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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 60-63

Electrodermal energy wave at acupuncture points may be a biomarker of aging


1 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Skin Diseases and STIs, Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Nanjing 210042; Department of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, Jiangsu, China
2 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Skin Diseases and STIs, Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Nanjing 210042, Jiangsu, China
3 Department of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, Jiangsu, China

Date of Web Publication21-Sep-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Huailiang Zhang
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Skin Diseases and STIs, Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Nanjing 210042, Jiangsu
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdds.jdds_21_18

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  Abstract 


Objective: The main objective is to study the electrodermal energy wave at some acupuncture points on Chinese people with different ages. Methods: The electrodermal screening device MORA-Super (German) was applied to measure the electrodermal energy at 38 acupuncture points and nonacupuncture points on 3949 candidates. Results: There are five groups, including 17 cases ≤12 year, 41 cases between 13 and 18 years, 722 cases between 19 and 39 years, 2995 cases between 40 and 59 years, and 174 cases ≥60 years. The electrodermal energy of candidates older than 60 years increased significantly compared with other groups (P < 0.01). There is positive correlation between electrodermal energy and age (R = 0.582). Conclusion: The electrodermal energy may become a biomarker of aging.

Keywords: Acupuncture, aging, electrodermal energy wave


How to cite this article:
Chen M, Chen Z, Liu Q, Pan Y, Gao Q, Xu C, Zhang Q, Xi Z, Zhang H. Electrodermal energy wave at acupuncture points may be a biomarker of aging. J Dermatol Dermatol Surg 2018;22:60-3

How to cite this URL:
Chen M, Chen Z, Liu Q, Pan Y, Gao Q, Xu C, Zhang Q, Xi Z, Zhang H. Electrodermal energy wave at acupuncture points may be a biomarker of aging. J Dermatol Dermatol Surg [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 16];22:60-3. Available from: http://www.jddsjournal.org/text.asp?2018/22/2/60/241910




  Introduction Top


Chinese traditional medicine has been applied in China for over 3000 years as efficient therapeutic method. Among those ancient medical therapies, acupuncture has been wildly accepted not only in China but also in many Western countries as a complementary approach to the modern medicine. Ancient Chinese medical theory suggested that acupuncture activate biological energy (known as “Qi”) that generated from internal body through a unique pathway located near the skin surface (known as “meridians”). And the acupuncture points, which means the specific points on meridians, are where Qi can be manipulated.[1] Even though the “meridian theory” has been widely accepted among doctors of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of year, for current scientists and doctors, it is still difficult to explain the mechanism of acupuncture with modern medical theory.

From 1950s, researchers started to investigate the mystery of acupuncture in a modern way. In 1953, Voll et al. first developed an electrodermal screening approach (named electroacupuncture according to Voll) to detect the bioenergetic functional status and electrical characteristics of acupuncture points.[2] Since then, a number of studies have elaborated the electrical properties attached to these “bioactive” points and a number of electrodermal screening devices (EDSD) have been developed.[3],[4] Compared to the nonacupuncture points, the scientists ascribed the acupuncture points with reduced resistance, increased conductance, and elevated local electrical potential.[5],[6],[7]

In this study, we investigated electrodermal energy on 3949 healthy candidates. The aim of this study is to prove the electric characteristic of the acupuncture points again with a large number of samples, and more importantly, to complete the pioneer study that focuses on the relationship between age and the electrodermal energy level on the acupuncture points.


  Methods Top


Study population

A total number of 3949 candidates were enrolled in the study. None of the candidates have severe skin disorders and pregnant women or patients suffering from systemic immunological, metabolic, or heart diseases were not admitted into this study. All the enrolled volunteers signed an informed consent document approved by the ethical committee in Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Electrodermal energy measurement

A commercially available EDSD MORA-Super (MED-Tronik, Germany, 200 kHz/12 v) was applied in this study to measure the level of the electrodermal energy at acupuncture points. The meter of this device was calibrated to read from 0 to 100 so that the standard skin resistance of 100 kilo-ohms reads 50. Zero represents infinite resistance and 100 indicate zero resistance at this electrical potential. The testing probe is an insulated body with a tip of brass or silver connected to the positive side of the circuit. This is pressed firmly held by the operator at the measurement point on the person's skin. A brass hand electrode is held by the person and connected to the negative side of the circuit. For medicine testing, a metal plate is inserted between the EDSD and the person's hand electrode [Figure 1]. Training in the use of the probe is essential. Point location must be accurate and the probe must be applied at the correct angle. Appropriate pressure must be applied during measurement which may take as long as 60 s. This pressure may create a temporary dimple. Moistening the probe tip and the hand electrode ensure good electrical contact. Repeated measurements, the time taken for each and the time between them affect readings. We detected these acupuncture points 1–38 on fingers and toes [Figure 2].
Figure 1: A simple schematic diagram of an electrodermal screening device

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Figure 2: The measurement point locations of acupuncture 1–38 on the fingers and toes

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Statistical analysis

The statistical analysis was performed using a computer program SPSS version 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois). All statistical tests were conducted at the 5% two-sided significance level.


  Results Top


Comparison of the electrodermal energy level between the acupuncture points and nonacupuncture points on the left and right arms

[Table 1] shows the level of the electrodermal energy on acupuncture points 39–40 and nonacupuncture points 41–42 in 289 cases. Data indicate the significant difference on the level of electrodermal energy between acupuncture points and nonacupuncture points. Compared to the nonacupuncture points, the mean value of the electrodermal energy is about as twice as much on the acupuncture points on both arms, and there is no significant difference between the value the electrodermal energy on left and right arms, suggesting the level of the electrodermal energy is not associated with which arm was selected for measuring.
Table 1: Electrodermal energy of on acupuncture points 39-40 and nonacupuncture points 41-42 in 289 cases

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Test of the reliability and reproducibility of the MORA-super machine

In order to test the reliability of the MORA-super machine, and the reproducibility of the method we applied to measure the level of the electrodermal energy, a comparison study has been performed on 970 people on 20 different acupuncture points. At each point, the same procedure was repeated 20 min after the first measurement and the data of each time were collected and compared. [Table 2] shows the results. Clearly, there is no significant difference on the value of the energy level between the two-repeated measurements. The results proved the reliability of the machine and the reproducibility of the measuring method.
Table 2: Comparison of the two measurements of electrodermal energy level on 1-20 measuring points in 20 min of 970 people

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The level of the electrodermal energy on the acupuncture points increases as age increases

In the next step, we investigated the relationship between the level of the electrodermal energy on acupuncture points and age. We measured the electrical energy on acupuncture points of people with different ages. [Table 3] shows the results and [Figure 1] shows the chart of the correlation analysis between the mean value of the electrodermal energy on the acupuncture points and age. Data indicated that for children (<12) and adolescents (13–18), there are no differences between the level of the electrodermal energy on the acupuncture points; however, with the increase of the candidates' age, the level of the electrodermal energy increases on almost every acupuncture point. As shown in [Figure 3], the result of the correlation analysis indicated that electrodermal energy and age is positively correlated (R = 0.582).
Table 3: Electrodermal energy of on 38 acupuncture points at different age groups in 3949 people

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Figure 3: Correlation between the electrodermal energy of on acupuncture points and age

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Groups are same as groups in [Table 3] and the black line in this figure is the trendline. Pearson correlation coefficient R = 0.582, P = 0.000 (R = 0~0.3 indicates weak correlation, R = 0.3~0.5 indicates moderate correlation, and R > 0.5 indicates strong correlation).


  Discussion Top


In this study, we have applied an EDSD to compare the level of the electrodermal energy on some acupuncture points on Chinese people with different ages. We discovered that the electrodermal energy on acupuncture points is positively correlated with age.

Although the relationship between biological energy and acupuncture has been studied for many years, it is still controversial today in the acupuncture community. In this study, we demonstrated the electronic characteristics of the acupuncture points again with MORA-super, and compared with previous studies; we include over 3949 candidates, which has never been observed in the previous works that commonly includes about 200–300 people. From statistical perspective, the large number of the samples makes the data convincing and reliable.

As far as we know, this is the first study that discussed the relationship between bioenergy on acupuncture points and aging. Nowadays, aging has become a global issue and aging-related problems bring challenges to the scientific and medical field. Aging increases the risk of many diseases, that is, cancer, Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.[8],[9],[10] One fundamental question in the field of aging study is how we could predict the process of aging with a reliable biomarker. In recent years, people are making great efforts on searching for a single and efficient biomarker. Our finding opens a new gate on the selection of aging marker; we have observed a clear trend of increase on the level of energy on acupuncture points with the increase of age. We have successfully developed an easy measuring approach to quantify aging with reliable data, which has great potential in both basic and clinical studies of aging, and it can also been applied as an inspection item of the routine physical checkup to examine the body condition of the candidates.

In the consequential studies, we will focus on the relationship between the level of the electro-dermal energy on some specified acupuncture points and aging related diseases e.g., Alzheimer's disease (AD). In a very recent study, Peng's group reported that electroacupuncture on some acupuncture points could efficiently alleviate the clinical condition of the AD. Based on the results of this finding and our work, we assume that the level of the electro-dermal energy on those acupuncture points of the AD patients may be different with normal person, and electroacupuncture can adjust the level of the bioenergy on the acupuncture points to treat AD. So in our future works, the electro-dermal energy level on some acupuncture points of normal people and patients of AD will be compared, and the relationship between electro-dermal energy and AD will be analyzed statistically.


  Conclusion Top


We proved that the electrodermal energy on acupuncture points is positively correlated with age, suggesting that it can be applied as a biomarker for aging.

Acknowledgment

This work is supported by CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (CIFMS-2017-I2M-1-017) and Postdoctoral research fund of China (2015M570470) and Postdoctoral research fund of Jiangsu (1402064B).

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Turner L, Linden W, Marshall C. Electrodermal activity at acupuncture points differentiates patients with current pain from pain-free controls. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2013;38:71-80.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Voll R. Twenty years of electro acupuncture diagnosis in Germany: A progressive report. Am J Acupunct 1975;3:7-17.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Reichmanis M, Marino AA, Becker RO. Electrical correlates of acupuncture points. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 1975;22:533-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Hyvärinen J, Karlsson M. Low-resistance skin points that may coincide with acupuncture loci. Med Biol 1977;55:88-94.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Johng HM, Cho JH, Shin HS, Soh KS, Koo TH, Choi SY, et al. Frequency dependence of impedances at the acupuncture point Quze (PC3). IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag 2002;21:33-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Litscher G, Wang L, Gao XY, Gaischek I. Electrodermal mapping: A new technology. World J Methodol 2011;1:22-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Sumano H, Mateos G. The use of acupuncture-like electrical stimulation for wound healing of lesions unresponsive to conventional treatment. Am J Acupunct 1999;27:5-14.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Hipkiss AR. Aging risk factors and Parkinson's disease: Contrasting roles of common dietary constituents. Neurobiol Aging 2014;35:1469-72.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Budni J, Bellettini-Santos T, Mina F, Garcez ML, Zugno AI. The involvement of BDNF, NGF and GDNF in aging and Alzheimer's disease. Aging Dis 2015;6:331-41.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Li D, de Glas NA, Hurria A. Cancer and aging: General principles, biology, and geriatric assessment. Clin Geriatr Med 2016;32:1-15.  Back to cited text no. 10
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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