Introduction: Stroke in young adults is not uncommon. Although the overall incidence of stroke has been recently declining, the incidence of stroke in young adults is increasing. Traditional vascular risk factors are the main cause of young ischaemic stroke. Acupuncture has been shown to benefit stroke rehabilitation and ameliorate the risk factors for stroke. The aims of this study were to determine whether acupuncture treatment will be effective in improving the activities of daily living (ADL), motor function and quality of life (QOL) in patients of young ischaemic stroke, and in preventing stroke recurrence by controlling blood pressure, lipids and body weight. Methods and analysis: In this randomised, sham-controlled, participant-blinded and assessor-blinded clinical trial, 120 patients between 18 and 45 years of age with a recent (within 1 month) ischaemic stroke will be randomised for an 8-week acupuncture or sham acupuncture treatment. The primary outcome will be the Barthel Index for ADL. The secondary outcomes will include the Fugl-Meyer Assessment for motor function; the World Health Organization Quality of Life BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) for QOL; and risk factors that are measured by ambulatory blood pressure, the fasting serum lipid, body mass index and waist circumference. Incidence of adverse events and longterm mortality and recurrence rate during a 10-year and 30-year follow-up will also be investigated. Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee of The Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University. Protocol V.3 was approved in June 2013. The results will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at international congresses. The results will also be disseminated to patients by telephone during follow-up calls enquiring on the patient's post-study health status.
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