Pilot of Acupuncture to Improve Quality of Life in Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This study has been completed.
Samueli Institute for Information Biology
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: January 29, 2010
Last updated: August 13, 2014
Last verified: August 2014

The purpose of this study is to examine if acupuncture improves Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms among veterans who participated in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This study will also examine the degree of veteran acceptance for acupuncture.

Condition Intervention
Post-traumatic Stress Disorders
Other: Acupuncture treatment

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Pilot of Acupuncture to Improve Quality of Life in Veterans With TBI and PTSD

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • SF-36 physical and mental function scores [ Time Frame: baseline, 12 weeks, 3 months post-treatment ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • pittsburgh Sleep Index [ Time Frame: baseline, 12 weeks, 3 months post treatment ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 34
Study Start Date: July 2010
Study Completion Date: December 2011
Primary Completion Date: December 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Arm 1
Other: Acupuncture treatment
Traditional Chinese theory explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force - known as qi or chi - believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin, stainless steel, sterile needles in subcutaneous tissue or muscle at strategic points on your body which correspond to the acupuncture meridians. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) interview also includes looking at the tongue and feeling the pulse before deciding on all the points to be used. For example, for an acupuncture treatment on the back, the needles would be inserted at the base of the neck, upper back, middle back and lower back.
No Intervention: Arm 2
standard care

Detailed Description:

Project Background: Acupuncture can be effective for many of the specific co-morbidities that make up war-related Trauma Spectrum Disorder in both TBI and PTSD patients, including pain, stress and anxiety, insomnia, somatic and post-operative pain. Recent studies find very large effect sizes (Cohen's D .85 to 1.4). Thus, there is good reason to believe that acupuncture will induce recovery across a number of trauma spectrum dysfunctions in patients with TBI and PTSD, at low cost and with little risk.

Project Objectives: The overall objective of this application is to determine the efficacy of adjunctive acupuncture for improving quality of life and function and alleviating co-morbidities associated with TBI and PTSD in service members injured in the current wars. The primary hypothesis of this study is: OIF/OEF veterans who screen positive for TBI or PTSD and are treated with a 12 week standard individualized acupuncture method will experience improved HRQL (as measured by the Veteran's SF-36) at 6, 12 and 24 week follow-up, compared to veterans randomly assigned to standard care alone.

Project Methods: This is a pilot study on veterans who screen positive for TBI or PTSD in the VA healthcare record, which is being submitted to obtain additional pilot data, confirmation of recruitment strategies, and information on non-participants . Frequency distribution and summary statistics for demographics and baseline variables will be presented by intervention group and for all subjects combined. Key demographic variables to be summarized are: age, gender, time to deployment, number of deployments, and diagnosis. Key baseline variables are: PTSD CAPS score, VSF-36, and ANAM score.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 69 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis or positive screen test for PTSD.
  • Combat veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom conflicts.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Unable to travel to East Orange VA for 12 consecutive weeks, biweekly for treatment.
  • Does not speak English.
  • Acupuncture or CBT treatment within the previous six months.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01060553

United States, New Jersey
VA New Jersey Health Care System
East Orange, New Jersey, United States, 07018
Sponsors and Collaborators
Samueli Institute for Information Biology
Principal Investigator: Thomas W Findley, MD PhD VA New Jersey Health Care System
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01060553     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: PPO 09-258
Study First Received: January 29, 2010
Last Updated: August 13, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:
Post-traumatic stress disorders
Quality of life
sleep disorder

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders
Pathologic Processes

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on October 23, 2014