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Open Access Study protocol

The synergistic effect of acupuncture and computer-based cognitive training on post-stroke cognitive dysfunction: a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial of 2 × 2 factorial design

Shanli Yang1, Haicheng Ye2, Jia Huang2, Jing Tao2, Cai Jiang2, Zhicheng Lin1, Guohua Zheng3 and Lidian Chen4*

Author Affiliations

1 Rehabilitation Hospital Affiliated to Fujian University of TCM, Fuzhou 350003, China

2 Rehabilitation Medicine College, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou 350122, China

3 Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou 350122, China

4 Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou 350122, China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:290  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-290

Published: 7 August 2014

Abstract

Background

Stroke is one of the most common causes of cognitive impairment. Up to 75% of stroke survivors may be considered to have cognitive impairment, which severely limit individual autonomy for successful reintegration into family, work and social life. The clinical efficacy of acupuncture with Baihui (DU20) and Shenting (DU24) in stroke and post-stroke cognitive impairment has been previously demonstrated. Computer-assisted cognitive training is part of conventional cognitive rehabilitation and has also shown to be effective in improvement of cognitive function of affected patients. However, the cognitive impairment after stroke is so complexity that one single treatment cannot resolve effectively. Besides, the effects of acupuncture and RehaCom cognitive training have not been systematically compared, nor has the possibility of a synergistic effect of combination of the two therapeutic modalities been evaluated. Our primary aim of this trial is to evaluate the synergistic effect of acupuncture and RehaCom cognitive training on cognitive dysfunction after stroke.

Method/Design

A randomized controlled trial of 2 × 2 factorial design will be conducted in the Rehabilitation Hospital Affiliated to Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A total of 240 patients with cognitive dysfunction after stroke who meet the eligibility criteria will be recruited and randomized into RehaCom training group, acupuncture group, a combination of both or control group in a 1:1:1:1 ratio. All patients will receive conventional treatment. The interventions will last for 12 weeks (30 min per day, Monday to Friday every week). Evaluations will be conducted by blinded assessors at baseline and again at 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Outcome measurements include mini–mental state examination (MMSE), Montreal cognitive assessments (MoCA), functional independence measure scale (FIM) and adverse events.

Discussion

The results of this trial are expected to clarify the synergistic effect of acupuncture and RehaCom cognitive training on cognitive dysfunction after stroke. Furthermore, to confirm whether combined or alone of acupuncture and RehaCom cognitive training, is more effective than conventional treatment in the management of post-stroke cognitive dysfunction.

Trial registration

Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-TRC-13003704.

Registration date: 4 September, 2013.

Keywords:
Acupuncture; Computer-based cognitive training; Stroke; Cognitive dysfunction