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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (4)
Articles by Erika E. Nixon in JoVE
Monitoring Acupuncture Effects on Human Brain by fMRI
Kathleen K. S. Hui1, Vitaly Napadow1, Jing Liu1, Ming Li1, Ovidiu Marina1,2, Erika E. Nixon1, Joshua D. Claunch1, Lauren LaCount1, Tara Sporko1, Kenneth K. Kwong1
1Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 2William Beaumont Hospital
FMRI and physiological monitoring is used to study the effects of Acupuncture on the central and peripheral nervous systems. Acupuncture mobilizes a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network, with great overlap with the default mode network, to modulate neurological activity, possibly related to its autonomic effect in the peripheral nervous system.
Other articles by Erika E. Nixon on PubMed
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17973984
Acupuncture stimulation elicits deqi, a composite of unique sensations that is essential for clinical efficacy according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). There is lack of adequate experimental data to indicate what sensations comprise deqi, their prevalence and intensity, their relationship to acupoints, how they compare with conventional somatosensory or noxious response. The objective of this study is to provide scientific evidence on these issues and to characterize the nature of the deqi phenomenon in terms of the prevalence of sensations as well as the uniqueness of the sensations underlying the deqi experience.
The Salient Characteristics of the Central Effects of Acupuncture Needling: Limbic-paralimbic-neocortical Network Modulation
Human Brain Mapping. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 18571795
Human and animal studies suggest that acupuncture produces many beneficial effects through the central nervous system. However, the neural substrates of acupuncture actions are not completely clear to date. fMRI studies at Hegu (LI4) and Zusanli (ST36) indicated that the limbic system may play an important role for acupuncture effects. To test if this finding applies to other major classical acupoints, fMRI was performed on 10 healthy adults during manual acupuncture at Taichong (LV3), Xingjian (LV2), Neiting (ST44), and a sham point on the dorsum of the left foot. Although certain differences could be observed between real and sham points, the hemodynamic response (BOLD signal changes) and psychophysical response (sensory experience) to acupuncture were generally similar for all four points. Acupuncture produced extensive deactivation of the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical system. Clusters of deactivated regions were seen in the medial prefrontal cortex (frontal pole, pregenual cingulate), the temporal lobe (amygdala, hippocampus, and parahippocampus) and the posterior medial cortex (precuneus, posterior cingulate). The sensorimotor cortices (somatosensory cortices, supplementary motor cortex), thalamus and occasional paralimbic structures such as the insula and anterior middle cingulate cortex showed activation. Our results provide additional evidence in support of previous reports that acupuncture modulates the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network. We hypothesize that acupuncture may mediate its antipain, antianxiety, and other therapeutic effects via this intrinsic neural circuit that plays a central role in the affective and cognitive dimensions of pain as well as in the regulation and integration of emotion, memory processing, autonomic, endocrine, immunological, and sensorimotor functions.
Brain Research. Sep, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19559684
Previous work has shown that acupuncture stimulation evokes deactivation of a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (LPNN) as well as activation of somatosensory brain regions. This study explores the activity and functional connectivity of these regions during acupuncture vs. tactile stimulation and vs. acupuncture associated with inadvertent sharp pain. Acupuncture during 201 scans and tactile stimulation during 74 scans for comparison at acupoints LI4, ST36 and LV3 was monitored with fMRI and psychophysical response in 48 healthy subjects. Clusters of deactivated regions in the medial prefrontal, medial parietal and medial temporal lobes as well as activated regions in the sensorimotor and a few paralimbic structures can be identified during acupuncture by general linear model analysis and seed-based cross correlation analysis. Importantly, these clusters showed virtual identity with the default mode network and the anti-correlated task-positive network in response to stimulation. In addition, the amygdala and hypothalamus, structures not routinely reported in the default mode literature, were frequently involved in acupuncture. When acupuncture induced sharp pain, the deactivation was attenuated or became activated instead. Tactile stimulation induced greater activation of the somatosensory regions but less extensive deactivation of the LPNN. These results indicate that the deactivation of the LPNN during acupuncture cannot be completely explained by the demand of attention that is commonly proposed in the default mode literature. Our results suggest that acupuncture mobilizes the anti-correlated functional networks of the brain to mediate its actions, and that the effect is dependent on the psychophysical response.
The Effects of Acupuncture on the Brain Networks for Emotion and Cognition: an Observation of Gender Differences
Brain Research. Nov, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20851113
Acupuncture modulates brain activity at the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (LPNN) and the default mode network (DMN). Since these brain networks show gender differences when mediating emotional and cognitive tasks, we thus hypothesize that women and men may also respond differently to acupuncture procedure at these brain regions. In order to test this hypothesis, we retrieved the data of 38 subjects, 19 females and 19 males, who had brain fMRI during acupuncture from previous studies and reanalyzed them based on sex status. Deactivation at the LPNN/DMN during needle manipulation of acupuncture was more extensive in females than in males, particularly in the posterior cingulate (BA31), precuneus (BA7m) and angular gyrus (BA39). The functional correlations between the right BA31 and pregenual cingulate (BA32), hippocampus or contralateral BA31 were significantly stronger in females than in males. The angular gyrus (BA39) was functionally correlated with BA31 in females; in contrast, it was anticorrelated with BA31 in males. Soreness, a major component of the psychophysical responses to needle manipulation, deqi, was correlated in intensity with deactivation of the angular gyrus in females; no such relationships were observed in males. In contrast to lesser deactivation at the LPNN/DMN networks, needle manipulation during acupuncture induced greater activation at the secondary somatosensory cortex and stronger functional connectivity with the anterior-middle cingulate (BA32/24) in males than in females. Our study suggests that brains with sex dimorphism may process the acupuncture stimulation differently between women and men.