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Tai Chi Helpful to People with Multiple Chronic Conditions
October 19, 2015 -
Many middle-aged and older persons have more than one chronic condition. Thus, it is important to synthesize the effectiveness of interventions across several comorbidities. Two Canadian universities, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto, collaborated on a systematic review to summarize current evidence regarding the effectiveness of Tai Chi in individuals with four common chronic conditions: cancer, osteoarthritis (OA), heart failure (HF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In their study, 4 databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus) were searched for original articles. Two reviewers independently screened the titles and abstracts and then conducted full-text reviews, quality assessment and finally data abstraction. 33 studies met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses were performed on disease-specific symptoms, physiological outcomes and physical performance of each chronic condition. Subgroup analyses on disease-specific symptoms were conducted by categorizing studies into subsets based on the type of comparison groups.

Meta-analyses showed that Tai Chi improved or showed a tendency to improve physical performance outcomes, including 6-min walking distance and knee extensor strength, in most or all four chronic conditions. Tai Chi also improved disease-specific symptoms of pain and stiffness in OA.

The results demonstrated a favorable effect or tendency of Tai Chi to improve physical performance and showed that this type of exercise could be performed by individuals with different chronic conditions, including COPD, HF and OA.

Their results are reported by British journal of sports medicine in its September, 2015 issue.


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