Medical Research

Acupuncture for Dementia in Rats

Kristen Sparrow • August 20, 2012

A bit of a stretch for relevancy, I know, but I’m drawing attention to this article because the science is pretty provocative, and the points are such easy ones.  They used the Jing Well points, which are next to the nail bed corners on the digits of the hands and feet (or fore and hind limbs.)  They used electro-acupuncture at these points which would be pretty painful in humans, but I’ve found the Jing Well points particularly useful for hot flashes.  I’m not sure why they decided to use these points for a dementia model in rats, maybe because the corollary points in humans are easy to identify.  I will highlight some of the pertinent findings below.  VD is the Vascular Dementia model using brain vessel occlusion.

J Tradit Chin Med. 2012 Jun;32(2):238-42.
Influences of electro-acupuncture at related jing-well points in rats with vascular dementia.
Shandong Normal University, Jinan, Shandong 250014, China.
To observe the effects of electro-acupuncture (EA) at related Jing-well Points (HT 9, PC 9, KI 1 and LU 11) in rats with vascular dementia (VD) and discuss the relative mechanism.
A randomized controlled animal experiment was designed. A total of 104 rats were involved in the present study and divided randomly into 4 groups: sham-operation group, model group, Jing-well Points group, and medication group. The VD model was established according to the modified 4-vessel occlusion (4-VO) method. VD rats in the Jing-well Points group were treated by EA at the related Jing-well Points (HT 9, PC 9, KI 1 and LU 11) while those in the medication group were treated with nimotop. The step-down avoidance test was performed before and after treatment in all rats. Latency and error frequency indexed memory function were recorded. Nitric oxide (NO) levels and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in both cerebral tissue and serum were detected after the treatment course.
A total of 42 rats were included in the final analysis. Compared with the model group, the latency in the Jing-well Points group was significantly prolonged (P < 0.01) and the error frequency was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) after therapy; the decrease in NO levels in both brain tissue and serum was significant (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively); and the increase in SOD activity was also significant (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in latency, error frequency, NO levels and SOD activity between the Jing-well Points group and medication group.
EA at related Jing-well Points can remarkably improve memory impairment in VD rats. Moreover, decreasing the overproduction of NO and strengthening the ability of eliminating free radicals may provide therapeutic potential for the treatment of VD.