Does Acupuncture Help with Vascular Dementia?

May 22, 2017

Some think acupuncture might help with vascular dementia.

Among dementias, vascular dementia is second only to Alzheimer’s as the most common form of significant cognitive impairment. It occurs when there is a reduced flow of blood to the brain due to diseased blood vessels.  (This often occurs as a result of a stroke or series of strokes.) When the blood vessels don’t function properly, not enough blood gets to the brain to enable it to function properly.

Scientists continue to work for treatments that can cure or affect the progress of the disease. There is still a great deal of work that must be done in these areas.

Some studies have looked at whether acupuncture might play a role in helping to treat vascular dementia. The results indicate that there may be some benefit for some patients.

Neurological Research

A 2006 study in the journal Neurological Research entitled “Effect of acupuncture treatment on vascular dementia” looked at 60 patients who were randomly divided into two groups; one group that received a special form of acupuncture treatment and one that did not. At the end of six weeks, the group receiving the special acupuncture had scored markedly higher on two tests determined to assess dementia-related issues.

Scientific World Journal

More recently, many of the same scientists published the results of another study on vascular dementia and acupuncture in a 2015 issue of The Scientific World Journal. In this study, 48 patients with vascular dementia were randomized to either an acupuncture group or a no acupuncture group; 20 patients who did not want to be randomized were put in an acupuncture group, but those results were looked at separately from the patients who were randomized. Again, the results showed that the patients who received acupuncture did score higher on tests looking at cognitive function.

However, many doctors are not convinced of the efficacy of acupuncture in treating this condition. Caregivers or patients who feel it might be worth considering should consult with their doctor in advance.

Jason Sager

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