Parsing brain activity associated with acupuncture treatment in Parkinson's diseases.Mov Disord. 2009 Sep 15; 24(12):1794-802.MD
Acupuncture, a common treatment modality within complementary and alternative medicine, has been widely used for Parkinson's disease (PD). Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we explored the neural mechanisms underlying the effect of specific and genuine acupuncture treatment on the motor function in patients with PD. Three fMRI scans were performed in random order in a block design, one for verum acupuncture (VA) treatment, another one for a covert placebo (CP), and the third one for an overt placebo (OP) at the motor function implicated acupoint GB34 on the left foot of 10 patients with PD. We calculated the contrast that subtracts the blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) response for the acupuncture effect (VA vs. CP) and the placebo effect (CP vs. OP). We found a significant improvement in the motor function of the affected hand after acupuncture treatment. The putamen and the primary motor cortex were activated when patients with PD received the acupuncture treatment (VA vs. CP) and these activations correlated with individual enhanced motor function. Expectation towards acupuncture modality (CP vs. OP) elicited activation over the anterior cingulate gyrus, the superior frontal gyrus, and the superior temporal gyrus. These findings suggest that acupuncture treatment might facilitate improvement in the motor functioning of patients with PD via the basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit.