Improve Health and Cognitive Ability in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Health and Cognitive Ability in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi is a gentle exercise that helps seniors improve balance and prevent falls. Studies have found that tai chi also improves leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, immune system, sleep, happiness, sense of self-worth, and the ability to concentrate and multitask during cognitive tests.” – DailyCaring

 

Human life is one of constant change. We revel in our increases in physical and mental capacities during development, but regret their decreases during aging. The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. This includes our mental abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem-solving ability, and in emotion regulation. There is some hope for age related decline, however, as there is evidence that it can be slowed. There are some indications that physical and mental exercise can reduce the rate of decline. For example, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi on Markers of Atherosclerosis, Lower-limb Physical Function, and Cognitive Ability in Adults Aged Over 60: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427726/), Zhou and colleagues recruited healthy elderly (aged 60-79 years) who were not practicing Tai Chi or other mindful movement practices and randomly assigned them to engage in one of three different Tai Chi practices for 12 weeks. The practices contained either 24, 42, or 56 different movements. They attended 3 times weekly Tai Chi classes. For the first 6 weeks the classes were 60 minutes while for the second 6 weeks the classes were 90 minutes. They were measured at baseline and at 6 and 12-weeks of practice for resting heart rate and as markers of atherosclerosis resting ankle brachial index and ankle pulse wave velocity. They were also measured for cognitive ability and movement tests of chair rise, walking, balance, and up-and-go test.

 

They found that for both males and females all three Tai Chi practices produced significant improvements in health-related outcomes at 6 and 12 weeks including improvements in walking, balance, up-and-go test, and ankle brachial index. Compared to the 24-movement practice, the 42- and 56-movement practices produced significantly better results for walking and balance and the resting ankle brachial index indicator of atherosclerosis. There were no adverse events recorded.

 

These results have to be interpreted with caution as there wasn’t a control condition such as a different exercise and there was no long-term follow-up. Nevertheless, the results suggest that Tai Chi practices is safe and effective treatment to produce significant improvements in the elderly’s movements, balance, and atherosclerosis. The 24-movement practice appears to be inferior to Tai Chi practices containing a greater number of distinct movements. Supporting these findings is the fact that these improvements including improved balance, movement, cardiovascular performance have also been documented in prior research.

 

Tai Chi practice is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. All of these characteristics make Tai Chi practice an excellent practice to improvement the health of the elderly.

 

So, improve health and cognitive ability in the elderly with Tai Chi

 

Practicing Tai Chi regularly is known to enhance health and fitness. It can also help seniors with a better sense of balance and strength.” – MedicalAlert

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

                 

Zhou, S., Zhang, Y., Kong, Z., Loprinzi, P. D., Hu, Y., Ye, J., … Zou, L. (2019). The Effects of Tai Chi on Markers of Atherosclerosis, Lower-limb Physical Function, and Cognitive Ability in Adults Aged Over 60: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(5), 753. doi:10.3390/ijerph16050753

 

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi (TC) on arterial stiffness, physical function of lower-limb, and cognitive ability in adults aged over 60. Methods: This study was a prospective and randomized 12-week intervention trial with three repeated measurements (baseline, 6, and 12 weeks). Sixty healthy adults who met the inclusion criteria were randomly allocated into three training conditions (TC-24, TC-42, and TC-56) matched by gender, with 20 participants (10 males, 10 females) in each of the three groups. We measured the following health outcomes, including markers of atherosclerosis, physical function (leg power, and static and dynamic balance) of lower-limb, and cognitive ability. Results: When all three TC groups (p < 0.05) have showed significant improvements on these outcomes but overall cognitive ability at 6 or 12 weeks training period, TC-56 appears to have superior effects on arterial stiffness and static/dynamic balance in the present study. Conclusions: Study results of the present study add to growing body of evidence regarding therapeutic TC for health promotion and disease prevention in aging population. Future studies should further determine whether TC-42 and TC-56 are beneficial for other non-Chinese populations, with rigorous research design and follow-up assessment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427726/

 

Improve Cardiac Function in Heart Failure Patients with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiac Function in Heart Failure Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi may be a useful form of exercise for cardiac rehab programs, as it’s safe for high-risk patients. Findings also suggest that tai chi alone may be beneficial for patients who are unwilling to participate in a rehab program.” – CardioSmart

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There are myriads of treatments that have been developed to treat Heart Failure including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. Importantly, lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.

 

Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart failure, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of heart failure patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.  Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment for heart failure patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi exercise and functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles for rehabilitation in older adults with chronic systolic heart failure: a non-randomized clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886363/), Hao and colleagues recruited elderly (>70 years) heart failure patients and assigned them to receive either 1-hour, twice a week, for 12 weeks Tai Chi practice or 30-minutes, five times per week of functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles (FEW), or both Tai Chi and FES, or to a no-treatment control condition. They were measured before and after the interventions for quality of life, depression, arterial flow mediated dilatation, mobility, and peak oxygen consumption.

 

They found that in comparison to the control group, all interventions groups had improved quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions. They had significantly improved arterial flow mediated dilatation; a measure associated with lower mortality in heart failure patients. The Tai Chi group also had decreased resting heart rate which, in turn, reduced peak oxygen consumption.

 

The results suggest that both Tai Chi practice and functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles improves the quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions in elderly heart failure patients. Additionally, Tai Chi practice lowered heart rates suggesting improved physical fitness. Hence, these interventions are recommended for the treatment of elderly heart failure patients.

Tai Chi, however, may be preferred due to its high levels of adherence and enjoyability.

 

So, improve cardiac function in heart failure patients with Tai Chi.

 

it’s a reasonable and safe step to offer tai chi within cardiac rehab. If someone says they are afraid of exercising, we could ask if they are interested in doing tai chi.” – Elena Salmoriago-Blotcher

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hao, Y., Zhang, L., Zhang, Z., Chen, L., He, N., & Zhu, S. (2019). Tai Chi exercise and functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles for rehabilitation in older adults with chronic systolic heart failure: a non-randomized clinical trial. Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas, 52(12), e8786. doi:10.1590/1414-431X20198786

 

Abstract

Exercise-based training decreases hospitalizations in heart failure patients but such patients have exercise intolerance. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the effect of 12 weeks of Tai Chi exercise and lower limb muscles’ functional electrical stimulation in older chronic heart failure adults. A total of 1,084 older adults with chronic systolic heart failure were included in a non-randomized clinical trial (n=271 per group). The control group did not receive any kind of intervention, one group received functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles (FES group), another group practiced Tai Chi exercise (TCE group), and another received functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles and practiced Tai Chi exercise (FES & TCE group). Quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions of all patients were evaluated. Compared to the control group, only FES group had increased Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) score (P<0.0001, q=9.06), only the TCE group had decreased heart rate (P<0.0001, q=5.72), and decreased peak oxygen consumption was reported in the TCE group (P<0.0001, q=9.15) and FES & TCE group (P<0.0001, q=10.69). FES of lower limb muscles and Tai Chi exercise can recover the quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions of older chronic heart failure adult

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886363/

 

Reduce Depression with Qigong Practice

Reduce Depression with Qigong Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

practice of the Chinese martial art tai chi led to significantly reduced symptoms of depression in Chinese-Americans not receiving any other treatments.” – Science Daily

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.  Mindful Movement practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi have been found to be effective for depression. Research has been accumulating. So, it is important to step back and examine what has been learned regarding the application of Qigong practice for depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Neurophysiological and Psychological Mechanisms of Qigong as a Treatment for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6880657/?report=classic), So and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of Qigong practice for depression. They identified 9 published trials that included depression and biological measures.

 

They report that the research found that Qigong practice resulted in a significant reduction in depression with small to moderate effect sizes. They also report that there was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure produced by  Qigong practice. There were indications that Qigong practice also reduced inflammation and stress hormones and increased well-being but there were insufficient studies to conduct a meta-analysis.

 

The results suggest that Qigong practice is a safe and mildly effective treatment for depression. There is a need for more research on the effects of Qigong practice on the biological processes that may underlie its effectiveness and also of the psychological well-being of the depressed individuals.

 

It’s important to note that Qigong is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, reduce depression with Qigong practice.

 

Qi Gong is one path for overcoming depression that has no harmful side effects. Furthermore, it can coincide with any other course of intervention or treatment.” – Ian Drogin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

So, W., Cai, S., Yau, S. Y., & Tsang, H. (2019). The Neurophysiological and Psychological Mechanisms of Qigong as a Treatment for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 820. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00820

 

Abstract

Objective: An increasing number of studies have shown the anti-depressive effect of qigong. However, its underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. This study aims to systematically review and meta-analyze existing literature on the mechanism of qigong in reducing depression.

Method: The review process followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Randomized controlled trials of qigong were searched from PsycINFO, PubMed, Embase, ScienceDirect, and Academic Search Premier from inception to December 2018. Studies which involved depression and any neurophysiological or psychological mechanisms as outcomes were included. Publication bias was tested before conducting meta-analysis. Two independent raters were involved for the entire review process.

Results: A total of nine studies were identified which covered both neurophysiological and psychological mechanisms. Among these selected studies, seven were involved in meta-analysis, which suggested that qigong was effective in alleviating depression (standardized mean difference, SMD = −0.27, p < 0.05, I 2 = 27%). A significant effect was also found for diastolic blood pressure (SMD = −1.64, p < 0.05, I 2 = 31%). However, no significant effect was found for cortisol level and systolic blood pressure.

Conclusions: This review shows that qigong is effective in reducing depression through activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Future studies with higher quality of research methodology with less selection and attrition bias should be conducted to unravel the possible anti-depressive effect of qigong.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6880657/?report=classic

 

Improve Brain Function and Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Brain Function and Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

in individuals age 60 or older with mild cognitive impairment . . . engaging in tai chi (a series of gentle, slow movements accompanied by deep breathing) reduces the risk of falling. What’s more, it may also improve cognitive abilities.” – Health and Wellness Alerts

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditationyoga, and Tai Chi have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive function, memory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the effectiveness of Tai Chi training on older adults with mild cognitive impairment to improve their cognitive performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind-body exercise improves cognitive function and modulates the function and structure of the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex in patients with mild cognitive impairment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535682/), Tao and colleagues recruited sedentary patients over 60 years of age who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. They were randomly assigned to receive 24 weeks, 3 times per week for 1 hour, of either Baduanjin Tai Chi or brisk walking, or 8 weeks, once a week for 30 minutes of health education. They were measured before and after the 24 weeks of training for cognitive function including naming, verbal memory registration, visuospatial/executive functions, and learning, attention, and abstraction. Their brains were also scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) before and after training.

 

They found that the group that practiced Baduanjin Tai Chi had significant improvements in cognitive functions that were about double those of the walking and health education groups. In the fMRI data they investigated the resting state amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF), that is linked with cerebral blood flow. They found that Baduanjin Tai Chi group had significant decreases in ALFF in the right hippocampus and significant increases in the left medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. They also found that the Baduanjin Tai Chi group had significant increases in grey matter volume in the right hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex and increased functional connectivity between the hippocampus and right angular gyrus. Importantly, they found that the greater the change in the ALFF for the right hippocampus and also the anterior cingulate cortex the greater the improvement in cognitive function.

 

The hippocampus has been shown to be involved in information storage (memory). Since one of the biggest changes that accompany mild cognitive impairments are deficits in memory, it seems logical that interventions that improve cognitive function in these patients would affect the brain structure involved in the memory process.

 

These are very interesting results from a well-controlled study. They suggest that participation in Baduanjin Tai Chi changes the brain and increases cognitive function in patients with mild cognitive impairments. These results are in line with previous findings that Tai Chi improves cognitive function, memory, and reduces age related deterioration of the brain in the elderly. The results also suggest that the changes in the brain are associated with the changes in cognitive ability.

 

It’s important to note that Tai Chi is gentle and safe, appropriate for all ages, and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Overall, the results suggest that participation in Tai Chi should be recommended for patients with mild cognitive impairments.

 

So, improve brain function and mild cognitive impairment in the elderly with Tai Chi

 

 

adults with mild cognitive impairment . . . found that a 12-week exercise program significantly improved performance on a semantic memory task, and also significantly improved brain efficiency.” – About Memory

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tao, J., Liu, J., Chen, X., Xia, R., Li, M., Huang, M., … Kong, J. (2019). Mind-body exercise improves cognitive function and modulates the function and structure of the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex in patients with mild cognitive impairment. NeuroImage. Clinical, 23, 101834. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101834

 

Abstract

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a common neurological disorder. This study aims to investigate the modulation effect of Baduanjin (a popular mind-body exercise) on MCI. 69 patients were randomized to Baduanjin, brisk walking, or an education control group for 24 weeks. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans were applied at baseline and at the end of the experiment. Compared to the brisk walking and control groups, the Baduanjin group experienced significantly increased MoCA scores. Amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) analysis showed significantly decreased ALFF values in the right hippocampus (classic low-freqency band, 0.01‐0.08 Hz) in the Baduanjin group compared to the brisk walking group and increased ALFF values in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC, slow-5 band, 0.01-0.027 Hz) in the Baduanjin group compared to the control group. Further, ALFF value changes in the right hippocampus and bilateral ACC were significantly associated with corresponding MoCA score changes across all groups. We also found increased gray matter volume in the Baduanjin group in the right hippocampus compared to the brisk walking group and in the bilateral ACC compared to the control group. In addition, there was an increased resting state functional connectivity between the hippocampus and right angular gyrus in the Baduanjin group compared to the control group. Our results demonstrate the potential of Baduanjin for the treatment of MCI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535682/

 

Improve Gulf War Illness in Veterans with Tai Chi

Improve Gulf War Illness in Veterans with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.” – US Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Engaging in warfare has many consequences to society and individuals, including the warriors themselves. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common problem among military veterans with between 11% to 20% of veterans who were involved in combat developing PTSD. There is a specific syndrome that has been identified in about 36% of veterans of the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The cluster of symptoms include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.

 

It has been demonstrated that mindfulness training is effective for PTSD symptoms . In addition, Yoga practice is a mindfulness practice that has been shown to be helpful for PTSD. Mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong have been found to be beneficial for individuals with a myriad of physical and psychological problems. This raises the possibility that Tai Chi practice may be beneficial for veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600798/), Reid and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice in relieving the symptoms of participants whose symptoms were similar to Gulf War Illness. They identified multiple randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of Tai Chi practice for these symptoms.

 

They report that the published research indicates that Tai Chi practice significantly improves mood, sleep, global cognitive function, and respiratory function and significantly decreases insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain. Hence Tai Chi practice has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms that commonly occur in Gulf War Illness. This suggests that Tai Chi practice should be tried directly to treat veterans with Gulf War Syndrome. It remains for future research to test this hypothesis.

 

So, improve Gulf War Illness in veterans with Tai Chi.

 

Mindfulness-based stress reduction may provide significant benefits to symptoms associated with Gulf War Illness in veterans.” – Laura Stiles

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Reid, K. F., Bannuru, R. R., Wang, C., Mori, D. L., & Niles, B. L. (2019). The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review. Integrative medicine research, 8(3), 167–172. doi:10.1016/j.imr.2019.05.003

 

Abstract

Gulf War illness (GWI) is a chronic and multisymptom disorder affecting military veterans deployed to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It is characterized by a range of acute and chronic symptoms, including but not limited to, fatigue, sleep disturbances, psychological problems, cognitive deficits, widespread pain, and respiratory and gastrointestinal difficulties. The prevalence of many of these chronic symptoms affecting Gulf War veterans occur at markedly elevated rates compared to nondeployed contemporary veterans. To date, no effective treatments for GWI have been identified. The overarching goal of this umbrella review was to critically evaluate the evidence for the potential of Tai Chi mind-body exercise to benefit and alleviate GWI symptomology. Based on the most prevalent GWI chronic symptoms and case definitions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Gulf War Veterans Health Initiative Program, we reviewed and summarized the evidence from 7 published systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Our findings suggest that Tai Chi may have the potential for distinct therapeutic benefits on the major prevalent symptoms of GWI. Future clinical trials are warranted to examine the feasibility, efficacy, durability and potential mechanisms of Tai Chi for improving health outcomes and relieving symptomology in GWI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600798/

 

Improve Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis with Exercise and Mind-Body Practices

Improve Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis with Exercise and Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

studies suggest that specific mind-body therapies may help reduce pain and improve physical function in persons with osteoarthritis of the knee.” – Terry Selfe

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. Hip osteoarthritis effects 9% of adults. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee or hip osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee or hip replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee or hip osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and mind-body practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful in for treatment. Indeed, yoga practice has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis and Tai Chi and Qigong have also been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to summarize the research into the effectiveness of mind-body practices relative to other exercises in treating knee or hip osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Relative Efficacy of Different Exercises for Pain, Function, Performance and Quality of Life in Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis: Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6459784/), Goh and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of mind-body practices and exercise on knee or hip osteoarthritis. They found 103 controlled trials including a total of 9134 participants. Exercises were separated in strengthening, aerobic, and flexibility exercises and movements combined with mindfulness (e.g. yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong); mind-body practices. Most studies (76) compared these practices versus usual medical care.

 

They report that the published research studies found that in comparison to usual care, all exercises produced significant benefits including reduced pain, improved movement performance, self-reported motor abilities, and quality of life. These benefits were greater for knee osteoarthritis than for hip osteoarthritis. Of the various exercises they found that in general aerobic exercise produced the greatest benefits for pain and movement performance, while mind-body practices had equivalent benefit for pain and produced the greatest benefits for self-reported motor abilities.

 

These results confirm that exercise is good for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis, improving movement and quality of life and reducing pain. It appears that aerobic exercises and mind-body exercises produce the greatest benefits. This suggests that these practices be recommended for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis to reduce their difficulties with movement and reduce their suffering.

 

So, improve knee and hip osteoarthritis with exercise and mind-body practices.

 

We don’t choose to have arthritis, but we can choose how to respond to and cope with it. By not allowing pain to define our lives, we can change how we view and relate to pain. That’s mindfulness – we are changing our feelings and thoughts around pain.” – Andrea Minick Rudolph

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Goh, S. L., Persson, M., Stocks, J., Hou, Y., Welton, N. J., Lin, J., … Zhang, W. (2019). Relative Efficacy of Different Exercises for Pain, Function, Performance and Quality of Life in Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis: Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 49(5), 743–761. doi:10.1007/s40279-019-01082-0

 

Abstract

Background

Guidelines recommend exercise as a core treatment for osteoarthritis (OA). However, it is unclear which type of exercise is most effective, leading to inconsistency between different recommendations.

Objectives

The aim of this systematic review and network meta-analysis was to investigate the relative efficacy of different exercises (aerobic, mind–body, strengthening, flexibility/skill, or mixed) for improving pain, function, performance and quality of life (QoL) for knee and hip OA at, or nearest to, 8 weeks.

Methods

We searched nine electronic databases up until December 2017 for randomised controlled trials that compared exercise with usual care or with another exercise type. Bayesian network meta-analysis was used to estimate the relative effect size (ES) and corresponding 95% credibility interval (CrI) (PROSPERO registration: CRD42016033865).

Findings

We identified and analysed 103 trials (9134 participants). Aerobic exercise was most beneficial for pain (ES 1.11; 95% CrI 0.69, 1.54) and performance (1.05; 0.63, 1.48). Mind–body exercise, which had pain benefit equivalent to that of aerobic exercise (1.11; 0.63, 1.59), was the best for function (0.81; 0.27, 1.36). Strengthening and flexibility/skill exercises improved multiple outcomes at a moderate level. Mixed exercise was the least effective for all outcomes and had significantly less pain relief than aerobic and mind–body exercises. The trend was significant for pain (p = 0.01), but not for function (p = 0.07), performance (p = 0.06) or QoL (p = 0.65).

Conclusion

The effect of exercise varies according to the type of exercise and target outcome. Aerobic or mind–body exercise may be the best for pain and function improvements. Strengthening and flexibility/skill exercises may be used for multiple outcomes. Mixed exercise is the least effective and the reason for this merits further investigation.

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (10.1007/s40279-019-01082-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Background

Guidelines recommend exercise as a core treatment for osteoarthritis (OA). However, it is unclear which type of exercise is most effective, leading to inconsistency between different recommendations.

Objectives

The aim of this systematic review and network meta-analysis was to investigate the relative efficacy of different exercises (aerobic, mind–body, strengthening, flexibility/skill, or mixed) for improving pain, function, performance and quality of life (QoL) for knee and hip OA at, or nearest to, 8 weeks.

Methods

We searched nine electronic databases up until December 2017 for randomised controlled trials that compared exercise with usual care or with another exercise type. Bayesian network meta-analysis was used to estimate the relative effect size (ES) and corresponding 95% credibility interval (CrI) (PROSPERO registration: CRD42016033865).

Findings

We identified and analysed 103 trials (9134 participants). Aerobic exercise was most beneficial for pain (ES 1.11; 95% CrI 0.69, 1.54) and performance (1.05; 0.63, 1.48). Mind–body exercise, which had pain benefit equivalent to that of aerobic exercise (1.11; 0.63, 1.59), was the best for function (0.81; 0.27, 1.36). Strengthening and flexibility/skill exercises improved multiple outcomes at a moderate level. Mixed exercise was the least effective for all outcomes and had significantly less pain relief than aerobic and mind–body exercises. The trend was significant for pain (p = 0.01), but not for function (p = 0.07), performance (p = 0.06) or QoL (p = 0.65).

Conclusion

The effect of exercise varies according to the type of exercise and target outcome. Aerobic or mind–body exercise may be the best for pain and function improvements. Strengthening and flexibility/skill exercises may be used for multiple outcomes. Mixed exercise is the least effective and the reason for this merits further investigation.

Key Points

The effect of exercise in knee and hip osteoarthritis depends on type of exercise and outcome of interest.
Aerobic and mind–body exercises appear to be the two most effective exercise therapies for pain and function, whereas strengthening and flexibility exercises appear to be good for moderate improvement of multiple outcomes.
Mixed exercise is the least effective exercise. However, it may be used for patients who do not respond to other types of exercise therapy because it is still better than no exercise control for all four patient-centred outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6459784/

 

Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment can learn to practice mindfulness meditation, and by doing so may boost their cognitive reserve.” – Rebecca Erwin Wells

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our cognitive (mental) abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem-solving ability. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Research has found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners. Tai Chi and Qigong have also been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging.

 

The research findings are accumulating suggesting that a summarization of what has been learned is called for. In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Mind-Body Exercise on Cognitive Performance in Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313783/), Zhang and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled studies (RCTs) of the effectiveness of the mind-body practices of yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong, and Pilates to improve cognitive performance in the elderly (aged 60 and over).

 

They identified 19 published RCTs that included a total of 2539 participants. They report that the published studies reveal a significant, albeit small, improvement in global cognitive function after mind-body practices. This included significant improvements in executive function, language ability, memory, and visuospatial ability. They also report that the amount of improvement was significantly related to the amount of mind-body exercise training. Interestingly, the effects appear to be better in elderly without any signs of dementia than in those with mild dementia symptoms.

 

The findings based upon a fair number of well-controlled studies are relatively consistent revealing that mind-body practices are safe and effective in improving cognitive function in individuals over 60 years of age. This suggests that engaging in these practices can reduce the decline in mental abilities occurring with aging. This suggests that engaging in yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong, or Pilates practices should be recommended for people over 60 years of age.

 

So, improve cognitive function in the elderly with mind-body practices.

 

engagement in mindfulness meditation may enhance cognitive performance in older adults, and that with persistent practice, these benefits may be sustained.” – Grace Bullock

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhang, Y., Li, C., Zou, L., Liu, X., & Song, W. (2018). The Effects of Mind-Body Exercise on Cognitive Performance in Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(12), 2791. doi:10.3390/ijerph15122791

 

Abstract

Background: As the situation of cognitive aging is getting worse, preventing or treating cognitive decline through effective strategies is highly important. This systematic review aims to investigate whether mind-body exercise is an effective approach for treating cognition decline. Methods: Searches for the potential studies were performed on the eight electronic databases (MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, PsycArtilces, CNKI, and Wanfang). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effect of mind-body exercise on cognitive performance in older adults were included. Data were extracted and effect sizes were pooled with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) using random-effects models. The Physiotherapy Evidence Database Scale was employed to examine the study quality. Results: Nineteen RCTs including 2539 elders (67.3% female) with fair to good study quality were identified. Mind-body exercise, relative to control intervention, showed significant benefits on cognitive performance, global cognition (Hedges’g = 0.23), executive functions (Hedges’g = 0.25 to 0.65), learning and memory (Hedges’g = 0.37 to 0.49), and language (Hedges’g = 0.35). In addition, no significant adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Mind-body exercise may be a safe and effective intervention for enhancing cognitive function among people aged 60 years or older. Further research evidence is still needed to make a more conclusive statement.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313783/

 

Improve Cardiopulmonary Health Over the Long Haul in Obese Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiopulmonary Health Over the Long Haul in Obese Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Research has found that seniors who regularly practice tai chi are steadier on their feet, less likely to suffer high blood pressure, and physically stronger.  Tai chi has been known to improve hand/eye coordination, increase circulation, and can even promote a better night’s sleep.” – Chris Corregall

 

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and diabetes. Overweight and abdominal obesity are associated with high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is highly associated with pulmonary problems and type-2 diabetes. Obesity incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects over a third of U.S. adults. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat the health consequences of obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Tai Chi practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular function. Tai Chi training has also been shown to improve lung function. These findings are encouraging. But little is known about the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve cardiopulmonary function over the long-term.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiopulmonary function of adults with obesity aged 50 years and older: A long-term follow-up study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824704/), Sun and colleagues recruited healthy obese adults over 50 years of age (average 66 years) and provided them with a health education training. In addition, half the participants received training in Tai Chi 3 times per week for 30-40 minutes. They were measured before and after training and then every 3 to 6 months over 6 years for blood pressure, body size, cardiac function, and lung function.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the health education only group, the Tai Chi group had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, waist and hip circumference, weight, and body mass index, and significant improvements in cardiac and lung function that were maintained for 6 years. In addition, the Tai Chi  group had lower incidences of health complications, lower mortality, and lower rates of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

 

These results are exciting and remarkable. It is exceedingly rare to have such long-term follow-up of the effectiveness of an intervention. The results demonstrate that Tai Chi practice can be safely maintained over very long periods of time and produce sustained benefits for the health of the elderly. It’s important to note that Tai Chi is gentle and safe, appropriate for all ages, and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, improve cardiopulmonary health over the long haul in obese elderly with Tai Chi.

 

Practising the ancient martial art of Tai Chi is so beneficial to elderly people’s health that it should be “the preferred mode of training”” – The Telegraph

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sun, L., Zhuang, L. P., Li, X. Z., Zheng, J., & Wu, W. F. (2019). Tai Chi can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiopulmonary function of adults with obesity aged 50 years and older: A long-term follow-up study. Medicine, 98(42), e17509. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017509

 

Abstract

To research the possible role of Tai Chi in preventing cardiovascular disease and improving cardiopulmonary function in adults with obesity aged 50 years and older.

Between 2007 and 2012, 120 adults with obesity, aged 50 years and older, were divided into a Tai Chi group and a control group, with 60 participants in each group. The 2 groups were evaluated for weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, blood pressure (BP), body mass index, and incidence of chronic disease during follow-up monitoring.

Two- and 6-year follow-up showed that the average BP in the Tai Chi group along with either the systolic or diastolic pressure decreased significantly compared to those in the control group (P < .001). Waist and hip circumference, weight, and body mass index in the Tai Chi group were significantly reduced compared to those in the control group (P < .001). The cardiopulmonary function of the control group and the Tai Chi group changed, with the cardiac index significantly higher in the Tai Chi group than in the control group (P < .05). The Tai Chi group had significantly higher levels of lung function, including vital capacity, maximal oxygen uptake, and total expiratory time, than the control group. The total incidence of complications and mortality in the Tai Chi group were much lower than those in the control group (P < .001). The incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in the Tai Chi group (16.67%) was lower than that in the control group (38.33%).

Tai Chi is not only a suitable exercise for elderly people with obesity, but it can also help to regulate BP, improve heart and lung function in these individuals, as well as reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases, helping to improve their quality of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824704/

 

Meditation Comes in Seven Different Varieties

Meditation Comes in Seven Different Varieties

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Experienced meditators agree: a daily meditation practice can have significant benefits for mental and physical health. But one thing they probably won’t agree on? The most effective types of meditation. That’s simply because it’s different for everyone. After all, there are literally hundreds of meditation techniques encompassing practices from different traditions, cultures, spiritual disciplines, and religions.” Headspace

 

Meditation training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, meditation training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding meditation effects is that there are, a wide variety of meditation techniques and it is not known which work best for improving different conditions.

 

There are a number of different types of meditation. Classically they’ve been characterized on a continuum with the degree and type of attentional focus. In focused attention meditation, the individual practices paying attention to a single meditation object. Transcendental meditation is a silent mantra-based focused meditation in which a word or phrase is repeated over and over again. In open monitoring meditation, the individual opens up awareness to everything that’s being experienced regardless of its origin. In Loving Kindness Meditation the individual systematically pictures different individuals from self, to close friends, to enemies and wishes them happiness, well-being, safety, peace, and ease of well-being.

 

But there are a number of techniques that do not fall into these categories and even within these categories there are a number of large variations. In today’s Research News article “What Is Meditation? Proposing an Empirically Derived Classification System.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6803504/), Matko and colleagues attempt to develop a more comprehensive system of classification. They found 309 different techniques but reduced them down to the 20 most popular ones. They recruited 100 meditators with at least 2 years of experience and asked them to rate how similar each technique was to every other technique.

 

They applied multidimensional scaling to the data which uncovered two dimensions that adequately described all of the 20 techniques. The analysis revealed a dimension of the amount of activation involved and a dimension of the amount of body orientation involved. All 20 techniques were classified within these two dimensions. Visual inspection of where the various techniques fell on the two dimensions produces 7 different clusters labelled as “(1) Body-centered meditation, (2) mindful observation, (3) contemplation, (4) mantra meditation, (5) visual concentration, (6) affect-centered meditation, and (7) meditation with movement.”

 

Within the high activation and low body orientation quadrant there was one cluster identified, labelled “Mantra Meditation” including singing sutras/mantras/invocations, repeating syllables and meditation with sounds. Within the low activation and low body orientation quadrant there were three clusters identified, labelled “affect-centered meditation” including cultivating compassion and opening up to blessings; “visual orientations” including visualizations and concentrating on an object; and “contemplation” including contemplating on a question and contradictions or paradoxes.

 

Within the high activation and high body orientation quadrant there was one cluster identified, labelled “meditation with movement” including “meditation with movement, manipulating the breath, and walking and observing senses. Within the low activation and high body orientation quadrant there was one cluster identified, labelled “mindful observation” including observing thoughts, lying meditation, and sitting in silence. Finally, they identified a cluster with high body but straddling the activation dimension, labelled “body centered meditation” including concentrating on a energy centers or channeling, body scan, abdominal breath, nostril breath, and observing the body.

 

This 7-category classification system is interesting and based upon the ratings of experienced meditators. So, there is reason to believe that there is a degree of validity. In addition, the system is able to encompass 20 different popular meditation techniques. It remains for future research to investigate whether this classification system is useful in better understanding the effects of meditation or the underlying brain systems.

 

Not all meditation styles are right for everyone. These practices require different skills and mindsets. How do you know which practice is right for you? “It’s what feels comfortable and what you feel encouraged to practice,” – Mira Dessy

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Matko, K., & Sedlmeier, P. (2019). What Is Meditation? Proposing an Empirically Derived Classification System. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 2276. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02276

 

Abstract

Meditation is an umbrella term, which subsumes a huge number of diverse practices. It is still unclear how these practices can be classified in a reasonable way. Earlier proposals have struggled to do justice to the diversity of meditation techniques. To help in solving this issue, we used a novel bottom-up procedure to develop a comprehensive classification system for meditation techniques. In previous studies, we reduced 309 initially identified techniques to the 20 most popular ones. In the present study, 100 experienced meditators were asked to rate the similarity of the selected 20 techniques. Using multidimensional scaling, we found two orthogonal dimensions along which meditation techniques could be classified: activation and amount of body orientation. These dimensions emphasize the role of embodied cognition in meditation. Within these two dimensions, seven main clusters emerged: mindful observation, body-centered meditation, visual concentration, contemplation, affect-centered meditation, mantra meditation, and meditation with movement. We conclude there is no “meditation” as such, but there are rather different groups of techniques that might exert diverse effects. These groups call into question the common division into “focused attention” and “open-monitoring” practices. We propose a new embodied classification system and encourage researchers to evaluate this classification system through comparative studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6803504/

 

Improve Quality of Life and Reduce Falls in Dementia Patients with Tai Chi

Improve Quality of Life and Reduce Falls in Dementia Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions is exploding in the United States. But while scientists struggle to find a new medical treatment, tai chi, the ancient Chinese martial art, has emerged as a potentially potent way to help stem the tide.” – David-Dorian Ross

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. These are progressive disorders with no cures. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is estimated that 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. It involves an irreversible progressive loss of mental function associated with brain degeneration. The early stages are typified by memory loss but as the disease progresses patients can lose the ability to carry on a conversation or carry on normal life functions, and eventually leads to death.

 

Mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines. Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to investigate the effects of Tai Chi practice in patients with dementia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Randomised Controlled Trial Of The Effect Of Tai Chi On Postural Balance Of People With Dementia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6875562/),Nyman and colleagues recruited community dwelling elderly (aged 78 to 97 years) adults with dementia and randomly assigned them to either usual care or usual care plus 20 weeks of once a week for 90 minutes Tai Chi practice and home practice. They were measured before and after training for dynamic balance, functional balance, falls, fall efficacy, fear of falls, quality of life, and cognitive function.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group, the Tai Chi group had a significantly greater quality of life and significantly fewer falls (44% fewer) during the 6-month follow-up period. There were no serious adverse events due to Tai Chi practice recorded.

 

Since Tai Chi is practiced in groups, the fact that it produced an increase in quality of life may have been due to the enhanced social contacts occurring in the course of practice. This can have quite an impact as community dwelling elderly, and particularly those with dementia, are often isolated from social contacts. The reduced falls has been previous documented in the elderly. The present study, though, documents this in dementia patients. This is very important as falls in the elderly are particularly dangerous and can be major contributors to mortality.

 

Tai Chi is not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent means to improve the quality of life and prevent falls in elderly dementia patients.

 

So, improve quality of life and reduce falls in dementia patients with Tai Chi.

 

Researchers have shown that regular practice of Tai Chi increases brain volume, augments memory and thinking skills, and may combat dementia.” – Explore

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Samuel R Nyman, Wendy Ingram, Jeanette Sanders, Peter W Thomas, Sarah Thomas, Michael Vassallo, James Raftery, Iram Bibi, Yolanda Barrado-Martín. Randomised Controlled Trial Of The Effect Of Tai Chi On Postural Balance Of People With Dementia. Clin Interv Aging. 2019; 14: 2017–2029. Published online 2019 Nov 19. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S228931

 

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the effect of Tai Chi exercise on postural balance among people with dementia (PWD) and the feasibility of a definitive trial on falls prevention.

Patients and methods

Dyads, comprising community-dwelling PWD and their informal carer (N=85), were randomised to usual care (n=43) or usual care plus weekly Tai Chi classes and home practice for 20 weeks (n=42). The primary outcome was the timed up and go test. All outcomes for PWD and their carers were assessed six months post-baseline, except for falls, which were collected prospectively over the six-month follow-up period.

Results

For PWD, there was no significant difference at follow-up on the timed up and go test (mean difference [MD] = 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] = −2.17, 3.81). At follow-up, PWD in the Tai Chi group had significantly higher quality of life (MD = 0.051, 95% CI = 0.002, 0.100, standardised effect size [ES] = 0.51) and a significantly lower rate of falls (rate ratio = 0.35, 95% CI =0.15, 0.81), which was no longer significant when an outlier was removed. Carers in the Tai Chi group at follow-up were significantly worse on the timed up and go test (MD = 1.83, 95% CI = 0.12, 3.53, ES = 0.61). The remaining secondary outcomes were not significant. No serious adverse events were related to participation in Tai Chi.

Conclusion

With refinement, this Tai Chi intervention has potential to reduce the incidence of falls and improve quality of life among community-dwelling PWD

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6875562/