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Acupuncture in the News

Possible Basis for Acupuncture Improvement of Ischemia Discovered

The National Institutes for Health published a study which suggests a possible mechanism for acupuncture's salutary effect upon neuronal health, post-ischemic event. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21570693]

The abstract reads,

Ischemia impairs brain function and networks, in which the vulnerability of GABAergic neurons causes neural excitotoxicity and nerve cell death. Acupuncture presumably improves the outcome of stroke patients; however, cellular mechanisms underlying this improvement remain to be elusive. We have investigated whether electrical stimuli to acupoint Baihui prevent ischemia- induced impairment of cortical GABAergic neurons. After acupuncture to a Baihui-point of mice for a week, we examined the responses of cortical GABAergic neurons to ischemia by whole-cell recording. Compared with the data from a group of ischemia only, the acupuncture prevents the impairments of spike encoding and synaptic transmission at GABAergic neurons from ischemia. This prevention is associated with the resistance of these cells to ischemia-induced changes in spike threshold potentials and refractory periods Therefore, acupuncture to Baihui-point improves ischemic stroke via preventing the impairment of cortical GABAergic neurons.