A wearable inertial system to evaluate Tai Chi training motor effects in patients with Parkinson's disease<sup/>

Author: Gianmaria Mancioppi, Filippo Cavallo, Pietro Benvenuti, Beatrice Francalanci, Laura Fiorini, Mario Alfieri, Claudio Curci, Roberto Benetti, Maribel Cagliari, Marina Cesene, Francesco Ferraro, Erika Rovini
Conference/Journal: Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc
Date published: 2023 Jul 1
Other: Volume ID: 2023 , Pages: 1-4 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1109/EMBC40787.2023.10340906. , Word Count: 283

Physical therapy is strongly recommended for patients with neurological disorders. Tai Chi-based treatments seem to improve physical functions like gait speed and balance. However, assessments after treatment rely on semi-quantitative clinical scales affected by subjectivity with controversial results. This study aims at investigating whether Tai Chi could be a valid alternative to traditional physiotherapy rehabilitation. We propose a wearable system composed of two inertial devices able to objectively measure the effect of the rehabilitation treatment on the range of movement of the trunk. Seventeen patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) were recruited and assessed. They have been randomly divided into two groups: group 1 followed a Tai Chi-based treatment, while group 2 underwent a traditional physiotherapy rehabilitation. The two groups have been assessed before (t0) and after the treatment (t1). No statistical differences have been found in the relative range of motion between the upper and lower sensors between the two groups at the baseline. Both treatments resulted in a significant improvement in the trunk range of movement (on the right side). Notably, the improvement in the effect size of the treatment was greater in group 1 than in group 2. In fact, even if both the groups benefited from their treatment group 1 gained larger mobility of the trunk if compared to group 2. Interestingly, no differences have been accounted adopting the traditional UPDRS III for motor symptoms of PD, strengthening the idea that objective measurement coming from wearable biomedical sensors could detect information otherwise neglected by traditional clinical tools.Clinical Relevance- This study preliminary confirms that beneficial motor effects after a Tai Chi rehabilitation program are comparable and quite better than after traditional physiotherapy, promoting Tai Chi as a valid alternative treatment for PD patients.

PMID: 38083600 DOI: 10.1109/EMBC40787.2023.10340906