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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 127271, 12 pages
Research Article

Multivariate Granger Causality Analysis of Acupuncture Effects in Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients: An fMRI Study

1Baoan Hospital, Southern Medical University, Shenzhen 518101, China
2The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of Ministry of Education, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Science and Technology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
3The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, China
4The First Affiliated Hospital, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin 300193, China

Received 21 February 2013; Revised 11 April 2013; Accepted 2 June 2013

Academic Editor: Baixiao Zhao

Copyright © 2013 Shangjie Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Evidence from clinical reports has indicated that acupuncture has a promising effect on mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, it is still unknown that by what way acupuncture can modulate brain networks involving the MCI. In the current study, multivariate Granger causality analysis (mGCA) was adopted to compare the interregional effective connectivity of brain networks by varying needling depths (deep acupuncture, DA; superficial acupuncture, SA) and at different cognitive states, which were the MCI and healthy control (HC). Results from DA at KI3 in MCI showed that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and hippocampus emerged as central hubs and had significant causal influences with each other, but significant in HC for DA. Moreover, only several brain regions had remarkable causal interactions following SA in MCI and even few brain regions following SA in HC. Our results indicated that acupuncture at KI3 at different cognitive states and with varying needling depths may induce distinct reorganizations of effective connectivities of brain networks, and DA at KI3 in MCI can induce the strongest and more extensive effective connectivities related to the therapeutic effect of acupuncture in MCI. The study demonstrated the relatively functional specificity of acupuncture at KI3 in MCI, and needling depths play an important role in acupuncture treatments.