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Current High Profile Studies about Tai Chi
April 23, 2015 -
Harvard Medical School is currently conducting 2 separate studies about how Tai Chi may help patients with COPD.

One of the studies, with the title "Tai Chi After Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Patients With COPD: A Randomized Trial", aims to determine the feasibility and effects of a 6-month Tai Chi exercise program as compared to a 6-month group walking program and standard care for patients with COPD that have recently completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

The study is scheduled to complete by September 2017.

The other study, "Breathing, Education, Awareness and Movement in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease", is being conducted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The main purpose of this study is to determine feasibility and effects of a 12-week Tai Chi program and a 12-week mind-body breathing program in patients with COPD.

This study is planned to finish by February 2016.

At another Ivy League university, Brown University, its medical school is developing a Tai Chi based exercise program designed for patients who recently had a heart attack and do not wish, or are unable, to attend traditional cardiac rehabilitation.

The researchers will estimate the feasibility, acceptability and safety of two different doses of the Tai Chi intervention. 60 patients (30 per dose arm) will be randomly assigned to a standard dose of Tai Chi (the dose used by our group in large studies of heart failure patients) or to a high dose matching the recommended frequency and duration of exercise classes in current cardiac rehabilitations.

They plan to complete the study by August of 2016.

Dr. Chenchen Wang, a prominent medical researcher for Tai Chi, is leading a research project, Tai Chi and Aerobic Exercise for Fibromyalgia, at the Medical Center of Tufts University.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome that causes substantial physical and psychological impairment and costs over $25 billion annually. Dr. Chenchen Wang and her team propose to conduct the first comparative effectiveness trial of Tai Chi vs. aerobic exercise (a recommended component of the current standard of care) and to evaluate effectiveness under different Tai Chi dosing schedules in a large FM population.

They aim to (1) demonstrate that, compared to aerobic exercise, Tai Chi is a more effective intervention for managing the pain and improving the functional limitations that impact quality of life for FM patients, and 2) determine the optimal frequency and duration of a supervised Tai Chi intervention in relation to short and long-term effectiveness.

To achieve this goal, they will conduct a single-blind, randomized controlled trial of Tai Chi vs. aerobic exercise in 216 patients who meet the American College of Rheumatology criteria for FM. Successful completion of the proposed study will determine the ideal regimen of Tai Chi and demonstrate that Tai Chi can be a simple, effective, and durable treatment for this therapeutically challenging disorder.

The project is scheduled to finish in January 2016.


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