Tai Chi May Boost Immunity After Vaccination
Older adults who take up the exercise have higher levels of cell-mediated immunity
TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who take up the ancient Chinese form of exercise, Tai Chi, have a higher level of cell-mediated immunity after varicella zoster vaccination than adults who do not, according to a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Michael R. Irwin, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a study of 112 adults aged 59 to 86 who were randomized to receive 25 weeks of Tai Chi classes or health education. At the 16-week mark, subjects were given a varicella vaccine.
By the end of the study period, those in the Tai Chi group had nearly twice the levels of cell-mediated immunity to the varicella zoster virus compared to those in the health education group. The impact of Tai Chi on immunity was of similar magnitude to that conferred by vaccination, and the combination of the two substantially increased cell-mediated immunity to the virus.
"The Tai Chi group also showed significant improvements in the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey scores for physical functioning, bodily pain, vitality and mental health," the authors wrote.