Study Shows Basis for Acupuncture's effect upon Spinal Nerve Cell Recovery
Excerpted from an article in the New Scientist which reports on a study which aims to reveal why acupuncture is so useful for helping repair spinal nerve damage:
Rats with damaged spines can walk again thanks to acupuncture. . . . the ancient treatment seems to stop nerve cell death by reducing inflammation. Acupuncture's scientific credentials are growing. Trials show that it improves sensory and motor functions in people with spinal cord injuries.
To find out why, Doo Choi and his colleagues at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, damaged the spines of 75 rats. One-third were given acupuncture in two locations: Shuigou – between their snout and mouth, and Yanglingquan – in the upper hind leg. Others received no treatment or "simulated acupuncture".
After 35 days, the acupuncture group were able to stand at a steeper incline than the others and walk better. Staining their paws with ink revealed that their forelimb-hindlimb coordination was fairly consistent and that there was very little toe dragging, whereas the control groups still dragged their feet.
The rats in the acupuncture group also had less nerve cell death and lower levels of proteins known to induce inflammation after spinal cord injury and make neural damage worse.
Journal reference: Neurobiology of Disease, DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2010.04.003