Research news: June 2011
Arch Intern Med2011;171:750-7
Tai chi gently exercises both mind and body, and it is gaining ground as an option for older adults with heart failure who may struggle with more vigorous forms of exercise. In one trial, a 12 week programme of classes improved quality of life significantly for adults with mild to moderate symptoms and a mean left ventricular ejection fraction of 29%. The 50 controls attended education sessions over the same period. Tai chi also seemed to improve mood and confidence but had no effect on physical measures, including peak oxygen capacity or walking distance. Participants were US outpatients with a mean age of 67. More than half had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or a pacemaker.
Tai chi and other treatments aimed at both mind and body deserve more attention from researchers, says a linked comment (p 758). Tai chi has a good safety record and the potential