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J Yoga Phys Ther. 2013 Aug 20;3. doi: 10.4172/2157-7595.1000137.

Tai Chi Exercise to Improve Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

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VA Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence, Atlanta VAMC, Decatur, GA, USA ; Department of Neurology, Emory University, Decatur, GA, USA.



A substantial number of individuals with Parkinson's disease exhibit debilitating non-motor symptoms that decrease quality of life. To date, few treatment options exist for the non-motor symptomatology related to Parkinson's disease. The goal of this pilot investigation was to determine the effects of Tai Chi exercise on the non-motor symptomology in Parkinson's disease.


Twenty-one individuals with Parkinson's disease were enrolled in a Tai Chi intervention (n=15) or a noncontact control group (n=6). Participants assigned to Tai Chi participated in 60-minute Tai Chi sessions three times per week, for 16 weeks. Pre and post measures included indices of cognitive-executive function including visuomotor tracking and attention, selective attention, working memory, inhibition, processing speed and task switching. Additionally, all participants were evaluated on the Parkinson's disease Questionnaire-39 and Tinetti's Falls Efficacy Scale.


Results indicated that the Tai Chi training group had significantly better scores following the intervention than the control group on the Parkinson's disease Questionnaire-39 total score as well as the emotional well-being sub score. Trends for improvement were noted for the Tai Chi group on Digits Backwards, Tinetti's Falls Efficacy Scale, and the activities of daily living and communication sub scores of the Parkinson's disease Questionnaire-39.


This research provides initial data that supports future studies to definitively establish efficacy of Tai Chi to improve non-motor features of Parkinson's disease.


Cognition; Exercise; Neurodegenerative disease

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