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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 975769, 9 pages
Research Article

Influence of Acupuncture Stimulation on Cerebral Network in Functional Diarrhea

1Acupuncture and Tuina School, The 3rd Teaching Hospital, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 37 Shi'er Qiao Road, Chengdu, Sichuan 610075, China
2School of Life Science and Technology, Xidian University, Shaanxi 710071, China
3The institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, 10117 Berlin, Germany
4Department of Radiology, The Center for Medical Imaging, Huaxi MR Research Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China

Received 20 October 2013; Accepted 1 December 2013

Academic Editor: Cun-Zhi Liu

Copyright © 2013 Siyuan Zhou 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 is a commonly used therapy for treating functional diarrhea (FD), although there is limited knowledge on the mechanism. The objectives of this study were to investigate the differences in brain activities elicited by acupuncture between FD patients and healthy controls (HC) so as to explore the possible mechanism. Eighteen FD patients and eighteen HC received 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment at ST25 acupoints. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were, respectively, performed before and after acupuncture. The defecation frequency, Bristol stool form scale (SBFS), and MOS 36-item Short Healthy Survey (SF-36) were employed to evaluate the clinical efficacy. After acupuncture, the FD patients showed a significant decrease in defecation frequency and BSFS score. The regional homogeneity (ReHo) map showed a decrease in the paracentral lobule and postcentral gyrus, and an increase in the angular gyrus, insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and precuneus in the FD group. Moreover, the changes in ReHo values in the ACC were correlated with the reduction in defecation frequency. Decreasing functional connectivity among the ACC, insula, thalamus, and orbital frontal cortex only existed in the FD group. Conclusively, acupuncture alleviated defecation frequency and improved stool formation in FD patients. The efficacy might result from the regulation of the homeostasis afferent processing network.