Tai Chi Effective in Reducing Balance Impairments and Falls in Patients with Parkinson's Disease
February 28, 2013 -
study is performed by National Taiwan UniversityThis
study is performed by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in a University
clinic in USA. It aimed to address one question: Does Tai Chi improve postural
control in patients with Parkinson's disease?
Individuals with Parkinson's disease between the age of 40 and 85 years, and
ability to walk with or without an assistive device were key inclusion criteria.
Mini-Mental State examination score <24 and concurrent participation in other
instructor-led exercise programs were key exclusion criteria. Randomization of
195 participants allocated 65 to each of the Tai Chi, resistance, and stretching
The Tai Chi group underwent a Tai Chi program, the resistance group 8 to 10 leg
muscle strengthening exercises, while the stretching group performed stretching
exercises involving the upper body and lower extremities. All three groups
trained for 24 weeks (60 minutes per session, two sessions per week).
The primary outcomes were two indicators of postural stability - maximum
excursion and directional control derived from dynamic posturography. The
secondary outcomes were stride length, gait velocity, knee flexion and extension
peak torque, functional reach, timed-up-and-go test, and motor section of the
Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS III). The outcomes were measured
at baseline, at 12 and 24 weeks, and 3 months after termination of the
One hundred eighty-five participants completed the study. At the end of the
24-week training period, the change in maximum excursion in the Tai Chi group
was significantly more than that in the resistance group and the stretching
group. Direction control improved significantly more in the Tai Chi group
compared with the resistance group and the control group. The Tai Chi group also
had significantly more improvement in stride length and functional reach than
the other two groups. The change in knee flexion and extension peak torque,
timed-up-and-go test, and UPDRS III score in the Tai Chi group was only
significantly more than that in the stretching group, but not the resistance
group. The falls incidence was also lower in the Tai Chi group than the
stretching group during the 6-month training period.
The research concluded that Tai Chi training is effective in reducing balance
impairments in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease.