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Medicines (Basel). 2017 Apr 23;4(2). pii: E23. doi: 10.3390/medicines4020023.

Qigong Exercise May Reduce Serum TNF-α Levels and Improve Sleep in People with Parkinson's Disease: A Pilot Study.

Author information

1
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Mailstop 2002, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. smoon@kumc.edu.
2
Bioengineering, University of Kansas, 1530 W 15th St., Lawrence, KS 66045, USA. m333s074@ku.edu.
3
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Mailstop 2002, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. ismirnova@kumc.edu.
4
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Mailstop 2002, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. ycolgrove@kumc.edu.
5
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Mailstop 2002, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. wliu@kumc.edu.

Abstract

Background: Inflammatory cytokine levels are often elevated in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). People with PD often experience sleep disturbances that significantly impact quality of life. Past studies suggest inflammatory cytokines may be associated with various symptoms of PD. Benefits of Qigong, a mind-body exercise, have been shown in different neurological conditions, but there is still a lack of clinical evidence in the PD population. Methods: Ten people with PD were recruited and randomly assigned into two groups receiving six weeks of Qigong (experimental group) or sham Qigong (control group) intervention. The levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in subjects' serum and sleep quality were measured before and after the intervention. Results: After the intervention, the serum level of TNF-α in the experimental group was significantly decreased in all subjects, while the level in the control group showed a trend to increase. Qigong exercise significantly improved sleep quality at night. There was a strong correlation between changes in the level of TNF-α and sleep quality. Conclusion: Qigong exercise decreased TNF-α level in people with PD and helped improve sleep quality. TNF-α may have a potential to influence the sleep quality in people with PD.

KEYWORDS:

Parkinson’s disease; Qigong; TNF-α; inflammatory cytokines; mind–body exercise; six-healing sounds; sleep

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