Jing-qi Fan, Ph.D., from the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine in China, and colleagues investigated the effect of acupuncture versus sham acupuncture for treating anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Sixty-four patients were randomly assigned to eight weeks of treatment with eight weeks of follow-up. Acupuncture operators, outcome measures evaluators, and statistical analysts were all blinded to the grouping of patients, and patients were blinded to their own grouping.
The researchers observed little variation of Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) scores between the real acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups at the end of treatment. The real acupuncture group had a significant 7.03-point greater reduction in the HAM-A score versus the sham acupuncture group at the end of follow-up. There were four mild adverse reactions reported during the study.
“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial of the effectiveness of an acupuncture treatment regimen targeted for anxiety in patients with Parkinson[‘s] disease,” the authors write. “These findings suggest that acupuncture may enhance the well-being of patients who have Parkinson[‘s] disease and anxiety.”