Vol.1, No.2, 2014PDF  0.2M
Acupuncture Relieves Dementing Disorder

Nobuyuki Otsuka AffiliationAddress

Keywords: dementia, Alzheimer type, pediatric acupuncture, electrification stimulation therapy, oriental medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion treatment

According to Health Labor Sciences Research Grant Subsidized Research Allocation Report (2008), the number of patients with dementia is about 2 million in 2005, 3 million in 2015, and further increase in the future It is expected to be around 4.5 million in 2035. In the latest MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) survey (FY 2014), the number of patients with dementia has increased more than the estimated number of reports, and among the elderly aged 65 and older, the proportion of people with dementia is estimated It is 15%, and it is 4.62 million at 2012. This has greatly exceeded the expected number of patients in the report as of 2008 and has reached 4.5 million, the number of patients predicted in 2035. In addition, the comprehensive strategy for promoting dementia measures (New Orange Plan) announced in 2015 revealed the estimation that the number of patients with dementia will exceed 7 million in 2025. Of elderly people aged 65 and older, 20% will be affected by dementia, and it will be 1.5 times more likely to increase by about 10 years. It is also estimated that there are 4 million elderly people with mild cognitive impairment that may become dementia, and including those with this indication, 25% of people over 65 years of age have dementia and signs becoming dementia.

Based on this result, MHLM revised the "5-Year Plan for Promoting Dementia Measures" (Orange Plan) to counter dementia. MHLM has newly developed a comprehensive strategy for promoting dementia measures (New Orange Plan) and is studying to create a community friendly to elderly people with dementia. Estimates of the number of patients with dementia are calculated based on data obtained from the research of Hisayama-cho conducted by the field of environmental medicine at the Graduate School of Medicine, Kyushu University. Survey results that Hisayama-cho researchers report that the risk of Alzheimer's disease doubles in diabetes patients, so it is highly likely that care for diabetes patients as well as dementia patients will be conducted at the same time. In future it is necessary to consider the treatment method with an approach to diabetes in mind.

Dementia is a case where disorders of multiple cognitive functions are recognized as a result of chronic impairment of higher-order functions of the central nervous system due to some cause. Dementia is a disease of the brain, which is different from forgetting due to being old, such as forgetting the whole experience, progressing symptoms, and not having awareness of the fact that they have forgotten themselves.

Symptoms of dementia include core symptoms and peripheral symptoms. Core symptoms include memory disorder and disorientation. Peripheral symptoms are mental symptoms and behavioral behaviors caused by declining intellectual ability, such as violence, excitement, wandering, delusions. Peripheral symptoms may or may not appear by people. Most of the peripheral symptoms manifest themselves due to confusion caused by memory impairment. According to Yoshimura et al, acupuncture and moxibustion has a great effect on ameliorating peripheral symptoms. It is expected to alleviate confusion caused by memory impairment based on acupuncture and moxibustion therapy.

Yoshimura and colleagues reported the application to pediatric acupuncture to patients with dementia. The effectiveness of pediatric acupuncture treatment for dementia patients is explained as follows.
1) The mechanism of occurrence between dementia and the Kan'nomushi (onvulsions, nervousness, and short-temperedness of children) is similar. In either case, the similarities are pointed out as stress caused by the fact that families do not understand and communication can not be done well.
2) Pediatric acupuncture does not penetrate the skin. Acupuncture is painful, moxibustion can relieve anxiety that it is hot.
3) By working with autonomic nerve by pediatric acupuncture, symptoms can be relieved by relieving anxiety and stress.
4) The effect during treatment is not great, but it has remarkable immediate effect. Due to continuity, reproducibility is high in effect.
The treatment site is a range along each palm side and back side meridian of the arm. The treatment methods are 10 times roller acupuncture, roller acupuncture to multiple parts, scatter needling, teishin needle.

Characteristics of patients with dementia after treatment are as follows.
1) Facial expressions of accepted intellects suffer from peace.
2) Dementia patients who want to be refused what the caregiver says are also obedient.
3) The number of conversations increases with other people, it gets a peaceful atmosphere, and the movement speeds up.
4) Indefinite complaints such as shoulder stiffness, light back pain, blurred vision, heavy head etc. are eliminated.
As indicated by the post-treatment characteristics, treatment with pediatric acupuncture has an effect on surrounding symptoms, so it has a very good effect on dementia care management, and dementia patients and related persons who were visited for the first time are satisfied. From the above results, treatment of dementia patients with pediatric acupuncture can relieve the peripheral symptoms of dementia patients, which is considered to have a great effect.

Yano et al. Reported the contents of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment for treating patients with central nervous system diseases, Parkinson's disease and improving the cognitive function of elderly people. Tsuiki et al. performed acupuncture and moxibustion treatment for hemiplegic patients after cerebrovascular accident which is a representative of central nervous disorders. He showed the usefulness of acupuncture to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Sawada and colleagues confirmed the improvement effect of acupuncture treatment on dementia by using Transcutaneous Electrical Acupuncture point Stimulation (TEAS) for exercise therapy. The acupuncture points used in TEAS were performed at 1 Hz for 15 minutes between LI4 and LI10 on both sides.

As a result of introducing pediatric acupuncture, it is difficult for the core symptom of loss of memory, but it is effective for peripheral symptoms, which is the most problematic side as a caregiver. In particular, the merit of having a strong influence on dementia care management is considered to be great. The suggestion of the effect of pediatric acupuncture on the symptoms around dementia seems to have great social significance. It is thought that the verification of the effect that the dementia patient is mentally stable and the problem behavior is suppressed. It is clear that the proportion of people with dementia in the care recipients will increase in the future. If mitigation of dementia becomes possible, a big market will be created for acupuncture and moxibustion treatment. In the era when the Yellow Emperor was written, it can be assumed that the amnesia and dementia are different as the average life expectancy is short and it is less likely that dementia develops. As a result, there is a possibility that specific treatment methods are not clearly indicated in classical literature, so development of therapy is important.

There is a report that acupuncture and moxibustion is effective for central nervous disease and depression. Adaptable study of acupuncture and moxibustion for dementia which is a disease of the brain is being promoted. The elucidation of the mechanism of dementia has been advanced, and the development of therapeutic drugs is being promoted. If the mechanism including the transmitter in the central nerve is elucidated, the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment on dementia patients will be clearer. It is important to clarify the relationship between acupuncture and moxibustion and dementia and establish a treatment method, including basic research.

There are points to consider in the treatment of dementia by acupuncture and moxibustion.
1) As the proportion of elderly people increases, patients with dementia are also increasing. However, as the population of Japan is on a downward trend, the elderly population will also decline. Currently, many potential patients can be expected, but young practitioners should not think that the dementia market will continue to expand indefinitely.
2) There is a possibility that people concerned with nursing care may want more strongly than elderly people with dementia wish to treat acupuncture and moxibustion. It is necessary to set appropriate expenses after nursing care workers clarify to what extent they will bear the cost for care of dementia patients.
3) In the case of pediatric acupuncture, it can be carried out even if it is not an acupuncture practitioner.
Even without using acupuncture and moxibustion therapy, it is possible for a caregiver to perform a treatment on a patient in need of care. In order to permanently develop it as an acupuncture and moxibustion treatment, a combination with a treatment method which only acupuncture practitioners can do is necessary.


[1] Nobuo Nara, Toyo Therapy Association edited Textbook Clinical Medicine Detailed Exposition 2nd edition.
[2] Kazuhiro Takuma, "Forefront of Dementia Treatment", Postgraduate workshop of Pharmacy at Osaka University, 2008.
[3] Haruo Yoshimura, "Practice of Dementia Treatment Using Pediatric Acupuncture", Meiyuukai Workshop of Meiji school of oriental medicine, 2014.
[4] Yano Tadashi et al., "Explicated Acupuncture and moxibustion medicine", Document of the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
[5] Mari Tsuiki et al., "Effects of Acupuncture for Shoulder Hand Syndrome Combined with Hemiplegia", The Journal of the Japanese Society of Balneology, Climatology and Physical Medicine, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 153-191, 2002.
[6] Tadashi Sawada et al., "Effects of TEASD on the intellectual function and daily living behavior of elderly people", The Journal of the Japanese Society of Balneology, Climatology and Physical Medicine, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 153-191, 2002.
Journal of the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 69-80, 2001.
[7] Jiro Imanishi et al., "Research on dementia prevention and recovery from fatigue by integrated medical treatment including acupuncture treatment", Report of Kyoto prefectural preventative medicine research center, 2009.
[8] Sae Uchida, "Explicated Acupuncture and moxibustion medicine", Journal of the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 27-51, 2004.
[9] Yuki Mori, "Visualization of rat hippocampal activity by Manganese-Enhanced MRI", 4 Jounal of Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, vol. 35, pp. 21- 31, 2004.

(Received 30 September 2014)

photo Dr. Nobuyuki Otsuka
He graduated from Tohoku University in 1985 and completed the first harf term of doctor course of Tohoku University graduate school in 1987. He was awarded doctor degree in 1997 from Tohoku University. He established Hotal Ancient medicine research Institute (HARI) in 1999. Now, he is enrolled at Meiji school of oriental medicine from 2014. He is engaged in research on oriental medicine such as traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion, qigong etc.

 Hotal Ancient Medicine Research Institute (HARI), Otsuka Clinic

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