||OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the therapeutic effect of scalp electroacupuncture for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the early stage. METHODS: Two hundred and thirty three MCI patients were randomly divided into three groups: the drug group, the scalp electroacupuncture group, and the syndrome differentiation group. For the scalp electroacupuncture group, the points of Baihui (DU 20), Sishecong (EX-HN1), Fengchi (GB 20), and Shenting (DU 24) were selected. For the syndrome differentiation group, specific acupoints were added on the basis of syndrome differentiation and according to the scale for the differentiation of syndromes in vascular dementia (SDSVD) beside the acupoints used in the scalp electroacupuncture group. For the drug group, nimodipine was orally administered. Each patient was treated for two courses, eight weeks. The score differences in mini-mental state examination (MMSE), picture recognition, and clock drawing test were observed before and after the treatment. RESULTS: After treatment, the score differences in MMSE and clock drawing test were of obvious statistical significance among three groups (P<0.01, P<0.05). The score differences in picture recognition were of extremely statistical significance between the scalp electroacupuncture group and the syndrome differentiation group (P<0.01), while the difference was not found in the drug group (P>0.05). There were statistical significant differences in therapeutic effects between the scalp electroacupuncture group and the drug group, and between the syndrome differentiation group and the drug group (P<0.05), while no statistical difference was found between scalp electroacupuncture group and the syndrome differentiation group (P>0.05). CONCLUSION: All the three therapies may improve the cognitive function of MCI patients. The therapeutic effects in the scalp electroacupuncture and syndrome differentiation groups were basically the same, but superior to nimodipine.