Schizophrenia and depression: A systematic review of the effectiveness and the working mechanisms behind acupuncture
Number of pages
SourceExplore, 11, 4, (2015), pp. 281-291
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectBiological psychology; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory; Biologische psychologie
OBJECTIVE: This systematic review assessed clinical evidence for the use of acupuncture as an add-on treatment in patients with depression and schizophrenia and for its underlying working mechanisms. DATA SOURCES: Four databases (Medline, Scopus, ERIC, and the Cochrane Library) were searched with a cutoff date of March 31, 2014. STUDY SELECTION: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of acupuncture treatment for depression and schizophrenia were considered for inclusion. The scarcity of acupuncture research involving schizophrenia led to the inclusion of randomized controlled trials and case studies. DATA EXTRACTION: The primary and secondary aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of acupuncture in treating patients with depression or schizophrenia and the possible working mechanisms underlying acupuncture through a systematic literature review. DATA SYNTHESIS: The overall clinical results on using acupuncture to treat depression are promising, but only limited evidence for its effectiveness in treating schizophrenia was found. Acupuncture improves the quality of life, particularly that of sleep, in psychiatric patients. Brain research has revealed that acupuncture has a modulating and normalizing effect on the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (LPNN), including the default mode network. Because the LPNN is related to sleep and emotions, this might explain the improved qualities of life and sleep after acupuncture. CONCLUSIONS: From the evidence found in this study, acupuncture seems to be an effective add-on treatment in patients with depression and, to a lesser degree, in patients with schizophrenia, but large well-designed studies are needed to confirm that evidence.
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