The clinical efficacy of temporal three-needle therapy for stroke dysfunction has been previously demonstrated in China. However, the central mechanism of temporal three-needle therapy remains unclear. Temporal three-needle projects the sensory cortex and the motor cortex, which may impact the cortex function. Current studies seldom focus on it. Hence, according to the “scalp-cortex corresponding theory,” the underlying mechanism of temporal three-needle remains a domain for further research.
This trial is designed to provide objective and visual evidence for the neuromodulatory effect and neuroimaging mechanism of temporal three-needle therapy for stroke patients. This ongoing study is a prospective, randomized, controlled, patient-assessor blind, single-center, neuroimaging trial involving two-parallel patient groups and a healthy control group. Forty eligible patients will be recruited from Shenzhen Nanshan District People’s Hospital and randomized into either the experimental group or the control group. Twenty healthy volunteers will be recruited in the healthy control group and undergo baseline magnetic resonance imaging scans without any intervention. Patients in the control group will receive acupuncture at Dingnieqianxiexian (MS6), in addition to basic medicine and rehabilitative treatments. Patients in the experimental group will receive temporal three-needle therapy plus basic medicine and rehabilitative treatments 5 days per week, 10 sessions over two consecutive weeks. The primary outcome is resting-state functional connectivity, and the secondary outcomes are regional homogeneity, amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations, Fugl-Meyer assessment of the upper limb, and modified Barthel Index. All outcome measures will be assessed at baseline and after 2 weeks of intervention. . The results will explore the neuromodulatory effects and illustrate the central mechanism of temporal three-needle treatment from the network-level viewpoint of sensorimotor network functional plasticity and promote widespread application in real-world practice. This trial was registered at Chinese Clinical Trial Registry on 14 March 2018 with ChiCTR1800015209.

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