A study has found that acupuncture may be effective in treating anxiety in Parkinson’s patients

Research suggests that acupuncture may be a beneficial treatment for those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease (PD) suffers from anxiety.

In patients with Parkinson’s disease, anxiety is associated with persistent anxiety, muscle tension, lack of concentration, and increased tremors. Just over 30% of Parkinson’s patients report symptoms of anxiety, which leads to a deterioration in their overall health.

Symptoms of anxiety are significantly associated with the accelerated progression of Parkinson’s disease in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Study investigators, led by Li-Xing Zhuang, MD, and Jing Zhi Fan, MD, from First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, investigated the topic in part because of the paucity of information about acupuncture’s efficacy in treating Parkinson’s disease.

“Acupuncture aimed at relieving anxiety has clinical implications with good compliance. However, we were unable to find data to confirm the benefit of acupuncture for anxiety in PD.” “Thus, we conducted this double-blind clinical trial to investigate the effect of acupuncture on anxiety in Parkinson’s disease.”

Search and methods

The researchers used a double-blind, randomized clinical trial, placing study participants in either an intervention group or a control group and having them receive clinical monitoring (CM). The intervention arm received real acupuncture (RA) and the control arm received what the researchers called “sham acupuncture” (SA).

In total, 70 patients—34 women and 36 men—with Parkinson’s disease were recruited for the study, and were enrolled from June 2021 to February 2022. A total of 64 patients were able to complete the full intervention and 8-week follow-up. PD patients were given either RA or SA for 8 weeks.

The investigators used the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) to record participants’ anxiety levels during the procedure. Their secondary endpoints included scores on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) as well as the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39). Also included were the levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol (CORT) measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

The research team calculated PDQ-39, HAM-A, and UPDRS scores for PDQ patients at baseline, immediately after treatment, and then 8 weeks after treatment.

Results

The researchers reported that the RA study arm had a mean HAM-A score reduction of 4.38 (95% CI, -5.12 to -3.63; s <.001) at baseline compared to the SA arm, participants in the RA group did not have a significant reduction in HAM-A score at treatment completion (0.22). [95% CI, −0.63 to 1.07]; s = .62). Despite this fact, they noted that after the follow-up meeting, participants in the RA group reported a statistically significant decrease of 7.03 points for HAM-A (95% CI, 6.18 to 7.88; s <.001) compared to the other group.

The research team also reported significant changes after treatment follow-up after 8 weeks for the study’s secondary end points. At the end of treatment, there was no statistically significant change in PDQ-39 affective (EW) and UPDRS scores, but after follow-up, the RA group was significantly different from the SA group (UPDRS I: 3.40). [95% CI, 2.36 to 4.45]; s <.001; PDQ-39-EW: 2.13 [95% CI, 1.15 to 3.10]; s <.001).

They wrote: “To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial of the efficacy of an acupuncture treatment regimen targeting anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s.” “There was no significant difference in the degree of improvement between the RA and SA groups after acupuncture. However, we found that after two months of treatment, the improvement … of participants in the RA group was better than those in the SA group.”

The researchers added that anxiety in Parkinson’s patients experienced clinical improvement after the 8-week follow-up, indicating that the placebo effect would have disappeared during that time if it had in fact affected those in the rheumatoid arthritis group.

this study, “Efficacy of acupuncture for anxiety among patients with Parkinson’s: a randomized clinical trial‘online at JAMA Network is open.