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Medicines 2017, 4(1), 16;

A Population-Based Cohort Study on the Ability of Acupuncture to Reduce Post-Stroke Depression

Department of Chinese Medicine, Tainan Municipal Hospital, Tainan 700, Taiwan
Department of Chinese Medicine, Tainan Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Tainan 701, Taiwan
Institute of Gerontology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine and Neurology, Kuo General Hospital, Tainan 700, Taiwan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gerhard Litscher and William Chi-shing Cho
Received: 17 January 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acupuncture – Basic Research and Clinical Application)
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Objective: Post-stroke depression (PSD) is common and has a negative impact on recovery. Although many stroke patients in Taiwan have used acupuncture as a supplementary treatment for reducing stroke comorbidities, little research has been done on the use of acupuncture to prevent PSD. Accordingly, our goal is to investigate whether using acupuncture after a stroke can reduce the risk of PSD. Method: This population-based cohort study examined medical claims data from a random sample of 1 million insured people registered in Taiwan. Newly diagnosed stroke patients in the period 2000–2005 were recruited in our study. All patients were followed through to the end of 2007 to determine whether they had developed symptoms of depression. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to estimate the relative risk of depression in patients after being diagnosed as having had a stroke, with a focus on the differences in those with and without acupuncture treatment. Results: A total of 8487 newly-diagnosed stroke patients were included in our study; of these, 1036 patients received acupuncture more than five times following their stroke, 1053 patients received acupuncture 1–5 times following their stroke and 6398 did not receive acupuncture. After we controlled for potential confounders (e.g., age, sex, insurance premium, residential area, type of stroke, length of hospital stay, stroke severity index, rehabilitation and major illness–related depression), we found that acupuncture after stroke significantly reduced the risk of depression, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.475 (95% CI, 0.389–0.580) in frequent acupuncture users and 0.718 (95% CI, 0.612–0.842) in infrequent acupuncture users, indicating that acupuncture may lower the risk of PSD by an estimated 52.5% in frequent users and 28.2% in infrequent users. Conclusions: After we controlled for potential confounders, it appears that using acupuncture after a stroke lowers the risk of depression. Additional strictly-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to better understand the specific mechanisms relating acupuncture to health outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: post-stroke depression; acupuncture post-stroke depression; acupuncture

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Tseng, S.-P.; Hsu, Y.-C.; Chiu, C.-J.; Wu, S.-T. A Population-Based Cohort Study on the Ability of Acupuncture to Reduce Post-Stroke Depression. Medicines 2017, 4, 16.

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