School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
We studied cerebral effects of complementary acupuncture in Parkinson's disease using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) measures of 99mTc-ECD and 99mTc-TRODAT-4, before and after five weeks of treatment. Ten patients were randomly assigned to receive levodopa alone (controls) or levodopa and complementary scalp electro-acupuncture. Before treatment, no hemispheric regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) differences were found, whereas striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) activity was lower in the most affected hemisphere. Treatment with levodopa alone did not change rCBF, whereas it increased basal ganglion DAT activity in the most affected hemisphere. Patients who received levodopa and complementary acupuncture had increased rCBF in the frontal lobe, the occipital lobe, the basal ganglion, and the cerebellum in the most affected hemisphere as compared to baseline, but there were no changes in basal ganglia DAT levels. Thus, complementary acupuncture treatment in Parkinson's disease may affect rCBF but not basal ganglion DAT.
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