Lewith, George T., White, Peter J. and Pariente, Jeremie
Investigating acupuncture using brain imaging techniques: the current state of play
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2, (3), . (doi:10.1093/ecam/neh110).
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We have systematically researched and reviewed the literature looking at the effect of acupuncture on brain activation as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography. These studies show that specific and largely predictable areas of brain activation and deactivation occur when considering the traditional Chinese functions attributable to certain specific acupuncture points. For example, points associated with hearing and vision stimulates the visual and auditory cerebral areas respectively. Pain, however, is a complex matrix that is intimately intertwined with expectation. Acupuncture clearly affects this matrix in both specific and non-specific manner that is consistent with its specific clinical effects, as well as the effects of expectation on pain relief. This article summarizes the current imaging literature.
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