Research: BERGAMASCHI and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 194

Abstract

BERGAMASCHI and COLLEAGUES, First Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy tested the effectiveness of auriculopuncture and ultralow-power laserpuncture versus placebo (sham stimulation) in improving postural control in an elderly population.

Background

The risk of falling is rather high among elderly people. Indexes obtained through the Romberg stabilometric test on a force platform have been suggested to be correlated with the risk of falling.

Methodology

Balance performance was measured on a force platform before and after both forms of stimulation.

Results

Main balance parameters pointed to an average short-term improvement of about 15% 1 hour after treatment and 5-10% after an interval of 3 days. However, a few participants showed a better than 30% improvement with the same parameters. Although the sample size does not allow reliable statistical analysis, the modifications are remarkable and some differences are observed between the two kinds of stimulation. Further testing with larger sized groups and including one further group using both stimulations is suggested. DISCUSSION: Although postural instability has to be defined as multi-factorial, it is often associated with balance dysfunctions that cannot be related to vestibular or central impairments but rather to proprioceptive deficits. A significant role may be ascribed to (even subliminal) nociceptive interferences with proprioceptive inputs and to a reduced capacity for updating cortical motor control models in the case of progressively declining locomotor capabilities.

Conclusion

The explanation tentatively put forward to account for the results observed in the present preliminary study is that laser acupuncture and auriculopuncture stimulations reduce nociceptive interference and thus improve postural control.

References

Bergamaschi M, Ferrari G, Gallamini M and Scoppa F. Laser acupuncture and auriculotherapy in postural instability--a preliminary report. Source Jams Journal of Acupuncture & Meridian Studies. 4(1):69-74. Mar 2011.

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