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Acupuncture Creates Changes in the Brain

            The limbic system is a part of the brain that influences the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system. Research appearing in Human Brain Map (2000;9:13-25) evaluated 13 subjects (five male and eight female). The subjects received acupuncture in the hand (at the Hegu point). The treatment produced a reduction in fMRI signals in the limbic system and the sub-cortical areas of the brain.

            Other research appearing in the December 1999 issue of Medical Tribune, evaluated brain activity in 12 subjects and the effect acupuncture had on pain. Seven of the subjects received acupuncture and five subjects received electro-acupuncture. Brain activity due to pain stimulation decreased in all of the subjects receiving electro-acupuncture and in four of the seven subjects receiving acupuncture without electric stimulation. Pain reduction from acupuncture has been shown to last up to six months in patients with migraine headaches.