A recent study published in the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience suggests that acupoint injection therapy could be an effective therapeutic approach for children with cerebral palsy. Researchers combined traditional rehabilitation treatments with acupoint injection therapy to boost blood circulation in the brain and support the recovery of damaged brain cells.
The Limitations of Current Cerebral Palsy Treatments
Typical therapy for children with cerebral palsy is effective at reducing motor impairment and improving communication skills. Physical therapy helps children gain strength and improve range of motion. Speech therapy allows children to gain better control over their mouth and throat muscles.
However, these standard treatments are not very effective at improving cognitive impairment symptoms—like intellectual disability and learning delays—that accompany cerebral palsy. Fortunately, researchers are exploring solutions to this treatment problem and seeking new therapies to optimize cognitive development for children with cerebral palsy.
Acupoint Injection Therapy Explained
Acupoint injection involves injecting both homeopathic and conventional medicine directly into muscles, ligaments and other damaged tissues. The injected substance often contains things like vitamins, supplements and painkillers. Typically, acupoint injections are used for pain management.
In the current study, researchers wanted to discover whether acupoint injections could help improve cerebral palsy symptoms. They injected a compound called GM1 into specific acupuncture points to see if the therapy would effectively boost mental and motor development in children with cerebral palsy.
The GM1 molecule has unique properties that encourage nerve cells to grow and repair. Researchers suggested that injecting this compound into acupuncture points on the head could improve blood flow in the brain and help nerve cells recover some of the functions that were lost to cerebral palsy.
Acupoint Injection Study Details
The study consisted of 90 children divided into three groups, each receiving a different treatment:
- Group A: Children were treated with GM1 acupoint injection at specific acupuncture points on the head—four injections at the top of the head, three at the hairline, three on the side of the head and three at the back of the head. They also received regular rehabilitation therapy.
- Group B: Children received standard GM1 injections just under the skin in combination with rehabilitation therapy.
- Group C: Children participated in conventional rehabilitation therapy for cerebral palsy.
The study included an additional group of 30 healthy children for comparison purposes. Researchers had all children complete The Mental Development Index (MDI) to measure cognitive function and The Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) to assess motor function both before and after treatment. Researchers also evaluated the children’s brain blood circulation.
Results Suggest Acupoint Injection Improves Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
All three groups of children who received treatment showed improvements in motor and cognitive functioning, but only children in group A had statistically significant changes. Group A children also experienced noticeable improvements in blood circulation. Blood flow changes in the brain were not as evident in groups B and C, suggesting that acupoint injection played an important role in these improvements.
Researchers explained that the acupoint injections strengthened the arteries, improved blood circulation through brain tissue and sped up blood flow. As a result, nerve cells in the brain were able to grow and recover their functions.
Acupoint Injection and the Future of Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Results from this study suggest that acupoint injections in combination with regular rehabilitation therapies could improve the lives of children with cerebral palsy. Acupoint injection seems to boost the effectiveness of conventional cerebral palsy therapy by increasing blood flow in the brain.
The effects of acupoint injection therapy on children could have a positive impact on the future of cerebral palsy treatment. Eventually, we may see higher rates of cognitive and motor improvements for children undergoing therapy. Of course, further research is needed to discover the best ways to provide this treatment to children with cerebral palsy.