People with Parkinson disease (PD) have twice the risk of falls as their age-matched peers. Medication and surgery have not ameliorated Parkinson-related falls (PRFs), which are characteristic of disease progression, leading to considerable morbidity and mortality. Exercise can improve postural stability and decrease risk of falls. Chinese and allopathic interventions for decreasing falls have been investigated. This research evaluated the effect of Qi Gong on postural stability and falls for individuals with PD. A pretest/posttest, repeated-measures design was used to demonstrate changes in balance scores and the number of falls after 3 months of therapeutic Qi Gong. Forty-one participants were recruited in New York City and surrounding counties. The sample included males and females with Hoehn and Yahr rating scale stage I-IV PD who were 55 years and older. Instruments included the Berg Balance Scale, the Parkinson Disease Fall Profile, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. The influence of Qi Gong on postural stability and PRFs was verified by statistically significant changes in improvement in balance scores and decreased number of falls. Qi Gong is mindful exercise, a healing component of Chinese medicine, which is congruent with neuroplasticity, brain reorganization, and repair. This original translational research implements enriched combined cognitive and physical exercise in a social environment that may contribute to the outcomes.
Neurology, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York; and Nurse Practitioner Program, Hunter-Bellevue Graduate School of Nursing, New York.
Correspondence: Sheree L. Loftus, PhD, MSN, GNP-BC, CRRN, Neurology, Beth Israel Medical Center, 10 Union Square E 5K, New York, NY 10003 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The National Parkinson Foundation provided grant funding for this research project. The author thanks Paul Zucker, MS, PT, LAc, Qi Gong instructor, Judy Parker, MS, GNP, research assistant, Richard Altschuler, PhD, statistics consultant, Dr Andrew Fader and Dr Elaine Whitlock for expert editing, and Dr Aihan Kuhn for Qi Gong form.
The author has disclosed that she has no financial interest in any commercial companies pertaining to this article.