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Recent studies have shown that applying acupuncture during general anesthesia can reduce the dosage of anesthetics. Hence, it is speculated that acupuncture may have a sedative effect. However, existing studies employed acupuncture in combination with anesthetics, which makes determine acupuncture's role in producing sedation difficult. In this work, we investigated the sedative effect of acupuncture by using transcutaneous acupoint electrical stimulation (TAES) at bilateral Zusanli (ST36), Shenmen (HT7) and Sanyinjiao (SP6). Using a cross-over design, 2 separate sessions, that are, the resting and TAES sessions, were conducted for each subject. The sedative effect was quantified by using the bispectral index (BIS). The difference in brain activities between resting and TAES sessions was investigated by analyzing the simultaneously recorded EEG signals. Our results showed that a statistically significant difference in BIS values existed between resting and TAES sessions, which suggested that TAES alone was capable of inducing observable sedation. Using power spectrum analysis, we showed that TAES-induced sedation was accompanied by a reduction in alpha band power and an increment in delta band power. Permutation entropy was lower during the TAES session, which suggested that TAES reduced the complexity of the EEG signal. Moreover, a significant reduction in the global strength of brain functional connections was observed during TAES. These findings suggest that TAES alone can induce observable sedative effects, and this sedation effect is accompanied by changes in brain activities that have shown to be correlated with consciousness.

Citation

Fei Yan, Dawei Song, Zhen Dong, Yun Zhang, Haidong Wang, Liyu Huang, Yubo Wang, Qiang Wang. Alternation of EEG Characteristics During Transcutaneous Acupoint Electrical Stimulation-Induced Sedation. Clinical EEG and neuroscience. 2022 May;53(3):204-214

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PMID: 33256427

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