Acupuncture helps to combat mild cognitive impairment

If you’ve been reading my Health eTips for a while now, you know that I was one of the first doctors to practice medical acupuncture, and I’ve found that it can often fill in the many gaps left by modern medicine.

Over the years, I’ve used acupuncture to treat everything from hot flashes to joint pain, so I’m excited to hear about yet another way that my patients can benefit from this practice from ancient Chinese medicine.

According to the latest research, it can even help slow cognitive decline.

Chinese researchers reviewed data from five clinical trials involving nearly 600 patients with mild cognitive impairment. Contrary to its name, mild cognitive impairment isn’t exactly “mild” – because between 5 and 10 per cent of all cases of it lead to dementia.

And this study focused on the toughest form of mild cognitive impairment – the one that MOST OFTEN leads to dementia, called amnestic mild cognitive impairment. That’s when you start forgetting conversations, appointments, and events that you would’ve otherwise had no problem recalling.

When amnestic mild cognitive impairment starts happening to you… and when your cognition has become not-so-mildly impaired… mainstream medical doctors will most likely throw their hands up in the air and tell you there’s nothing you can do. And that’s if you’re lucky.

They might try giving you a prescription drug that’s been approved for Alzheimer’s but not mild cognitive impairment – but those drugs can cause incontinence, excessive sweating, and even eye problems. They’ve been shown to slow your heart rate, constrict your airways, and give you the runs.

The researchers gave patients with mild cognitive impairment in the study a drug called nimodipine, acupuncture, or nimodipine combined with acupuncture.

The acupuncture group OUTSCORED those receiving drugs on two major dementia tests:

1. The mini-mental state test, which checks for signs of memory loss and cognitive problems
2. A picture recognition examination

What’s more, while patients in the drug group experienced gut problems and headache, those who received only acupuncture just felt a little lightheaded.

You may feel a little dizzy when you first try acupuncture out, too – especially if you’re a little squeamish about needles. But most patients find the experience to be soothing and calming.
And if you’re showing the signs of mild cognitive impairment, you’ve got nothing to lose but your precious memories.

Acupuncture has become a lot more widespread as of late, but beware of just any facility offering this treatment. In order to receive the maximum benefits in the safest environment, it’s important to check that your acupuncturist has received proper training and has accredited certification from the British Acupuncture Council.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing

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