The 12th Five-Year Plan outline (2011-2015) of the National Economy and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China is referred as 12th Five-Year Plan. This paper analyzed and summarized the approved funded projects on approval of acupuncture and moxibustion science by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC) including the total number of the funding projects, the distribution of the total funding capital, funding categories and the main research content of acupuncture and moxibustion science during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). During the “12th Five-Year Plan”, NSFC funded 499 study projects of acupuncture and moxibustion. The research categories involved meridian collaterals, acupoint theory, acupuncture techniques, acupuncture effects and mechanismss of acupuncture therapy. Of which, studies on mechanisms of acupuncture therapy and acupoints were the hot spots during this period, with the most projects funded. Studies on mechanisms of acupuncture therapy still focused on the cerebral protective mechanisms after cerebral ischemia. Research projects on acupoints mainly involved acupoints and viscera related studies, studies on acupuncture points and the state of human body, studies on acupuncture effects and techniques, studies on compatibility of acupuncture points, studies on acupuncture points of ears and studies on acupuncture pattern, which focus on and address the relationship between structural characteristics and functional properties to reveal the material basis and mechanisms of acupuncture effects. Compared with the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), the NSFC markedly enhanced the support to the acupuncture and moxibustion studies, especially for young scholars. During both Five-Year Plans, studies on acupuncture analgesia and acupuncture therapy of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases were still the emphasis of the fundamental acupuncture and moxibustion research supported by the NSFC, while studies on the mechanisms of acupoint sensitization and moxibustion therapy had become the hot points of this research area. From the results of analysis, lack of fundamental studies on clinical use, scattered research contents, limited research ideas and lagging research methods were still the problems that restricted the study of acupuncture.
“Five-Year Plan” is an important part of the National Economy Plan in China, which mainly makes the plans on the major national construction project, productive force distribution and major proportion relationship in the national economy, and stipulates the target and direction for the national economic development prospects. The 12th Five-Year Plan is the abbreviation on the twelfth Five-Year Plan outline (2011-2015) of the national economy and social development of the People’s Republic of China. The projects on the science of acupuncture and moxibustion are one of the directions in the national 12thFive-Year Plan. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (Hereinafter referred to as NSFC) established by the State Council of PRC, mainly aims at the demands on major scientific frontiers and important national strategies, is one of the main channels to obtain supports from Chinese government on the fundamental research. The acupuncture and moxibustion therapy has been gradually recognized and widely spreadall over the world because it is simple, convenient, cost effective and efficacious, without drug-related toxic and side effects. However, the mechanismss of acupuncture and moxibustion remains unclear. Therefore, Chinese government always strongly supports the fundamental research in the field science of acupuncture and moxibustion. In this article, we carried out a detail analysis of the acupuncture and moxibustion projects funded by the NSFC during the 12th Five-Year Plan on the official website of National Natural Science Funds Commission (http://www.nsfc.gov.cn/), using the application codes for acupuncture and moxibustion including the science of meridians and acupoints (application code: H2707) and science of acupuncture and moxibustion (application code: H2718) and compared the funding status during the 12th Five-Year Plan with that during the 11th Five-Year Plan.
|Institution funded||General projects||Project for young scientists fund||Major projects||Significant international cooperation projects||International (regional) cooperation and exchange project||Total|
|Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||18||28||0||1||1||48|
|Chengdu University Of Traditional Chinese Medicine||26||12||2||0||0||40|
|China Academy Of Chinese Medical Sciences||23||14||0||0||1||38|
|Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||10||20||1||0||0||31|
|Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||14||15||0||0||0||29|
|Beijing University of Chinese Medicine||19||6||1||0||2||28|
|Hunan University of Chinese Medicine||12||10||0||0||0||22|
|Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||14||5||1||0||0||20|
|Anhui University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||12||8||0||0||0||20|
|Hubei University of Chinese Medicine||13||3||0||0||0||16|
Table 1: Distribution of the institutions funded by the NSFC ranked in the top ten for acupuncture and moxibustion science during the 12th Five-Year Plan.
|Institution funded||Number of the projects||Amount of capitals (Million Yuan?|
|Huazhong University of Science and Technology||6||260|
|Southern Medical University||6||243|
|The Chinese people’s liberation army, second military hospital||4||228|
|Capital Medical University||4||266|
|Ningxia Medical College||4||189|
|The fourth army of the Chinese people's liberation army hospital||3||348|
|Chinese academy of medical sciences, Peking union medical college hospital||3||153|
|Xinjiang Medical University||3||143|
|Hainan Medical College||3||126|
Table 2: Institutions which were not the Traditional Chinese Medicine acquired the funding of the NSFC in the field of acupuncture and moxibustion sciences during the 12th Five-Year Plan were as following (the number of the project funded was greater than or equal to 3).
|Program categories||Number of programs||Percent of the total programs?%?||Capitals(million Yuan)|
|Special Funds of the National Natural Science Foundation of China||5||1.00%||0.5|
|emergency management projects||1||0.20%||0.1|
|National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars||199||40.00%||43.99|
|Fund for Less Developed Regions of the National Natural Science Foundation of China;||38||7.62%||17.76|
|National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars||1||0.20%||1|
|International Cooperation and Exchanges Projects||3||0.60%||0.15|
|major international (regional) project||1||0.20%||2.8|
During the 12th Five-Year Plan, the number of the research projects in this category included three key program, three major international (regional) cooperative project, 118 general programs, 117 National Science Fund for Young Scholars projects, nineteen fund for less developed regions of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and one special funded project, accounting for 46.84% of the total amount of the funded projects. Most of the institutions which apply for these projects distributed in Shanghai, Nanjing, Tianjin, Chengdu and Guangzhou, respectively. Their studies mainly focused on the brain science. Among them, the most research projects were the studies on the mechanisms of protection of acupuncture after cerebral ischemia, amounting to fifty-seven projects, mainly the studies on the mechanismss of related signaling pathways after cerebral ischemia and the anti inflammatory action of acupuncture.
In addition, there were four studies on the brain injury which involved the influence of acupuncture to the neural stem cell after the cerebral injury; twenty studies on the acupuncture therapy of depression involved the influence of acupuncture to the neural network and the molecular pathways of the depressive disorder patients; seventeen studies on the acupuncture therapy of the cardiovascular disorders which involved the mechanismss on the protective effect of acupuncture to the diseases such as the myocardial ischemia reperfusion, the high blood pressure, etc. There were fourteen studies about the influence of the acupuncture therapy to the digestive system including the research on the regulatory mechanismss of the acupuncture to the chronic atrophic gastritis, the functional dyspepsia and the enteric nervous system; twenty studies on the acupuncture therapy to the endocrine system, primarily including the studies on the action mechanisms of the acupuncture treatment for anti obesity and the epigenetics. There were twenty studies on about the mechanisms of neuron regeneration and the signal pathway after the acupuncture treatment of spinal cord injury. Some projects were the studies on the biomechanics and the mechanisms of signal pathway in the arthritis and osteoporosis, including eighteen projects on the mechanisms of acupuncture anti inflammatory, which were mainly studies on the mechanisms in anti asthmatic immune inflammation and anti arthritis. There were six projects on the acupuncture in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, three projects on treatment of the senile dementia and one project on the infantile autism, respectively. A minority of projects involved the influence of the electroacupuncture to the biological rhythm, epigenetics of the hepatoma mice, the regulation effect of acupuncture to the hepatic vessel, and the influence of the acupuncture to the auditory sense and the visual sense.
During the 12th Five-Year Plan, the number of the funded research projects related to the acupuncture analgesia accounted for 8.62% of the total funded projects, with the funded capital of these projects accounting for 7.12% of the total funded capital. In the studies on the central mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia and the immunomodulatory mechanisms of acupuncture, the electroacupuncture and the moxibustion, the pain were usually involved with the abdominal pain, migraine, menstrual cramps and ache related to the tumor. Among them, many studies involved the mechanisms of the acupuncture resisting the inflammatory pain, and some were involved with the analgesic and accumulation effect of acupuncture, some were the studies on the mechanisms of the labor analgesia by the cooperation of the acupuncture and the five element music. Most of the other projects were the research on its mechanisms involved effect and neurobiology, such as ‘treating the pain by using the warm acupuncture: the research on the non harmful thermal stimulation analgesic effect and its mechanisms.
During the 12th Five-Year Plan, the amount of the studies related to the meridians was less. The number of the projects on the funded studies accounted for 3.41% of the total funded projects, with the funded capital of these projects accounting for 2.59% of the total funded capital. These projects included nine general programs, three National Science Funds for Young Scholars, three special funded programs, one emergency management project and one district science fund project. The mechanisms of these researches involved treatment of the cardiovascular disease by selecting the acupoints according to the channel, the change rule and the standardization of the meridian points for acupuncture and moxibustion. In addition, there were some modern technologies apply to study of the nature of the science of meridian based on the biological photon correlation theory and the multimodal techniques. For example, the projects such as ‘Research on the nature of meridian based on the bio photon relevant theories’, ‘Research on the calcium ion oscillations in the meridians and acupuncture points based on the non linear dynamics and the noise stochastic resonance theory’. Both studies standardized and quantified the meridian study by using the modern science technology.
Compared with the funding situation of the NSCF in the acupuncture projects during the 11th Five-Year Plan, the number of the acupuncture projects funded by NSCF during the 12th Five-Year Plan increased by 308, with a proportion of up to 180.92%; the funded capital increased by 202.56 million Yuan, with a proportion of up to 384.58%. The categories of the projects funded showed that four categories of the major program, the major international (regional) cooperation and research project?the negotiation project among the Non Governmental Organization), the special funded program and the emergency management program were added during the 12th Five-Year Plan compared to the 11th Five-Year Plan. In addition, compared with in the 11th Five-Year Plan, the proportion of the general projects of the acupuncture funded by the NSFC in the 12th Five-Year Plan decreased by 13.17%, while the proportion of the National Science Fund or Young Scholars funded increased by 40.08%. This showed that NSFC was increasingly focused the support of acupuncture research on the foundation projects of young scientists.
From the research content of the funded projects, all of the subject terms in the application projects of the science of acupuncture and moxibustion during the 11th Five-Year Plan and the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan focused on acupuncture and electroacupuncture (Figure 4). This indicated that the acupuncture and moxibustion research still placed particular emphasis on the function mechanisms of the acupuncture and moxibustion. And the word acupuncture analgesia emerged during the 12th Five-Year Plan period more frequently, and the number of relevant research projects was 5.375 times of that during the 11thFive-Year Plan. In addition, the protective effect of acupuncture analgesia to the cerebral ischemia was still one of the major subjects in the acupuncture and moxibustion research. Meanwhile, this showed that acupuncture analgesia had the advantage in the cerebral ischemia disease treatment. The terms, astrocyte and acupuncture effect, ranked in the top ten for the first time, which perhaps due to the concern extent to the astrocyte in the field of neurobiology and the degree of the enthusiasm on acupuncture and moxibustion study abroad [1,2].
Figure 4: Summary for Top 10 of the frequency using subject terms in the application projects in the field of acupuncture and moxibustion science funded by the NSFC.
Compared with in the 11th Five-Year Plan, the research content of the science of acupuncture and moxibustion in the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan were more explicit and more definite. For example, the general subject terms such as ‘acupuncture point’ and ‘mechanisms’, etc., ranked in the top ten in the 11th Five-Year Plan, but didn’t appear in the subject terms which ranked in the top ten in the 12th Five-Year Plan. While the subject terms ranked in top ten in the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan were more specific professional words such as ‘astrocyte’ and ‘signal channel’, this may be related to the rapid development of neurobiology. And the ‘acupoint sensitization’ became the hotspot of acupuncture moxibustion research at this time. The projects of acupuncture and moxibustion science included six major research projects, of which five projects focused on the studies in the acupoint sensitization, and also included one general project and two youth fund projects. And of which the total funded capital reached to 28.64 million Yuan. Furthermore, the number of the research projects on the mechanisms of moxibustion therapy presented rising trend obviously, and the research content did not only involve the mechanisms of anti-aging and enhancing immune but also the research on mechanisms of the treatment of tumor related diseases.
By compared with the 11th Five-Year Plan, the number and the funding strength on the research projects related to acupuncture and moxibustion funded by the NSCF has been elevated significantly during 12thFive-Year Plan, and this showed that Chinese Government was strongly supporting the fundamental research and development on the science of acupuncture and moxibustion. During the 11th Five-Year Plan and 12th Five-Year Plan, the categories of funded projects encompassed the studies on meridians, acupoints, acupuncture manipulation and acupuncture effects related function mechanisms thereof. The main disease categories with which these research projects involved were cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases, the immune system and endocrine system. And also there were some studies on the mechanisms of acupuncture and moxibustion effect on the health care. Compared during the 11thFive-Year Plan, the research on acupuncture analgesia and acupuncture and moxibustion therapy of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases were still emphasis during the 12th Five-Year Plan , the studies on acupuncture point and mechanisms of moxa moxibustion therapy have been hotspot of the acupuncture and moxibustion researches, and perhaps will be the research emphasis of the acupuncture and moxibustion during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).
The existing problems included the following: (1) the studies on acupuncture and moxibustion based on the clinical were still in shortage. By far, there were few studies related to the acupuncture and moxibustion clinical domestically, this perhaps because the NSFC fund was mainly focus on fundamental studies of the acupuncture and moxibustion. The acupuncture and moxibustion fundamental researches from the clinical and should be practiced in clinical, so that it should incorporate with the clinical. (2)The content of the acupuncture and moxibustion studies was too scattered. The disease categories studied by the acupuncture and moxibustion were various, the range of their pathogenic involved were rather extensively, and their research targets presented the pattern of flowers of every kind in bloom, in which the target of every research were disperse and unconcentrated, thus they went against the basic mechanisms on which the acupuncture and moxibustion may treat certain diseases, and weren’t able to form a intact research system. (3)The idea of research was short of innovation and the research methods were backward relatively. The research approach mainly imitated those of the modern medical studies and didn’t have the feature of Traditional Chinese Medicine research; while with regard to the research means, although the imaging technologies such as the FMRI has entered into this research field, however the newest neurobiological research such as the optogenetics, weren’t still been applied widely. In consideriation that, the domestic acupuncture and moxibustion studies still lacked of international recognition no matter it was the clinical research or the fundamental research, thus there is still a very long way to go in order to acquire the major breakthrough in the thought and research method of acupuncture and moxibustion.
Supported by Key projects of National Scientific Fund of China (No.81230088) and National Scientific Fund of China (No. 31571041).
Citation: Guo L, Deng X, Yao L, Rong P, Xu N, et al. (2017) Report and Analysis of Funding Situation by NSFC for Research Projects on Acupuncture and Moxibustion Science during the 12th Five-Year Plan. J Altern Complement Integr Med 3: 021.
Copyright: © 2017 Lili Guo, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.