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A study by Thai researchers has found that stroke patients see the most significant clinical improvement by their 16th acupuncture session. Their retrospective observational study was carried out in 89 stroke patients who had received acupuncture therapy as an adjunct treatment. Seventy-eight per cent experienced significant clinical improvement in activities of daily living (defined as an increase in Barthel Index of greater than 10 points from baseline). Further analysis of the data estimated that 50% of the patients exhibited significant improvements by the eighth acupuncture therapy session. By the 16th session, the proportion of patients showing significant improvement had increased to 81%, after which the marginal improvement was observed to decline substantially. Subgroup analyses revealed that clinical improvement did not depend on baseline Barthel index score, whereas early treatment (within three months of stroke onset) was associated with a faster response than late treatment. The median numbers of sessions required to achieve a significant improvement in the early and late treatment groups were 8 and 11 respectively.

Application of survival analysis techniques to determine the optimal number of acupuncture therapy sessions for stroke patients. Acupunct Med. 2020 Jan 20:964528419883268.