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Change in the P300 index – a pilot randomised controlled trial of low-frequency electrical stimulation of acupuncture points in middle-aged men and women

Background of this study:Scientific Research Prevention of Natural Cerebral Aging

The P300 is a major index used to evaluate improvements in brain function. Although a few studies have reported evaluating the effectiveness of  manual acupuncture  or  electro-acupuncture  by monitoring the P300, research in this field is not yet very active. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of periodic low-frequency electrical stimulation applied to BL62 and KI6 acupuncture points on brain activity by analysing the P300.

Method of this study:

The study was conducted as a randomized double-blind test of 55 subjects in their 50s, including 26 males and 29 females. Each subject received 12 sessions of stimulation over a one-month period. In each session, low-frequency electrical stimulation at an average of 24 μA and 2 Hz was applied to the acupuncture points BL62 and KI6, and event-related potentials were measured before the first session and after the last session of the electrical stimulation.

Results of this study:

The results of a chi-square test indicated that the double-blind test was conducted correctly. Compared to the Sham group, all the subjects in the Real stimulation group showed a tendency toward a decreasing P300 latency and increasing P300 amplitude after all 12 sessions of stimulation. In the women, the amplitude significantly increased at Fz, Fcz, Cz, Cpz, and Pz.

Conclusions of this study:

With this experiment, the low-frequency electrical stimulation of two acupuncture points (BL62 and K16) was confirmed to have a positive influence on the prevention of natural cerebral aging.

Trial registration

This study was registered at the Clinical Research Information Service (CRIS) of the National Research Institute of Health (https://cris.nih.go.kr/cris/search/search_result_st01_en.jsp?, Registration Number: KCT0001940). The date of registration was June 9, 2016.

©  The Author(s). 2017

  • Kwang-Ho Choi,
  • O Sang Kwon,
  • Seong Jin Cho,
  • Sanghun Lee,
  • Seok-Yun Kang and
  • Yeon Hee Ryu

BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201717:246

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1754-8

©  The Author(s). 2017

  • Received: 24 November 2016
  • Accepted: 26 April 2017
  • Published: 3 May 2017