Find an acupuncturist...

Memory loss as a result of acupuncture

Q:  Memory loss as a result of acupuncture. My 18-year old granddaughter had pain therapy by using acupuncture in a recognized hospital. After the second session, the loss of memory for a period of one month. When she came out of the hospital she did not know where she was. She  did not remember having acupuncture.  All events and  study matter last month have been deleted. .Are such cases are known, and where can one  find them? 

A:This sounds a very distressing and unpleasant case.

We have looked through all the adverse event literature we have and there is no mention of anything similar. Most of the adverse events involve physical damage, but where they are psychological or mental, they tend to be very short lived. There is certainly nothing of which we are aware which has had such a profound effect on someone.

There are really only two possibilities. First, if the acupuncture has not been delivered with proper care and has either managed to penetrate the scalp or cause a minor infection in that area there is a remote chance that this has caused the problem. This would be unique in the history of modern acupuncture, but it remains a theoretical risk. The other more likely reason is that the treatment and the symptom of memory loss are not directly related, and that the problem arose while the grand-daughter was having treatment but not caused by it. With the millions of treatments now being provided each year there is always a possibility that someone will have a strange or serious episode at the same time as the acupuncture treatment but having no connection with it. It is often hard to convince someone the two are not related, and this can occasionally mean instead of getting orthodox treatment a row starts about who caused what.

We are not sure what the email means about everything being deleted. We can only assume this is not in the UK, where deleting patient files and records within seven years would be illegal. If the records have been deleted it would be very difficult to offer a view about what might have caused a problem. The points used would be the only indicator of potential physical damage.


Post a question

If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.

Ask an expert

BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

Browse the facts