Research Reports - Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia in patients with traumatic brain injury: A pilot intervention study

Zollman, Felise S. MD; Larson, Eric B. PhD; Wasek-Throm, Laura K. MPH; Cyborski, Cherina M. MD; Bode, Rita K. PhD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation:
March/April 2012 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 135–142

Objectives: To assess the efficacy of acupuncture in treating insomnia in traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors as compared to medication, to determine whether acupuncture has fewer cognitive and affective adverse effects than does medication.

Participants: Twenty-four adult TBI survivors, randomized to acupuncture or control arms.

Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation clinic.

Measures: Insomnia Severity Index (degree of insomnia); actigraphy (sleep time); Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (depression); Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (cognitive function) administered at baseline and postintervention.

Results: Sleep time did not differ between the treatment and control groups after intervention, whereas cognition improved in the former but not the latter.

Conclusion: Acupuncture has a beneficial effect on perception of sleep or sleep quality and on cognition in our small sample of patients with TBI. Further studies of this treatment modality are warranted to validate these findings and to explore factors that contribute to treatment efficacy.

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