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Transcranial current stimulation

There are a number of new studies on transcranial direct current stimulation and on transcranial magnetic stimulation. The newly discovered benefits of these therapies include pain relief, treatment for major depression, cognitive enhancement (including speeding up learning, creativity enhancement, and improving mathematical abilities, etc.).

Are these new transcranial therapies really novel? The treatment seems to be strikingly similar to scalp electroacupuncture, which has been used safely and effectively for decades.

We have numerous studies supporting scalp acupuncture for treatment of conditions such as

Acupuncture is much cheaper compared to transcranial therapies

  • US$300 is a cost of a typical transcranial magnetic stimulation session
  • NZ$70 (US$57) cost of a typical acupuncture session in New Zealand

As brain mapping techniques are becoming more accessible and we’re getting a better understanding of the human brain. This opens opportunities to design new treatments for numerous other conditions with electro-acupuncture, transcranial current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The image: mapping of the White Matter fibers

Parkinson’s disease – acupuncture helps to regulate dopamine

Lead researcher Sabina Lim at Kyung Hee University in Seoul used a standard mouse model of inducing Parkinson’s disease, in which injections of a chemical known as MPTP kill off brain cells that manufacture dopamine.

Some of the injected mice were then administered acupuncture specific to treatment of Parkinson’s.

Another group of mice received acupuncture in two spots on the hips, not believed to be effective for Parkinson’s, while a third group had no acupuncture at all.

By the end of seven days, the MPTP injections had decreased dopamine levels both in the mice that had not had acupuncture, and in the mice that received ‘pretend’ acupuncture, to about half the normal amount. But in the acupuncture-treated group, dopamine levels declined much less steeply, and nearly 80% of the dopamine remained.

The study has been published in Brain Research1. (ANI)