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Chinese Exercise Modalities in Parkinson's Disease

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Identifier:
First received: January 23, 2002
Last updated: August 17, 2006
Last verified: July 2006

This study will compare the effects of two Chinese and one Western exercise modalities on the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Condition Intervention Phase
Parkinson Disease
Behavioral: Chinese exercise modalities
Phase 1
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Chinese Exercise Modalities in Parkinson's Disease

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM):

Estimated Enrollment: 40
Detailed Description:

The long-term goal of this project is to study the effects of different exercise modalities on Parkinson's disease (PD). PD is a disorder whose primary disability stems from motor dysfunction including balance. Recent studies have shown that the risk of falling in the elderly can be reduced through the practice of the Chinese complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as T'ai Chi Chuan (TCC). This finding may be highly significant to PD. Although a recent report from Emory suggests PD patients can do well with aerobic (walk-run) exercise training (AET), it is still unclear whether the potential anti-Parkinsonian effect of such modalities is secondary to improved physical fitness (CRF), motor control or both. CAM interventions such as TCC may offer a unique opportunity to examine these fundamental questions.

In PD we hypothesize that exercise training will reduce primary and secondary disability and that some of these changes represent adaptive reprogramming of central motor pathways. We will conduct a controlled double-blind, 16-week dose-response study of exercise based on caloric expenditure and thus on the cardiorespiratory fitness effects of exercise (CRF). The treatments will be Qi Gong (minimal caloric expenditure), TCC (low expenditure), and walk-cycle AET (moderate expenditure).

We will examine exercise-induced change in motor control using quantitative measures of motor disability, including dynamic gait stability measures. We will also examine exercise effects on central and peripheral indices of Parkinsonian motor disability.

A caloric "dose-response" effect of exercise would suggest CRF is a major determinant of the anti-Parkinsonian effects of exercise. If the Chinese modalities are as effective or superior to AET however, this would suggest that other mechanisms such as change in central motor programming may be playing a role (e.g. relaxation effects, reinforcement of central motor programs?). A better understanding of exercise-induced neural plasticity and motor control would offer a significant, and heretofore unexploited rehabilitative potential in PD.


Ages Eligible for Study:   40 Years to 85 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Ambulatory patients with Parkinson's Disease, defined as a clinical state in which at least two of these four cardinal features are present- 1) slowness of movement, 2) tremor at rest, 3) muscular rigidity, 4) gait disturbance or posture imbalance.
  • Ambulatory patients with Parkinson's Disease not exercising regularly more than 2x per week. Willing to be randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 exercise modalities: Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Aerobic exercise.


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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00029809

United States, Georgia
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 30329
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Jorge L. Juncos, MD Emory University
  More Information

No publications provided Identifier: NCT00029809     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R01 AT000612-01
Study First Received: January 23, 2002
Last Updated: August 17, 2006
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM):
Parkinsons Disease
Chinese exercise

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Parkinson Disease
Basal Ganglia Diseases
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Movement Disorders
Nervous System Diseases
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Parkinsonian Disorders processed this record on November 27, 2014