Exploring the Effect of Tai Chi Performance and Attendance on Health Outcomes in Elders with Cognitive Impairment and Osteoarthritic Knee

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 11:25 AM

Pao-Feng Tsai, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Jason Y. Chang, PhD
Department of Neurobiolgy and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Cornelia Beck, PhD, RN
Department of Geriatric, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Yong-Fang Kuo, PhD
Sealy Center on Aging, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know the methodology for coding accuracy of Tai Chi performance and attendance.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to know the potential benefits for examining accuracy of Tai Chi performance when conducting Tai Chi intervention.

Purpose: The purpose of this report was to describe potential confounding effect of Tai Chi (TC) performance and attendance on health outcomes in 28 community-dwelling elders with knee osteoarthritis (OA) and cognitive impairment who participated in a 20-week Sun-style TC program. 

Methods: The original study was a cluster-randomized clinical trial with 2 arms (TC and attention control arm). This report only analyzed data from 28 participants who were in the TC arm. Outcome measures included the Western Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) OA pain scale, physical function and stiffness subscales, the “Get up and Go” test, the “Sit and Stand” test and the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE). TC performance was coded using the Rosengren’s method. Attendance (sessions and actual practicing time of each individual) was recorded over the 20-week intervention period. Bivariate statistics (t tests, chi-square, and partial correlation) were used to analyze the data.

Results: Better TC performance was associated with less analgesic intake (r=-.42, p<.05), better WOMAC physical function score (r=-.49, p<.05), and faster “Sit and Stand” performance (r=-.41, p<.05) controlling for the baseline data. Better TC performance was also associated with better MMSE scores marginally controlling for the baseline data (r=.36, p=.077). On the other hand, attendance (in sessions or in total practicing time, minutes) was not associated with any health outcomes.  

Conclusion: These results showed that the accuracy of TC performance contributed to better health outcomes. Strategies to teach and to improve participants’ accuracy in TC performance should be incorporated into the TC intervention protocol.