Medical Research

Acupuncture Mechanisms: Habituation

Kristen Sparrow • May 17, 2014


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I love this study.  It is suggesting a novel, and reasonable model for acupuncture’s effectiveness over time.  Habituation is a topic I know nothing about, indeed, never really thought about except in regards to opiates.  This study lays out a working hypothesis using fMRI showing that acupuncture meets the criteria for habituation, and might achieve its results by the habituation feature of generalizing to other stimuli.  They cite the 10 features of habituation.  Nice!!  My main quibble, and it’s actually more than a quibble, is that they still just did one day of acupuncture, at least as far as I can tell. Multiple session in a row in the MRI scanner, but still.  Not exactly how acupuncture is usually done.  But maybe should be??  My other quibble, come to think of it, is that they used healthy volunteers.  I know that’s certainly easier, but hard to generalize the findings.