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Can acupuncture help with alzheimers and compulsive personality disorder?

As far as the use of acupuncture treatment for Alzheimers is concerned the evidence is not good. As a review published three years ago concludes
 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19490197
 
there are insufficient trials available on which to base conclusions and those that do exist are not that encouraging. However, it is very difficult to design trials of acupuncture which meet the western standards of proof, the randomised double blind control trial, at the best of times, but when the target group on trial are difficult to define precisely this makes the task even harder.
 
The best one can say of any treatment of problems such as Alzheimers is that it slows down the progress of the condition, and whether it is effective or not is very often a unique judgement best made by those who are most closely involved in the patient's care. A family, for example, are often finely tuned to the nuances of someone's behaviour and able to assess 'good' and 'bad' days in ways which might not be amenable to formal analysis. We have certainly heard anecdotal evidence that the qualoty of life of people with Alzheimers seems to have improved with regular treatment, but there is no formal evidence which would enable us to give a formal recommendation. The best advice we could offer would be to discuss each case individually with a local BAcC member, and seek their view, based on a face to face assessment within the terms of Chinese medicine, of whether they felt they might be able to achieve some positive outcomes.
 
The evidence for the use of acupuncture and OCD is even more sparse. You may find the occasional study, as
 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19684500
 
which seems to be encouraging but there are very few.
 
However, a key word in Chinese medicine is the word 'appropriate', and with it an important diagnostic consideration about whether an emotional response to a situation is disproportionate in scale or time. From a Chinese medicine perspective, grieving deeply for a dead relative for a few months or a year is normal, but for a decade or more isn't. Worrying whether you have locked the front door and checking once is normal; worrying to the extent that you check twenty times isn't. If there are clear diagnostic signs that the driving force behind an OCD presentation may have a root in an imbalance which might be treatable, then a practitioner might believe that a short course of treatment might be worthwhile, with carefully designed outcome analysis and a clear end point for review. Acupuncture treatment could, in theory, have an impact if the factor driving the OCD could be tied directly to presentations which are clearly understood within the Chinese medicine framework.
 
Our overall view, however, is that the treatment of OCD is not something for which we would recommend acupuncture treatment, and we would be more inclined to refer patients on to forms of hypnotherapy or psychotherapy which might complement the various conventional therapies and treatments such as CBT already being used.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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