The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Tai chi and the risk of cognitive decline

    Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have reported the interim findings of the effects of a mind body physical exercise (tai chi) on cognitive function in Chinese people at risk of cognitive decline.

    First, the details.

    • 389 older Chinese with either a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR 0.5; very mild dementia) or amnestic-MCI (memory loss as the predominant symptom of mild cognitive impairment) were assigned to an exercise program at least 3 times per week for 1?year.
      • Training in 24 forms simplified tai chi
      • Training in stretching and toning exercise

    And, the results.

    • At 5 months (2?months after training), both groups showed significant improvement in global cognitive function, delayed recall, and subjective cognitive complaints.
    • Significant improvements in visual spans and CDR scores were observed in the tai chi group.
    • 3 (2%) of those in the tai chi group and 21 (11%) in the stretching and toning group progressed to dementia.

    The bottom line?

    The study will continue. At this point, the authors concluded, “Chinese style mind body (tai chi) exercise may offer specific benefits to cognition…[and] should be further explored with [a] longer observation period.”

    A Cochrane Library review from 2008 on the effects of physical activity in people with dementia concluded there was insufficient evidence to be able to say whether or not physical activity programs are beneficial for people with dementia.

    This study is important because it may add to the evidence for tai chi in these patients.

    4/17/11 21:50 JR

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