Could you respond to acupuncture with your migraines?

Migraines is characterized by recurrent episodes of severe headaches that are often unilateral and are often accompanied by symptoms of autonomic nervous system dysfunction, such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and phonophobia. Acupuncture is used to treat migaraines and achieved good effects, but not everyone responds to the treatment. Why is that? A study solved this mystery.

Forty-one patients with migraines were recruited and offered 4 weeks of acupuncture treatment and two brain imaging sessions at the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital affiliated with Capital Medical University. Patients were asked to keep a headache diary for 4 weeks before treatment and during acupuncture treatment. Those with at least a 50% reduction in the number of migraine days were defined as responders.

Results showed that after 4 weeks of acupuncture, 19 patients were responded to acupuncture treatments. 10 brain areas changed to the treatments include the frontal, temporal, parietal, precuneus, and cuneus gyri. The reduction in the number of migraine days was correlated with baseline brain gray matter volume in the cuneus, parietal, and frontal gyri in all patients. Moreover, the left cuneus showed a longitudinal increase in GM volume in responders. The results suggest that pre-treatment brain structure could be a novel predictor of the outcome of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines. Imaging features could be a useful tool for the prediction of acupuncture efficacy, which would enable the development of a personalized medicine strategy.

References
Yan XJ et al Front Neurol. 2020 Mar 5;11:111. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00111. eCollection 2020.

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