The effect of Tai Chi training on the dual-tasking performance of stroke survivors: a randomized controlled trial

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Objective:To compare the effect of Tai Chi training with conventional exercise on dual-tasking performance among stroke survivors.Design:An assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial.Subjects:Community-dwelling stroke survivors.Setting:Community centers and university.Interventions:Subjects in the Tai Chi group and the conventional exercise group were trained with the corresponding exercises for 12 weeks (1 hour/session, 2/week). No training was given to the controls.Main measures:An auditory Stroop test, a turning-while-walking test, and a dual-tasking condition that combined the two tests were conducted at baseline, after the intervention, and one month later.Results:Forty-seven subjects were randomized into Tai Chi group (n = 15), conventional exercise group (n = 17), or control group (n = 15). There was no significant difference in the outcome measures among the three groups after the intervention and at the one month follow-up assessment. Within-group comparisons showed improvements in dual-tasking performance after Tai Chi training and further improvement during the follow-up period (composite score on the auditory Stroop test: pre-assessment: 73.1 ± 27.6, post-assessment: 89.9 ± 23.4, follow-up assessment: 91.7 ± 26.9; completion time of the turning-while-walking test: pre-assessment: 17.7 ± 6.9 seconds, post-assessment: 15.6 ± 5.2 seconds, follow-up assessment: 14.9 ± 4.9 seconds).Conclusion:Tai Chi training does not have superior effect on dual-tasking performance compared with conventional exercise among stroke survivors. Further studies with larger sample size, longer training, and follow-up periods are needed.

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