Tai chi for reducing dual-task gait variability, a potential mediator of fall risk in parkinson’s disease: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Gloria Vergara-Diaz, Kamila Osypiuk, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Paolo Bonato, Brian J. Gow, Jose G.V. Miranda, Lewis R. Sudarsky, Daniel Tarsy, Michael D. Fox, Paula Gardiner, Cathi A. Thomas, Eric A. Macklin, Peter M. Wayne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To assess the feasibility and inform design features of a fully powered randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the effects of Tai Chi (TC) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and to select outcomes most responsive to TC assessed during off-medication states. Design: Two-arm, wait-list controlled RCT. Settings: Tertiary care hospital. Subjects: Thirty-two subjects aged 40–75 diagnosed with idiopathic PD within 10 years. Interventions: Six-month TC intervention added to usual care (UC) versus UC alone. Outcome Measures: Primary outcomes were feasibility-related (recruitment rate, adherence, and compliance). Change in dual-task (DT) gait stride-time variability (STV) from baseline to 6 months was defined, a priori, as the clinical outcome measure of primary interest. Other outcomes included: PD motor symptom progression (Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale [UPDRS]), PD-related quality of life (PDQ-39), executive function (Trail Making Test), balance confidence (Activity-Specific Balance Confidence Scale, ABC), and Timed Up and Go test (TUG). All clinical assessments were made in the off-state for PD medications. Results: Thirty-two subjects were enrolled into 3 sequential cohorts over 417 days at an average rate of 0.08 subjects per day. Seventy-five percent (12/16) in the TC group vs 94% (15/16) in the UC group completed the primary 6-month follow-up assessment. Mean TC exposure hours overall: 52. No AEs occurred during or as a direct result of TC exercise. Statistically nonsignificant improvements were observed in the TC group at 6 months in DT gait STV (TC [20.1%] vs UC [ 0.1%] group [effect size 0.49; P =.47]), ABC, TUG, and PDQ-39. UPDRS progression was modest and very similar in TC and UC groups. Conclusions: Conducting an RCT of TC for PD is feasible, though measures to improve recruitment and adherence rates are needed. DT gait STV is a sensitive and logical outcome for evaluating the combined cognitive-motor effects of TC in PD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Advances In Health and Medicine
StatePublished - 2018


  • Dual-task performance
  • Feasibility
  • Gait analysis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Randomized trial
  • Tai chi


Dive into the research topics of 'Tai chi for reducing dual-task gait variability, a potential mediator of fall risk in parkinson’s disease: A pilot randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this