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October 2021

Neurol Res. 1998 ; 20 Suppl 1(): S28-32.

Effects of acupuncture on the oxygenation of cerebral tissue.

Litscher G, Schwarz G, Sandner-Kiesling A, Hadolt I, Eger E.

Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Graz, Austria.

Monitoring of regional cerebral oxygen saturation (r. cereb. O2 satn.) was carried out continuously in 12 healthy subjects (mean age 35.2 +/- 4.4 years; range 26-41 years; 4 women, 8 men), prior to, during and following acupuncture. Measurements were obtained with the INVOS 3100 cerebral oximeter (Somanetics Corp., Troy, USA). In addition new robotic transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD) probes enabling three-dimensional imaging of the middle cerebral artery by the use of multi-scan techniques were used simultaneously. The results showed small increases in r. cereb. O2 satn. mean values (69.9% before, 70.3% during and 70.2% after acupuncture) and a significant (p < 0.01; ANOVA, Tukey test) increase in mean bloodflow velocity during acupuncture measured simultaneously at different depths within the right middle cerebral artery. There are reports in the literature about the effects of acupuncture on the oxygenation of cerebral tissue in a study with animals. An increase in the cerebral oxygen saturation could be registered with the help of microelectrodes in the cortex. This is parallel evidence to the present results with near infrared spectroscopy and transcranial Doppler sonography. Quantifiable changes in the physiological effects of acupuncture may contribute to improved acceptance of this unconventional complementary medical procedure.

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