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How Improved Depression Symptoms and Quality of Life Correlated for Heart Failure Patients After Tai Chi Practice

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October 26, 2020 - Tai Chi exercise has been shown in a prior randomized controlled trial to improve depression symptoms and quality of life in patients with heart failure, but correlates of these improvements are not well known. A secondary analysis performed by Harvard Medical School, recently published by European journal of heart failure, explored whether Tai Chi is associated with improvements in biopsychosocial and behavioral measures and whether such improvements are correlated with improved depression and quality of life.

Participants were 100 adults with chronic systolic heart failure (mean age was 67.4, 64% male; 96% White). They were randomly assigned to a 12-week tai chi exercise intervention or health education control. Constructs of interest included social support, exercise self-efficacy, activity engagement, sense of coherence, and inflammatory biomarkers.

Tai Chi was associated with increased everyday activity engagement compared with the health education group, but there were no group differences in social support or sense of coherence. Among Tai Chi participants, improved self-efficacy was correlated with quality of life, and there was a trend toward improved depression symptoms and social support. Among all participants, controlling for intervention group, improved sense of coherence, and inflammation were associated with improved depression symptoms, and improved self-efficacy, sense of coherence, and frequency of activity engagement were associated with improved quality of life.

Tai Chi exercise promotes inter-related psychosocial improvements for patients with heart failure. A range of biopsychosocial and behavioral variables are relevant to mood management in patients with heart failure.




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