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Effect of electroacupuncture on function and quality of life in Parkinson's disease: a case report



A 56-year-old man diagnosed in 2003 as having Hoehn & Yahr stage III Parkinson's disease (PD) came to our clinic in 2012 with slurred speech, right-sided bradykinesia, erectile dysfunction, rigidity, emotional instability and depression. His PD showed progressive signs with postural instability, moderate bilateral signs, and he rated 80% on the Schwab & England Activities of Daily Living Scale. A modified protocol of electroacupuncture was administered for a period of 5 weeks, six times per week, with each session lasting for 30 min. Assessments were based on the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) items, a disease-specific measure of subjective health status. He showed improvement on the BBS, suggesting improved functional status. His quality of life showed improvement particularly on the 'activities of daily living', 'cognition' and 'communication' dimensions of the PDQ-39. Acupuncture treatments in animal experiments have generated valuable mechanistic insights that could be relevant to PD, for example, demonstrating its neuroprotective potential from stimulation of various neuroprotective agents. The literature also suggests acupuncture may play a role in the improvement of motor function and quality of life in PD. Acupuncture is tolerated well by individuals with PD and should be considered as an integrative approach for their symptomatic management.

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