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Effect of Acupuncture Therapy for Postponing Wallerian Degeneration of Cerebral Infarction as Shown by Diffusion Tensor Imaging



Abstract Objective: One aim of this study was to investigate the effects of acupuncture on cerebral function of patients with acute cerebral infarction. Another goal was to evaluate the relationship between acupuncture treatment and motor recovery patients with stroke and to provide a foundation for using acupuncture therapy for such patients. Design: Twenty (20) patients with recent cerebral infarction were divided randomly to an acupuncture group and a control group. The infarction area in each patient was in the basal ganglia or included the basal ganglia with an area size of > 1 cm(2). Serial diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), and T2-weighted imaging (T(2)WI) scans were performed on all patients and the results were evaluated using the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale and the Barthel Index each week. DTI images were postprocessed and analyzed. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values of abnormal signals on DTI in the infarction areas and cerebral peduncles were calculated for both groups and compared with one another. Results: (1) The ADC value of infarction lesions decreased at stroke onset; then, a significant elevation was observed after the acute stage, and a significant reduction in FA values was observed from stroke onset to the chronic stage. (2) The ADC of the bilateral cerebral peduncle was reduced on the infarction side. (3) There was a significant difference in ADC and FA values between the acupuncture and control groups. The FA value was higher in the acupuncture group than the control group. Conclusions: ADC and FA values might correlate to patient recovery and reveal the progress of secondary degeneration. Acupuncture treatment is effective for protecting neurons and facilitating recovery.

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