Acupuncture improves cognitive function in Alzheimer’s

Objective: To determine acupuncture-related treatments’ effects and duration on improving cognitive function, physical function, and quality of life in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Data sources: Eight electronic databases were searched for eligible randomized controlled trials from database inception to January 2021, including Medline, PubMed, EBSCO, Embase, Cochrane, Airiti Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and China Journal Full-text Database.

Review methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted on acupuncture types, cognitive function, activity of daily life, muscle strength and quality of life.

Results: Sixty-six studies in total with 4191 participants, the overall risk of bias was classified 60% as low and 24% as high. Acupuncture-related treatments for cognitive function and self-care ability revealed a moderate effect size, with a significant difference in noninvasive and invasive remedies (p < 0.001).

Cognitive function showed significant differences in 6, 8, 12, and 24 weeks while self-care ability in the latter two weeks (p < 0.001). Meta-regression analysis showed cognitive function increased by 0.05 points (p = 0.002) and self-care ability decreased by 0.02 points (p = 0.04) after weekly treatment. There was a significant difference in muscle strength (p = 0.0003).

Conclusion: Acupuncture-related treatments effectively improved cognitive function with the treatment lasted 6 weeks at least, but self-care ability started showing effects after 12 weeks of treatment. The improvement of muscle strength was also confirmed.

Acupuncture-related treatments, particularly noninvasive ones, have few complications and high safety, perhaps providing patients and caregivers diversified choices and clinical care guidelines for reference.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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