Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke
Your brain is a fascinating, complicated central processor made up of roughly 100 billion neurons! Acquired brain injuries such as a stroke or traumatic brain injuries, commonly referred to as concussions, have gained increasing medical attention recently to quickly diagnose and treat patients and prevent longer-duration symptoms and disabilities. Acupuncture plays a pivotal role in treating brain injuries by immediately regulating brain function, reducing neural inflammation, improving motor function, visceral function, and stabilising unexpected mood swings as the brain heals. Studies have also shown that acupuncture may be beneficial for the recovery of speech, motor skills, and cognition in stroke and TBI patients. (1) , (2), (3), (4), (5)
Acupuncture, now understood by the modern sciences of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and biochemistry, can be better understood than the traditional acupuncture system. In the case of an acquired brain injury, whether by stroke or trauma, it is the brain regions, neuro-activated by electroacupuncture, as confirmed by fMRI, that are of interest, and neurotransmitters, and their receptors that are stimulated by acupuncture – such as GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. How does acupuncture do this?
ACUPUNCTURE STIMULATES NERVES TO INFLUENCE THE PHYSIOLOGIC PLASTIC REACTIONS TO BRAIN INJURY (5)
1. Inhibition of brain neuronal apoptosis
2. Inhibition of aberrant astrocyte activation
3. Upregulation of neurotrophins expression
4. Regulation of blood lipid metabolism to counteract cerebral free radical damage
5. Enhanced neuroblast proliferation and differentiation
6. Reduction of blood-brain barrier permeability in intracerebral haemorrhage (caveolin-1/matrix metalloproteinase)
7. Upregulate expression of GDNF
8. Increase of GABA levels
9. Increased functional connectivity (xi) Reduce contents of excitatory amino acids
10. Promoting cerebral vascular immunoinflammatory reactions
Brain regions activated by acupuncture, as confirmed by fMRI are; Prefrontal cortex, Amygdala, Pituitary, Hypothalamus, Hippocampus, Visual cortex, Somatosensory regions, CNTS-caudal nucleus tractus solitarius, Vestibular system, Limbic system, PAG-periaqueductal grey, Basal Ganglia-Substantia nigra, subthalamic structures, and Language centers. (6)
Below are some interesting papers for medical minds.
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Neuroplasticity of Acupuncture for Stroke: An Evidence-Based Review of MRI
Role of Acupuncture in the Management of Severe Acquired Brain Injuries (sABIs)
Electroacupuncture treatment improves motor function and neurological outcomes after cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury
Acupuncture Improved Neurological Recovery after Traumatic Brain Injury by Activating BDNF/TrkB Pathway
The Effect of Acupuncture in Chronic Stage Stroke Patients With Aphasia