From the Lab, Research Radar

Acupuncture Treatment May Enhance the Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Medications and Improve Cognitive Function

Could needles be helpful in patients with mild cognitive impairment? Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese therapy that involves stimulating the body with very fine needles, has been applied in many different ways to treat a variety of conditions. A contributing factor to cognitive impairment is inflammation in the brain and the nervous system. Therefore, scientists recently explored the use of acupuncture and anti-inflammatory medications to improve cognition in mice. Using a mouse model for aging mice, they found that if they were administered the anti-inflammatory drugs, they had less inflammation and were better able to complete a maze. Likewise, when the mice were administered acupuncture, they also showed reduced inflammation and were more successful navigating the maze. Significantly, when the scientists combined the anti-inflammatory drugs with acupuncture, the benefits were additive: acupuncture enhanced the therapeutic and cognitive effects of the medication. While still experimental, acupuncture may prove to be a beneficial supplement to medications in the treatment of cognitive impairment.
Li G, et al. Acupuncture administration improves cognitive functions and alleviates Inflammation and nuclear damage by regulating phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/phosphoinositol-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1)/novel protein kinase C (nPKC)/rac 1 signaling pathway in senescence-accelerated prone 8 (SAM-P8) mice. Med Sci Monit. 2019;25:4082-4093. doi:10.12659/MSM.913858.