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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 197238, 9 pages
Research Article

Acupuncture De Qi in Stable Somatosensory Stroke Patients: Relations with Effective Brain Network for Motor Recovery

1The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering, Ministry of Education, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
2Dongzhimen Hospital of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100070, China
3Center for Integrative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, 520 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

Received 10 April 2013; Accepted 15 May 2013

Academic Editor: Cun-Zhi Liu

Copyright © 2013 Lijun Bai 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.


Acupuncture has been widely used for treating stroke and De Qi may play an important role. In spite of its acceptance, the neural mechanism underlying acupuncture for motor recovery is still elusive. Particularly, by what extent De Qi sensations can reliably predict the therapeutical acupuncture effect on the mediating recovery from stroke is urgent to investigate. Nine stroke patients were assessed by De Qi, neurological examination, and scanned with acupuncture stimuli across two time points at an interval of two weeks. And we adopted multivariate Granger causality analysis to explore the interregional influences within motor executive brain network during post-acupuncture resting state. Our findings indicated that acupuncture at GB34 can enhance the recovery of stroke mainly by strengthening causal influences between the ipsilesional and contralesional motor cortex. Moreover, centrality of some motor-related regions correlated with clinical variables and thus served as a predictor of stroke recovery. Along the same line, the centrality of these motor-related regions has also high relations with the De Qi sensation. Our findings suggest that De Qi having relatively stable reliability may be essential and used as a predictor to the therapeutic effectiveness of acupuncture for stroke recovery.