Novel Study of Tai Chi by VA and Harvard for Long-term Benefits for COPD Patients
September 20, 2015 -
Persons with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have reduced exercise capacity and levels
of physical activity. Supervised, facility-based pulmonary rehabilitation
programs improve exercise capacity and reduce dyspnea, but novel long-term
strategies are needed to maintain the benefits gained.
Mind-body modalities such as Tai Chi which combine
aerobic activity, coordination of breathing, and cognitive techniques that
alleviate the physical inactivity, dyspnea, and anxiety and depression that are
the hallmarks of COPD are promising strategies.
Dr. Marilyn Moy from the U.S. Veterans Administration
(VA), Dr. Peter Wayne from Harvard Medical School and several other researchers
from Harvard or Boston University School of Medicine designed a randomized
controlled study to examine whether Tai Chi will maintain exercise capacity in
persons with COPD who have recently completed a supervised pulmonary
rehabilitation program, compared to standard care.
The primary outcome is 6-min walk test distance at
6months. Secondary outcomes include health-related quality of life, dyspnea,
mood, occurrence of acute exacerbations, engagement in physical activity,
exercise self-efficacy, and exercise adherence. Simultaneously, they are
conducting a pilot study of group walking. They will enroll 90 persons who will
be randomized to one of 3 arms in a 2:2:1 ratio: Tai Chi, standard care, or
The Long-term Exercise After Pulmonary Rehabilitation
(LEAP) study is a novel and clinically relevant trial. The researchers will
enroll a well-characterized cohort of persons with COPD and will comprehensively
assess physiological and psychosocial outcomes. Results of this study will
provide the evidence base for persons with COPD to engage in Tai Chi as a
low-cost, long-term modality to sustain physical activity in persons who have
completed a standard short-term pulmonary rehabilitation program.