The goal of this study is to use single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and
functional magnetic resonance imaging (f-MRI) of the brain to study the response of both
normal participants and participants with Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee to acupuncture.
Recent experimental studies in both animal and humans have begun to demonstrate some
measurable physiologic effects that are associated with acupuncture, suggesting the
possibility of a neurophysiologic explanation. In addition, brain research continues to
uncover a complex set of endogenous neurologic control systems, such that it has become
clear that the brain plays a major role in the modulation of pain perception and control.
If acupuncture can be demonstrated to have a consistent effect on specific areas of the
brain, it will become possible to explore the potential efficacy of acupuncture based on
measurable neurophysiologic responses.
- Seen in an outpatient clinical setting
- Have active knee OA of >6 months including Kellgren x-ray changes >2 from an x-ray
report <12 months old or new x-ray interpretation
- Moderate unilateral only pain (average >4/10 on a 0-10 likert scale) for more than 5
out of 7 days
- Have the capacity to understand the requirements of the study and complete the
baseline studies in a reasonable time frame, as determined by the interviewer
- Having had acupuncture before (must be acupuncture naïve)
- Any history of claustrophobia that could affect the subject's ability to tolerate the
- Hip or ankle disease by history or exam severe enough to cause pain >2/10 daily
- Bleeding disorder or current use of warfarin or heparin by patient history
- Other primary causes of chronic knee pain, per the referring physician, including
chondromalacia patella, torn meniscus or ligament injury.