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Acupuncture modulates resting state hippocampal functional connectivity in Alzheimer disease

PLoS One. 2014 Mar 6;9(3):e91160. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091160. eCollection 2014.

Editor: Daqing Ma, Imperial College London, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, United Kingdom

Received August 19, 2013; Accepted February 10, 2014; Published March 6, 2014

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.


Wang Z1, Liang P2, Zhao Z1, Han Y3, Song H3, Xu J4, Lu J1, Li K5.


Our objective is to clarify the effects of acupuncture on hippocampal connectivity in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty-eight right-handed subjects (14 AD patients and 14 healthy elders) participated in this study. Clinical and neuropsychological examinations were performed on all subjects. MRI was performed using a SIEMENS verio 3-Tesla scanner. The fMRI study used a single block experimental design.

We first acquired baseline resting state data during the initial 3 minutes and then performed acupuncture stimulation on the Tai chong and He gu acupoints for 3 minutes. Last, we acquired fMRI data for another 10 minutes after the needle was withdrawn. The preprocessing and data analysis were performed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM5) software. Two-sample t-tests were performed using data from the two groups in different states.

We found that during the resting state, several frontal and temporal regions showed decreased hippocampal connectivity in AD patients relative to control subjects. During the resting state following acupuncture, AD patients showed increased connectivity in most of these hippocampus related regions compared to the first resting state.

In conclusion, we investigated the effect of acupuncture on AD patients by combing fMRI and traditional acupuncture. Our fMRI study confirmed that acupuncture at Tai chong and He gu can enhance the hippocampal connectivity in AD patients.

PMID: 24603951 [PubMed – in process]  PMCID: PMC3946345

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Acupuncture Modulates Resting State Hippocampal Functional Connectivity in Alzheimer Disease

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