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, 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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    Benefits of tai chi in patients with kidney disease

    Researchers at Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, in Hong Kong, China, studied patients with end-stage kidney disease — complete, or almost complete failure of the kidneys to function.

    The hardest part is maintaining commitment.

    First, the details.

    • 72 participants were advised to exercise following the 30-minute demonstration on a videotape of low-capacity aerobic exercise based on tai chi.
    • Encouragement was given over the telephone.
    • Self-reports on practice were recorded in a logbook.
    • The effect of the program was evaluated 3 months after the program.
    • Outcomes assessment included functional mobility (timed “Up & Go” test), muscle flexibility (“Sit & Reach” test), physical capacity (“Six-Minute Walk”), and quality of life [Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form (KDQOL-SF)].

    And, the results.

    • Over time, 39 participants (54%) dropped out.
    • Significant improvements were observed in the timed “Up & Go” and “Sit & Reach” tests.
    • There were also significant improvements in the “Six-Minute Walk” and in KDQOL-SF scores for emotional well-being.
    • Changes in the burden of kidney disease and general health were insignificant.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Physically, patients with end-stage renal disease benefit from home-based low-capacity aerobic exercise. A home-based program provides an alternative to outdoor and group exercise.”

    But the high rate of drop outs (more than half) suggests it’s a hard sell.

    3/5/11 19:30 JR

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