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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Dec;51(12):1693-701.

Intense tai chi exercise training and fall occurrences in older, transitionally frail adults: a randomized, controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether an intense tai chi (TC) exercise program could reduce the risk of falls more than a wellness education (WE) program in older adults meeting criteria for transitioning to frailty.

DESIGN:

Randomized, controlled trial of 48 weeks duration.

SETTING:

Twenty congregate living facilities in the greater Atlanta area.

PARTICIPANTS:

Sample of 291 women and 20 men aged 70 to 97.

MEASUREMENTS:

Demographics, time to first fall and all subsequent falls, functional measures, Sickness Impact Profile, Centers for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, Falls Efficacy Scales, and adherence to interventions.

RESULTS:

The risk ratio (RR) of falling was not statistically different in the TC group and the WE group (RR=0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.52-1.08), P=.13). Over the 48 weeks of intervention, 46% (n=132) of the participants did not fall; the percentage of participants that fell at least once was 47.6% for the TC group and 60.3% for the WE group.

CONCLUSION:

TC did not reduce the RR of falling in transitionally frail, older adults, but the direction of effect observed in this study, together with positive findings seen previously in more-robust older adults, suggests that TC may be clinically important and should be evaluated further in this high-risk population.

PMID:
14687346
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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