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Tai Chi Improves Dual-Tasking Performance for Stroke Survivors When Stepping Down


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January 24, 2018 - Descending stairs demands attention and neuromuscular control, especially with dual-tasking. Studies have demonstrated that stroke often degrades a survivor's ability to descend stairs. Tai Chi has been shown to improve dual-tasking performance of healthy older adults, but no such study has been conducted in stroke survivors.

A new study published by Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine investigated the effect of Tai Chi training on dual-tasking performance that involved stepping down and compared it with that of conventional exercise among stroke survivors.

The participants were randomized into 3 groups: Tai Chi (9 people), conventional exercise (8 people), and control (9 people). Those in the former two groups received 12-week training. Assessments included auditory Stroop test, stepping down test, and dual-tasking test involving both simultaneously. They were evaluated before training (time-1), after training (time-2), and one month after training (time-3).

Tai Chi group showed significant improvement in the auditory Stroop test from time-1 to time-3 and the performance was significantly better than that of the conventional exercise group in time-3. No significant effect was found in the stepping down task or dual-tasking in the control group.

These results suggest a beneficial effect of Tai Chi training on cognition among stroke survivors without compromising physical task performance in dual-tasking. The effect was better than the conventional exercise group. Nevertheless, further research with a larger sample is warranted.

 

 


 
 

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