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 15 September 2014.