Acupuncture meridians and radiotracers

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Abstract

Acupuncture is frequently used and in particular for the treatment of pain. One of the cornerstones of its use, at least in Western countries, is the concept of the acupuncture meridian. Yet, their existence has never actually been proven. Recently, a report was published stating that injection of a radiotracer at an acupuncture point allows the visualization of the corresponding meridian in the shape of a radioactive path which is apparent on scintiscans.

The present work confirms the appearance of radioactive paths after the injection of a radiotracer at acupuncture points. However, the cross-checks made with the method used (counting the radioactivity of the venous blood, studying radioactivity of the organs which normally take up the tracer, scintiscan study of the complete meridian paths as they are described in traditional Chinese medicine and studying the effect of venous blockade on the observed radioactive paths) show that the radioactive paths in fact correspond to vascular drainage of the radiotracer.

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