Efficacy of acupuncture for lifestyle risk factors for stroke: A systematic review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
PLoS ONE, 2018, 13 (10)
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Sibbritt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background Modifications to lifestyle risk factors for stroke may help prevent stroke events. This systematic review aimed to identify and summarise the evidence of acupuncture interventions for those people with lifestyle risk factors for stroke, including alcohol-dependence, smokingdependence, hypertension, and obesity. Methods MEDLINE, CINAHL/EBSCO, SCOPUS, and Cochrane Database were searched from January 1996 to December 2016. Only randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with empirical research findings were included. PRISMA guidelines were followed and risk of bias was assessed via the Cochrane Collaboration risk of bias assessment tool. The systematic review reported in this paper has been registered on the PROSPERO (#CRD42017060490). Results A total of 59 RCTs (5,650 participants) examining the use of acupuncture in treating lifestyle risk factors for stroke met the inclusion criteria. The seven RCTs focusing on alcohol-dependence showed substantial heterogeneity regarding intervention details. No evidence from meta-analysis has been found regarding post-intervention or long-term effect on blood pressure control for acupuncture compared to sham intervention. Relative to sham acupuncture, individuals receiving auricular acupressure for smoking-dependence reported lower numbers of consumed cigarettes per day (two RCTs, mean difference (MD) = -2.75 cigarettes/ day; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -5.33, -0.17; p = 0.04). Compared to sham acupuncture those receiving acupuncture for obesity reported lower waist circumference (five RCTs, MD = -2.79 cm; 95% CI: -4.13, -1.46; p<0.001). Overall, only few trials were considered of low risk of bias for smoking-dependence and obesity, and as such none of the significant effects in favour of acupuncture interventions were robust against potential selection, performance, and detection bias. Conclusions This review found no convincing evidence for effects of acupuncture interventions for improving lifestyle risk factors for stroke.
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