Adding electro-acupuncture (EA) to drug treatment can benefit Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, particularly those at an early stage of the disease, by reducing both motor and non-motor symptoms, possibly through its anti-inflammatory effect on brain cells. Chinese scientists randomly assigned 50 PD patients to either drug treatment plus EA (D+EA) group, or a drug only (D) group. Those in the in D+EA group received EA at Dazhui DU-14, Fengfu DU-16 and bilateral Fengchi GB-20 and Hegu L.I.-4. Participants received EA (100 Hz at 1 A) for 30 minutes, once every three days and over a period of two months. Each course of EA treatment comprised 10 sessions and two courses were completed. D+EA treatment was found to significantly reduce Parkinson’s disease motor symptom scores in terms of tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia, compared with drug treatment alone. Depression and sleep disturbances were also markedly reduced by D+EA and this was correlated with elevated serum noradrenaline levels (depression in Parkinson’s is associated with loss of noradrenaline ennervation in the limbic system). In addition, D+EA treatment was associated with decreased serum nitric oxide (NO – a neuroinflammatory factor which can cause brain cell death) levels. D+EA treatment may thus slow down the progression of neurological inflammation by reducing NO release.
Effect and Potential Mechanism of Electroacupuncture Add-On Treatment in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:692795).