Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. One of the most common symptoms of PD is anxiety, which can have a significant impact on a patient's quality of life. While various treatments are available for anxiety, many of them come with unpleasant side effects.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. While the exact mechanisms of how acupuncture works are not fully understood, it is thought to stimulate the body's natural healing processes, release endorphins, and improve blood flow.
A clinical trial published in JAMA Network Open suggests that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for anxiety in patients with PD. The randomized clinical trial included 64 patients with PD and anxiety who underwent 8 weeks of either real acupuncture or fake acupuncture. Clinical monitoring was also included in both groups.
This study was done in a hospital and the patients were chosen at random to get either real acupuncture or sham acupuncture for 8 weeks. The people who did the acupuncture, the people who checked the results, and the people who did the math were not told which patients got which kind of acupuncture. The patients themselves also didn't know which group they were in.
The main thing the researchers wanted to know was how much anxiety the patients had, so they used a test called the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A). They also looked at some other things, like how bad the Parkinson's disease was (using a test called the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale or UPDRS), how much the disease affected the patient's daily life (using a questionnaire called the 39-item Parkinson Disease Questionnaire or PDQ-39), and some hormones in the patient's blood (called adrenocorticotropic hormone or ACTH, and cortisol or CORT).