Research: WONG and co-workers, Depa

Listed in Issue 88


WONG and co-workers, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China, present a clinical trial of acupuncture for patients with spinal cord injuries.


The objective of the study was to establish whether electrical acupuncture through adhesive surface electrodes, together with auricular acupuncture, could improve the neurological or functional recovery of patients suffering from traumatic spinal cord injury.


A total of 100 patients with acute traumatic spinal cord injuries were recruited for this trial. They were randomly divided into acupuncture and control groups. The acupuncture group received electrical acupuncture via adhesive surface electrodes to the bilateral S13 and B62 points. In auricular acupuncture, four acupoints related to the spinal cord were stimulated at the helix, antihelix, and lower portion of the ear-back areas. Acupuncture therapy was initiated early in the emergency room setting or soon after surgical intervention. At the same time, patients were offered rehabilitation therapy. Patients in the control group received only rehabilitation therapy. Neurological and functional scores were assessed at admission, at hospital discharge, and at one year follow-up.


There were significant improvements in neurological (sensory and motor) and functional scores both at hospital discharge and at one year follow-up in the acupuncture group compared to the control group. A greater percentage of patients in the acupuncture group recovered to a diminished degree of impairment.


The use of concomitant auricular and electrical acupuncture, when used early in acute spinal cord injury, can contribute to significant neurological and functional recovery.


Wong AMK, Leong CP, Su TY, Yu SW, Tsai WC, Chen CPC. Clinical trial of acupuncture for patients with spinal cord injuries. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 82 (1): 21-27, Jan 2003.


The above studies demonstrates the extent of clinical research ongoing using acupuncture for a wide range of conditions.

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