According to ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2012) Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become a common treatment for patients with chronic pain or movement disorders. Now a unique set of experiments shows that electrical stimulation in some of the same brain areas can also affect respiratory function, according to a study in the February issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Their study provides valuable new information on the brain's involvement in governing lung function via the autonomic nervous system. Continued research might lead to the development of new approaches to treatment for lung diseases -- especially asthma and COPD.

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a serious lung disease which makes it hard to breathe. Also known by other names, such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, COPD is now the 4th leading cause of death in the United States and also causes long-term disability.COPD is characterised by poorly reversible airflow obstruction and progressive symptoms. Exacerbation of COPD is a clinical diagnosis of exclusion and there are many causes of worsening symptoms in a patient with underlying COPD that should be considered.

Japanese release a new research about acupuncture for COPD.Their conclusions: The study demonstrated that acupuncture contributed to the reduction of COPD-related dyspnea on exercise in 15 matched-pair parallel subjects.[1]

Acupuncture may be construed as a form of deep brain stimulation via systematic stimulation of the skin. It may therefore one day prove to be an effective tool in the battle against COPD.
Reference:[1]J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Nov;14(9):1097-1105