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Acupuncture 'could help Parkinson's patients'

9th February 2007

Parkinson's sufferers could have their symptoms eased by combining western medicine with traditional Chinese acupuncture treatments, researchers have argued.

Scientists from RDS, which represents medical researchers testing on animals, injected mice with the MPTP chemical known to cause Parkinson's.

One of the groups of mice was also given acupuncture and responded well against the impact of MPTP. The mice who had acupuncture were also able to produce the enzyme creating dopamine, while those mice given a sham acupuncture treatment or no acupuncture saw their levels of dopamine fall.

"The scientists still don't know how acupuncture helps," said the RDS.

"They suggest that it might control the level of inflammation in the brain. Inflammation is known to worsen the symptoms of Parkinson's in sufferers.

"Although the mechanism of action is unknown, the researchers suggest that acupuncture might be used in combination with drug treatment to treat Parkinson's."

According to the Parkinson's Disease Society, there are 120,000 sufferers in the UK.