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Li L, Qin W, Bai L, Tian J.

Life Science Research Center, School of Electronic Engineering, Xidian University, Xi'an 710071, China.

  Acupoint specificity is one of the central issues of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of acupuncture and has been under discussed. However, strong and consistent proof has not been provided for the existence of acupoint specificity, and unsuitable analysis approach applied could be the reason. We observed that previous researches of acupoint specificity were mostly based on model-based methods which were limited to make exploration of acupoint specificity because of the inaccurate specified prior. Here we applied multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) to investigate the specificity of brain activation patterns induced by acupuncture stimulations at a vision-related acupoint (GB37) and a nearby nonacupoint (NAP). Results showed that multiple brain areas could differentiate the central neural response patterns induced by acupuncture stimulation at these two sites with higher accuracy above the chance level. These regions included occipital
cortex, limbic-cerebellar areas and somatosensory cortex. Our results support that the characteristic neural response patterns of brain cortex to the acupuncture stimulation at GB37 and a nearby NAP could differ from each other effectively with the application of MVPA approach. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 20071124 [PubMed - in process]

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