Brain Science Advances


scalp acupuncture, neuroimaging, meta-analysis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), anxiety


Anxiety is a common psychiatric symptom with unsatisfactory treatment. Scalp acupuncture is a new type of acupuncture based on the functions of different brain regions. However, recent brain neuroimaging findings have not been well-integrated into scalp acupuncture practice and research since it was developed. In parallel, recently developed brain stimulation methods have also been applied to treat anxiety. In this study, we integrated meta-analysis (using Neurosynth), resting-state functional connectivity, and diffusion tensor imaging (using the amygdala as the region of interest) to identify potential locations of scalp acupuncture/neuromodulation for anxiety. We found that the superior/middle frontal gyrus, middle/superior temporal gyrus, precentral gyrus, supplementary motor area, supramarginal gyrus, angular gyrus, and superior/inferior occipital gyrus are involved in the pathophysiology of anxiety, and, thus, may be used as the target areas of scalp stimulation for alleviating anxiety. Integrating multidisciplinary brain methods to identify key surface cortical areas associated with a certain disorder may shed light on the development of scalp acupuncture/neuromodulation, particularly in the domain of identifying stimulation locations.