Acupuncture Linked to Lower Incidence of Ischemic Stroke in RA

In HealthDay News
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Cumulative incidence of ischemic stroke was lower among patients receiving acupuncture versus no acupuncture

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 16, 2024 (HealthDay News) — For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the risk for ischemic stroke is lower for those receiving acupuncture, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in BMJ Open.

Chia-Yu Huang, from Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues conducted a propensity score-matched cohort study involving 23,226 patients with newly diagnosed RA between Jan. 1, 1997, and Dec. 31, 2010. The acupuncture cohort included patients who were administered acupuncture therapy from the initial date of RA diagnosis to Dec. 31, 2010; the no-acupuncture cohort included patients who did not receive acupuncture during the same time interval.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of ischemic stroke was lower in the acupuncture cohort. At the end of the study, 341 and 605 patients in the acupuncture and no-acupuncture groups, respectively, experienced ischemic stroke (5.95 and 12.4 per 1,000 person-years, respectively; adjusted subhazard ratio, 0.57). The reduction in incidence of ischemic stroke was independent of sex, age, types of drugs used, and comorbidities.

“Our study demonstrates that the ischemic stroke risk could be reduced by acupuncture treatment in patients with RA in Taiwan,” the authors write. “The possible mechanism may involve reducing proinflammatory cytokines through acupuncture therapy, thereby attenuating cardiovascular disease, including ischemic stroke.”

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