If you have knee osteoarthritis, management seems to come down to a couple of choices: live with it, try physical therapy or PT, or have a total knee replacement. Weight loss is also often helpful. Now, as Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week, and as published in Annals of Internal Medicine, another option is available: Tai Chi.
Tai Chi, of course, has appeared any number of times in the medical literature lately, and has proven helpful in reducing falls in the elderly. Now this study took just over 200 people with both symptomatic and radiographically confirmed knee osteoarthritis (OA) and randomized them to 12 weeks of Tai Chi twice per week or 6 weeks of PT twice per week followed by 6 weeks of home exercise. Follow-up continued at intervals to 52 weeks, at which time no significant difference was found between the PT and Tai Chi groups with regard to a composite score of knee function known as WOMAC. There were differences, however, in both depression and the physical quality of life component, both of which were better with Tai Chi. Rick and I agree that this ancient art seems well worth trying especially as it also appears to have multiple health benefits.
Other topics this week include a surprising rate of 'silent' heart attack or myocardial infarction in Circulation, a survey of what physicians can talk about with regard to guns in the home, also in Annals of Internal Medicine, and in JAMA a new model for targeted, personalized lung cancer screening. Until next week, y'all live well.