The use of examination on auricular acupuncture zones as health screening test

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The use of examination on auricular acupuncture zones as health screening test

 

Author: Wan, Wan Sharon
Title: The use of examination on auricular acupuncture zones as health screening test
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2005
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Ear -- Acupuncture.
Physical diagnosis.
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: iv, 108 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1896789
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2460
Abstract: Theory on auricular acupuncture (AA) suggests that different body areas can be reflected on the external ear as a homunculus. Researches on auricular acupuncture were mostly conducted to examine its treatment effect, but its role of being a complementary diagnostic tool has been overlooked. This study aimed to investigate the accuracy of using auricular examination for screening hepatic, renal and lumbar spine disorders. Subjects, aged from 18-60 years old, were recruited from hospitals and the general population. They were classified into the patients and healthy subjects of three groups, namely liver, kidney and lumbar groups. Each subject received three auricular examination (AE) methods including visual inspection, electrical skin resistance measurement and tenderness testing on the respective AA zones of both ears. The results of auricular examinations were compared to the clinical tests adopted by Western medicine including the blood test on liver function and renal function, plus the Aberdeen Back Pain Scale, which served as the diagnostic evaluations for the liver, kidney and lumbar groups respectively. A total of 169 subjects were recruited. Forty-five subjects were recruited in the liver group; 52 subjects in the kidney group; and 72 subjects in the lumbar group. Visual inspection on the AA zones demonstrated that significant difference were found between the patients and the healthy subjects in all the three groups (all p<0.05). The sensitivity ranged from 0.64 to 0.80 and specificity ranged between 0.60 to 0.76 in the liver and the kidney groups. The sensitivity and specificity in the lumbar group ranged 0.35 to 0.56 and 0.79 to 0.89 respectively. Visual inspection demonstrated acceptable sensitivity and specificity in screening hepatic and renal disorders primarily. It suggests that mal-function of liver and kidneys is reflected by the presence of morphological changes on its corresponding AA zones. However, its low sensitivity indicates that it is not a satisfactory clinical test in detecting lumbar problem. For electrical skin resistance on the AA zones, significant difference was found between the patient and healthy subjects in the liver group, the in-patients versus out-patients and the in-patients versus healthy subjects in the lumbar group (all p<0.05). The electrical skin resistance of the patients was lower than the healthy subjects. That means, subjects with more severe low back pain and subjects suffer from hepatic disorders can be differentiated from those who are free from these disorders by showing lower electrical skin resistance on the corresponding AA zone. On the other hand, no significant difference in electrical skin resistance was found between the patients and healthy subjects in the renal group and the out-patients versus healthy subjects in the lumbar group (p>0.05). It seems that measurement of electrical skin resistance is not sensitive enough to pick up people with comparatively mild low back pain and people suffer from renal diseases. In the tenderness testing, no significant difference was shown in any of the three groups (all p>0.05). Its sensitivity ranged from 0.23 to 0.50 and the specificity lied between 0.63 and 0.80. The sensitivity of tenderness testing on AA zones showed that this is a weak clinical examination in screening hepatic, renal or lumbar disorders. Pain perception is a very subjective measurement, and it may be a limitation of the tenderness testing. Moderate correlation (r=0.4 - 0.56) between the (L) and the (R) ear was found among the results of most of the AE. Nevertheless, the correlation among various auricular examinations was weak (r=0.04-0.29). The three AE adopted in this study showed different findings in various groups. It may suggest that individual AE has its own importance in examining specific disorders.

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