East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Neurological Issues



Treatment of epilepsy with acupuncture has been described in the Chinese medical literature since ancient times. Acupuncture may help reduce the number of attacks, possibly through release of cholecystokinin (CCK-8), a neuropeptide which possesses anti-epileptic activity (Oei et al 1992, Bajorek et al 1986, Kadar et al 1984, Zetler 1980). Oei et al demonstrated that high-frequency electroacupuncture (100 Hz) is more likely to increase the release of CCK-8 in the central nervous system than lower frequencies. This may explain the contradictory results of previous experiments which employed different frequencies. Studies have also shown that electrostimulation of the vagus nerve can be used on drug resistant epileptics with no adverse effects on cardiac, gastrointestinal or neurological function (Tougas et al 1992b, Upton et al 1991). Acupuncture may have a contributory effect by more peripheral and less invasive vagal stimulation (see the above section on GASTROINTESTINAL CONDITIONS for more on the vagus-mediated mechanism of acupuncture).

Shi Z, Gong B, Jia Y, Huo Z 1987 The efficacy of electroacupuncture on 98 cases of epilepsy. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 7:21-22. RESULTS: 98 cases. 66% had a marked reduction in the frequency of attacks and the worst responders had the least treatments.

Panzer R B, Chrisman C L 1994 An auricular acupuncture treatment for idiopathic canine epilepsy: A preliminary report. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 22:11-17. RESULTS: Ear acupuncture used on five epileptic dogs poorly controlle don medication. One did not respond, one responded partially, three were improved.

Wang, Yang, & Cheng 1994. Effect of electroacupuncture on the level of preproenkephalin mRNA in rat during penicillin-induced epilepsy. Acupuncture and Electro-therapeutics Research 19:129-140.RESULTS: inhibitory effect of electroacupuncture on epilepsy induced by microinjection of penicillin into the hippocampus and amygdala of rats.

Oei L T, Chen X H, Van Ree J, Hall J S 1992 Potentiation of electroacupuneture-induced analgesia by CCK-8 antagonist L-365, 260 in Wistar rats but not in acousticallyevoked epileptic rats. Acupuncture in Medicine X:47-52. RESULTS: High-frequency electroacupuncture (100 Hz) increases the release of CCK-8 (an anti-epileptic neuropeptide) in the central nervous system.

Petty (unpublished work 1992) confirmed a reduction in the number of seizures in a small series of patients who were given a course of treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy (reported in Medical Acupuncture, Filshie & White, 1998, p.242.)