Last updated on May 2019

Acupuncture for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury With Post-traumatic Stress Disorder : A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study


Brief description of study

The overall goal of this study is to examine if acupuncture intervention can reduce the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and affective and cognitive complaints among mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study also hypothesized that compared to those in the sham acupuncture and waiting list control groups, patients in the real acupuncture group will have fewer symptoms of depressive symptoms, sleep problems and post-concussion symptoms.

Detailed Study Description

Project Background: Acupuncture has been shown in other settings to alleviate symptoms of TBI that are reported to be precursors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including affective (depression, anxiety) and somatic (headache, sleep difficulties) complaints. Evidence suggests that the increased intensity of these symptoms, particularly greater affective distress and injury-associated pain, increases vulnerability to PTSD. By treating post-TBI symptoms with acupuncture, these predisposing conditions will improve, and, as a result, the incidence of PTSD in this patient population will be reduced.

Research plan: The overarching focus of this study is the use of acupuncture treatment, targeted to symptoms of mild TBI, to reduce the onset of PTSD. The investigators propose a randomized, sham procedure and usual care-controlled clinical trial of acupuncture beginning at acute phase following mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants meeting eligibility requirements will be randomized to 1 of 3 groups: true acupuncture, sham acupuncture or usual care. Acupuncture treatments will continue for one month, at which point all participants will be assessed for presence of mild TBI symptoms, PTSD symptoms, and PTSD diagnosis. Participants will be evaluated again after one-month acupuncture treatment and follow-up post-hospital discharge. The investigators hypothesize that true acupuncture will be more effective than sham acupuncture and usual care in reducing these outcomes at after treatment and follow-up stage. A subgroup of patients were also randomized selected in each group and scanned by 3T MRI scanner at baseline, one-month (after acupuncture treatment) and follow-up.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02868671

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Recruitment Status: Open


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