Tai Ji Quan Reduces Injurious Falls in Elderly

Categories: Press Releases

Type: News

Date Published: 02/14/2019

Tai Ji Quan Significantly Reduces Injurious Falls among Elderly at High Risk for Falls

An Oregon Research Institute (ORI) research study showed that a six-month Tai Ji Quan program reduced the incidence of injurious falls among frail elderly by 53% compared to a regular exercise intervention. The effect of Tai Ji Quan was consistent and robust, and still evident at follow-up examinations six months after the program. These results will be published on February 15, 2019 in the JAMA Network Open | Geriatrics.

Funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), ORI senior scientist Fuzhong Li, Ph.D., and his team recruited 670 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 77.7) who had fallen within the past year and who had a doctor’s referral indicating the individual was at risk for falling.

Participants were randomized to receive either a therapeutically-based Tai Ji Quan program (Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance; TJQMBB), a multimodal exercise program, or a stretching program. Participants attended sessions twice a week in 60-minute sessions for 24 weeks. The research was conducted in 7 urban and suburban cities in Oregon from February 2015 to September 2018.

“These results are significant because injurious falls among community-dwelling older adults are a serious public health and cost-bearing problem. The problem makes the effort of developing and implementing cost-effective programs to prevent injurious falls among older people a high injury prevention priority. We believe these findings offer timely information that clinicians and policymakers can use to counsel patients and inform their resource allocation decisions to reduce the societal burden of injurious falls.”, noted Dr. Li.

Few fall prevention interventions are specifically tailored toward enhancing balance and reducing injurious falls. In another study, Li and his colleagues also showed that TJQMBB, when compared with two other exercise programs, was highly cost effective. The program is readily implementable and scalable and easily disseminated in community settings and clinical practice through patient referrals to community-based classes, features that facilitate program outreach and uptake among clinicians who provide primary care to populations who are at high risk of falling.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant AG045094.

Founded in 1960, Oregon Research Institute is a non-profit behavioral research center headquartered in Eugene, Oregon.