Scalp acupuncture for Parkinson's disease: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

Chinese journal of integrative medicine

PubMedID: 23546633

Lee HS, Park HL, Lee SJ, Shin BC, Choi JY, Lee MS. Scalp acupuncture for Parkinson's disease: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med. 2013;19(4):297-306.
To evaluate the effectiveness of scalp acupuncture (SA), a modern acupuncture technique specialized to neurological disorders, in managing motor function and symptoms for Parkinson's disease (PD) patients.

Two independent reviewers extracted data from all of the randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that assessed the efficacy of SA for PD compared with conventional therapies (CTs). Sixteen electronic databases were searched. The risk of bias was appraised with the Cochrane Collaboration tool, and the reporting of the included studies was evaluated by the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) 2010 checklist and the revised Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) guidelines.

In total, 4 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. As assessed by the Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS), 2 RCTs showed that SA combined with CTs proved superior to CTs alone [60 cases; weighted mean difference, -3.94; 95% confidence interval (CI), -6.05 to -1.84, P=0.01; I(2) =0%]. Based on the Webster scale, however, 3 RCTs showed no superior effect of SA when combined with CTs with high heterogeneity (154 cases; risk ratio, 1.29; 95% CI, 0.79 to 2.12, P=0.30; I(2) =84%). The Cochrane risk of bias, adherence to the CONSORT and the STRICTA checklist showed that the quality of all the included RCTs was generally low.

The result of our systematic review and meta-analysis suggested that the effectiveness of SA for PD is promising, however, the evidence is not convincing. A sham-controlled RCT design that adheres to the CONSORT and STRICTA guidelines to overcome methodological weakness and that includes a large sample size is strongly recommended to confirm the precise effect of SA on PD.