The effect of acupuncture on working memory and anxiety

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether acupuncture can improve memory and reduce anxiety. Design, Setting and Subjects: A two-group, randomized, single-blind study involving 90 undergraduate university students was conducted from January to December of 2011. Interventions: Subjects completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) form Y-1 (State Anxiety, SA) and Y-2 (Trait Anxiety, TA). Then, each subject lay on a treatment table for 20 minutes. The acupuncture group had needles inserted into select acupoints; control subjects did not. Subjects then completed the STAI form Y-1 again, after which they completed the Automated Operation Span Task (AOSPAN) - a computerized test of working memory. Main Outcome Measures: Performance on the AOSPAN and the STAI scores were the main measures of the outcomes. Results: The acupuncture group scored 9.5% higher than the control group on the AOSPAN Total Correct Score (65.39 vs. 59.9, p=0.0134), and committed 36% fewer math errors (2.68 vs. 4.22, p=0.0153). Acupuncture subjects also reported lower SA after intervention than control subjects (26.14 vs. 29.63, p=0.0146). © 2013.




Bussell, J. (2013). The effect of acupuncture on working memory and anxiety. JAMS Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 6(5), 241–246.

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