Vascular dementia is one of several diseases which can attack the brain. It’s often used interchangeably with Alzheimer’s due to the similarity of symptoms. However, there is a difference between the two. UCSF describes vascular dementia as the sudden reduction in a person’s language skills, judgment, reasoning and memory, brought about by a reduction in blood flow to the brain. While both can present the same way, Alzheimer’s is a result of “sticky” proteins that build up between nerves and prevent synapses from functioning.
According to the World Health Organization 47.5 million people worldwide have vascular dementia, with the disease largely targeting the elderly. While western medicine treats it with pharmaceutical drugs, the study – published in the Neural Regeneration Research journal – approached a new method of treatment by using donepezil hydrochloride (brand name: Aricept) in conjunction with acupuncture.
Over the course of 56 days 168 vascular dementia patients were given a 5mg dose of donezil hydrochloride – while a randomized selection of those patients were also treated with acupuncture. After collecting and analyzing the data, researchers found that those who received both forms of treatment showed greater signs of cognitive clarity, and overall improved brain function.
In conclusion, “acupuncture combined with donepezil hydrochloride effectively improves cognitive function in vascular dementia patients. Thus, our combined therapy has noticeable advantages in improving cognitive function and protecting against vascular dementia compared with donepezil hydrochloride alone.”
This study is not only encouraging for those suffering with vascular dementia, but also for the effective combination of western and eastern medical practices.
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