Tai Chi benefits dynamic balance in people with cerebellar ataxia

Objective: To evaluate the immediate and long-term effects of 12 weeks of Tai Chi training on dynamic balance and disease severity among individuals with cerebellar ataxia. 

Design: An assessor-blinded, two-arm, parallel-group randomized-controlled trial was conducted among 24 participants with cerebellar ataxia. Participants were randomized to receive either Tai Chi intervention (n = 12) or usual care (n = 12). Dynamic balance was assessed using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) balance sub-component of the SARA (SARAbal), Sensory Organization Test, and Limits of Stability test.

Disease severity was assessed using the SARA and health-related quality of life using the EuroQol visual analog scale. Assessments were completed at baseline (week 0: T1), postintervention (week 12: T2), and at the end of the 24-week (week 36: T3) follow-up period. 

Interventions: The 8-form Tai Chi exercise was delivered in 60-min sessions, three times a week for 12 weeks. Participants were asked to complete an unsupervised home Tai Chi exercise program over the next 24 weeks. Participants in the usual care control group completed all study measures but did not receive any intervention. 

Results: Compared with the usual care control group, after 12 weeks of Tai Chi training, the experimental group demonstrated beneficial effects for dynamic balance assessed using the BBS (mean difference [MD]: 4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -1.06 to 8.71) and the SARAbal (MD: -1.33, 95% CI: -2.66 to 2.33). The effect size ranged from small to large. The benefits gained were not sustained after 24 weeks during the follow-up assessment. Tai Chi did not benefit disease severity and health-related quality of life in this population. 

Conclusion: Some evidence supports the immediate beneficial effects of 12 weeks of Tai Chi training on the dynamic balance among individuals with cerebellar ataxia.

Reference:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35167364/

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Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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