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19 August 2012
New research demonstrates that acupuncture protects the brain from deterioration due to strokes. In the study, researchers discovered that electro-acupuncture exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain following a stroke that is caused by a transient cerebral ischemic injury, a sudden loss of blood supply to the brain.
The researchers discovered that electro-acupuncture treatment activates a special alpha-7 nicotinic receptor located in the brain, alpha-7nAChR. Modern research confirms that alpha-7 nicotinic receptors are involved in the reduction of inflammatory neurotoxicity due to stroke, heart attack, sepsis and alzheimers disease. Acupuncture helps to protect the brain by activating alpha-7nAChR receptors. Once activated, they inhibit the release of HMGB1, a protein responsible for inflammation and necrosis.
Measuring the shutting down of HMGB1 release following a stroke is one of the first examples of mapping the exact biochemical mechanism by which acupuncture reduces brain cell death following a stroke. This helps to explain several beneficial effects measured in the study: electro-acupuncture reduces infarct volume, improves neurological outcomes, and inhibited neuronal apoptosis. The researchers conclude that electro-acupuncture provides “strong protection against transient cerebral ischemic injury….”
About HealthCMi: The Healthcare Medicine Institute provides acupuncture CEUs to licensed acupuncturists for acupuncture continuing education credit and publishes news related to acupuncture, herbal medicine and innovations in healthcare technology.
Journal of Neuroinflammation, 2012, 9:24. Electroacupuncture pretreatment attenuates cerebral ischemic injury through a7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-mediated inhibition of high-mobility group box 1 release in rats. Qiang Wang, Feng Wang, Xin Li, Qianzi Yang, Xuying Li, Ning Xu, Yi Huang, Qiaomei Zhang, Xingchun Gou, Shaoyang Chen and Lize Xiong.
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