OBJECTIVE: To investigate the risk of dementia in patients with stroke who did and did not receive acupuncture treatment.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: This study was based on Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database that included patients with stroke hospitalised between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2004.

PARTICIPANTS: We identified 11 220 patients aged 50 years and older with newly diagnosed stroke hospitalisation.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: We compared the incident dementia during the follow-up period until the end of 2009 in patients with stroke who did and did not receive acupuncture. The adjusted HRs and 95% CIs of dementia associated with acupuncture were calculated in multivariate Cox proportional hazard regressions.

RESULTS: Acupuncture treatment was associated with a decreased risk of dementia with multivariate adjustment (HR, 0.73; 95% CI 0.66 to 0.80), and the association was significant in both sexes and every age group, as well as in groups with ischaemic stroke, with fewer medical conditions and those hospitalised after stroke. Patients with stroke received acupuncture treatment, and conventional rehabilitation was associated with a significantly reduced risk of poststroke dementia (HR, 0.64; 95% CI 0.56 to 0.74).

CONCLUSIONS: This study raises the possibility that patients with non-haemorrhagic stroke who received acupuncture had a reduced risk of dementia. The results suggest the need for prospective sham-controlled and randomised trials to establish the efficacy of acupuncture in preventing dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e013638
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 5 2017


  • Journal Article


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