Energy and Chi – Acupuncture Tai Chi and More

Growing research literature establishes that Tai Chi is good for both brain and body health.  Dr. Emerson Lombardo conducted first pilot study in US to examine acupuncture for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

Here are some excerpts from a slide presentation on the topic. Also look elsewhere on this website for downloadable pdf file of published research article about Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s acupuncture pilot study.




  • Attrition rate was 0% – No study participant voluntarily dropped out of the study
  • Compliance rate was 100% since ear acupuncture was offered as alternative to body/scalp needling in this first study
  • Only one participant refused needling of body points – very sensitive, she allowed ear needling only
  • All 11 participants completed over 22 treatments
  • No negative side effects reported
  • Care recipients (with one exception) have accepted prescribed treatment (one patient refused needles in body)
  • Acupuncturists are pleased with the treatments and liked working with the ADRD patients
  • Several subjects said they enjoyed the treatments & recommend to other patients; others tolerated
  • Many caregivers wanted to continue treatments with same acupuncturist, but few can pay for them.
  • Some subjects refused additional treatments-the one who improved most because she didn’t like the study evaluations.



  • The acupuncture treatments had no adverse effects reported
  • Early stage patients are safe on table but most still need to have someone in room at all times
  • Mid and later stage subjects should be seated in comfortable chair or bed and never left alone.



  • Statistically significant (p<.05) improvements were found in depressive and anxious mood symptoms
  • Confirmed with multiple measures including:

–      the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory (cg report)

  • means declined from 49.5 (baseline) to 40.1(post-test) (p=.005).

–      the POMS Tension sub-scale patient self report

  • means declined from 8.8 to 4.5 (p <.05)

–      the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia

  • means declined from 6.4 to 3.1 (p<.011)
  • BUT: Geriatric Depression Scale: improvement not significant (means declined 7.4 to 6.7  p=.36)


ACUPUNCTURE Not a “Magic Bullet” Beneficial for Treating AD Related Mood SYMPTOMS

  • Acupuncture appears to be very helpful in relieving anxiety, improving mood, increasing energy, improving some aspects of well-being, and decreasing mood related behaviors.
  • Participants appeared, on average, to remain stable cognitively for the 4 months.
  • 3/4 of subjects who improved the most with mood also improved cognitively.
  • Three subjects remained in treatment for over a year.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  for study funded by Bader Foundation

  • Co-Investigators:  Laila Vehvilainen, MPH & MIM;

Wee Lock Ooi, Dr.PH; Ladislav Volicer, MD, PhD;

Guangli Xu, Lic. Ac., MD China

  • Neuropsychologist:  Charles Drebing, Ph.D.
  • Medical Anthropologist, TCM expert: Zibin Guo, Ph.D.
  • Psychologists:  Maria T. Munoz Cunio, Ph.D. F;

Michele Karel, Ph.D. F; Erlene Rosowsky, Psy.D.

  • Neurologists:  Pamela Sheridan, MD; Claire Levesque, MD
  • Research Interviewer:  Joyce Buni
  • Clinical Coordinators:  Cathy BernotasF, MMHS; Korben PerryA
    • Kathy Schleyer;  Research Assistants and
  • 11 practicing Acupuncturists including 7 who treated subjects


To Learn More about Acupuncture

–     Jonathan Glass, lic.Ac  West Concord

–     Cynthia McMahon King, Lic Ac & Pharm. Westford

–     Jing Lui and Ping Yao, Lic.Ac.& Herbalists, 1077 Lexington St. Waltham & Marino Center, Cambridge

–     New England School of Acupuncture

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