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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017, Article ID 5816263, 9 pages
Research Article

Longitudinal Brain Functional Connectivity Changes of the Cortical Motor-Related Network in Subcortical Stroke Patients with Acupuncture Treatment

1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Medical Biomechanics, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
2The 3rd Teaching Hospital, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Wenhua Huang; moc.931@94723222831 and Ping Wu; moc.361@33_gnipuw

Received 11 July 2017; Revised 6 October 2017; Accepted 17 October 2017; Published 11 December 2017

Academic Editor: Jukka Jolkkonen

Copyright © 2017 Yongxin Li 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.


In clinical practice, the effectiveness of the rehabilitation therapy such as acupuncture combining conventional Western medicine (AG) on stroke people’s motor-related brain network and their behaviors has not been systematically studied. In the present study, seventeen adult ischemic patients were collected and divided into two groups: the conventional Western medicine treatment group (CG) and the AG. The neurological deficit scores (NDS) and resting-state functional MRI data were collected before and after treatment. Compared with the CG patients, AG patients exhibited a significant enhancement of the percent changes of NDS from pre- to posttreatment intervention. All patients showed significant changes of functional connectivity (FC) between the pair of cortical motor-related regions. After treatment, both patient groups showed a recovery of brain connectivity to the nearly normal level compared with the controls in these pairs. Moreover, a significant correlation between the percent changes of NDS and the pretreatment FC values of bilateral primary motor cortex (M1) in all patients was found. In conclusion, our results showed that AG therapy can be an effective means for ischemic stroke patients to recover their motor function ability. The FC strengths between bilateral M1 of stroke patients can predict stroke patients’ treatment outcome after rehabilitation therapy.