The Impact of Tai Chi on Motor Function, Balance, and Quality of Life in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Author: Xing Yu1,2, Xinze Wu3, Guozhen Hou3, Peipei Han1,2, Liying Jiang2, Qi Guo1,2
1 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences Affiliated Zhoupu Hospital, Shanghai, China.
2 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Shanghai, China.
3 College of Exercise and Health Science, Tianjin University of Sport, Tianjin, China.
Conference/Journal: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
Date published: 2021 Jan 11
Other: Volume ID: 2021 , Pages: 6637612 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1155/2021/6637612. , Word Count: 257

Parkinson's disease adversely affects function and quality of life, leading to increased mortality. The practice of Tai Chi has been associated with multifaceted improvements in health-related fitness. Considering the limited number of clinical studies included in previous reviews, inconsistent methodological quality, and inconclusive results, this meta-analysis aims to assess the effects of Tai Chi in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Four English language databases and four Chinese databases were systematically searched for existing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of Tai Chi in Parkinson's disease from database inception through August 1, 2020. Methodological quality was appraised with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. A meta-analysis of comparative effects was performed using the Review Manager v.5.3 software.

Seventeen published RCTs totaling 951 subjects were included. Results showed that Tai Chi has a statistically significant effect on the outcomes of gait velocity, unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS) motor score, activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) score, and Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The effects on the Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT) and Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) were not statistically significant.

This systematic review and meta-analysis of Parkinson's disease and Tai Chi suggests Tai Chi is a relatively safe activity that can result in gains in general motor function and improve bradykinesia and balance. It has no statistically significant advantage for quality of life and functional mobility. Further randomized trials with larger sample sizes and of higher methodological quality are needed to confirm these results and to assess the feasibility of Tai Chi intervention for potential different clinical applications.

PMID: 33505498 PMCID: PMC7814935 DOI: 10.1155/2021/6637612