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The effect of Qigong on health of elderly

  1. Dec 27, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    The effect of Qigong on general and psychosocial health of elderly with chronic physical illnesses: a randomized clinical trial

    http://alternativehealing.org/qi gong study (Intl J Geriatr Psych).pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2005 #2
    I have a friend who worringly has just started teaching this. Cant be botherd to read it, but I bet they did not use a proper control.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2005 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    If you can't be bothered to read, then why do you bother to comment? :biggrin:
     
  5. Jan 3, 2005 #4

    Curious3141

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    I *was* bothered to read it and here are my comments :

    There was a control group and the study did this in the fairest way possible, because both groups received "remedial rehab" (whatever that is, exactly, is not defined), except the intervention group received extra Qigong. The control group got extra remedial rehab to compensate for the time the instructors paid attention to them.

    That's the good stuff. Now for the bad. I fail to see the logic of treating people with defined physical ailment and then using a wishy-washy subjective psychosocial index to assess improvement. Why not do :

    1) Neurological function assessment for the CVA (stroke) cases and the Parkinson's cases
    2) Spirometry and pulmonary function testing for the COPD cases
    3) Rheumatological assessments for the RA (rheum arthritis) cases
    4) Medication dosage reviews (that is, whether the treated could get by with lower dosages of medicines).
    5) Objective physical parameter reviews, e.g. blood pressure, since after all that is a risk factor in causing strokes.

    and so forth. Using subjective questionnaire based outcomes is a cop-out of sorts.

    Lastly, I hate comments like this in a (supposedly) scientific paper : "this particular outcome didn't attain statistical significance blah-blah, but this could be because of the small sample size and maybe if we'd used a bigger sample, we'd have gotten more convincing results", etc. Yeah right, maybe. Or maybe not. The point is you don't know how the results would've changed with a bigger sample, so it's grossly unscientific to state something like that. But it's an all too common trend in mediocre scientific papers nowadays, and a pet peeve of mine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2005
  6. Jan 3, 2005 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was most struck by the staggering scope of this study. Does this even qualify as a study - eight people?

     
  7. Jan 4, 2005 #6

    Curious3141

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    That was just the number of people in the intervention group who were randomly selected for "feedback". The full study used 50 people (26 intervion, 24 control).

    There are more glaring errors and idiocies : more than 20 % of both control and intervention groups were "illiterate". Exactly how are they supposed to answer complex questionnaires reliably when they can't read them ? :grumpy:

    The statistical test of significance used was the ANOVA. This is a parametric test, and is not appropriate for the analysis here. A non-parametric test like the Kruskal Wallis rank analysis is far more appropriate. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic. :yuck:
     
  8. Jan 4, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Whoops, I meant for the feedback, but doesn't this still limit the value of these results tremendously. A sample of six out of eight seems virtually meaningless to me.
     
  9. Jan 4, 2005 #8

    Curious3141

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    The whole study is crap. Ditto for all of the accupuncture/homeo-naturopathic studies I've had the regret of plowing through.

    Alternative medicine is crap. It doesn't work independent of the placebo effect. Period.
     
  10. Jan 4, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    However, even if this has no physical affect, isn't the placebo effect as good as the real thing when it comes to perceived wellness. How good one feels ultimately is subjective, after all, and it certainly is significant to the patient.

    I thought the author implied something similar. Perhaps the effectiveness of modern treatments can be enhanced by catering to the expectations of the patients?
     
  11. Jan 4, 2005 #10

    Curious3141

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    Sure. But why pay $500 for Qigong/acupuncture/reflexology crap when you can do just as well buying sugar pills for 5 cents and have the doctor tell the patient its potent medicine ?

    The placebo effect is well recognised, which is why proper drug trials must involve double-blinding. If we were going to be cavalier about it, a lot of inefficacious drugs would be entering the market. Would you want to be be paying hundreds for snake oil ?
     
  12. Jan 4, 2005 #11

    Chronos

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    Altenative medicine should be roundly criticized. But Q is not being criticized for the right reasons. Any form of exercise has positive effects on health. I prefer stretching, but that is subjective.
     
  13. Jan 4, 2005 #12

    Curious3141

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    But Qigong is not "just" exercise. It comes with all the dumb trappings of chi (or qi, that's where the name comes from) and "vital energy" flow and meridians. None of which stand up to scientific scrutiny. The practitioners of this quackery insist these claimed paranormal aspects of the discipline elevate its efficacy above that of "normal" exercise. I take exception to this sort of rubbish claim.
     
  14. Jan 11, 2005 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Because some elderly Chinese and other folks believe in Qigong. They believe it will work through a lifetime of conditioning. What I wonder about is the value of exploiting beliefs for perceived wellness. In this case, it seems that the ends justify the means...
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2005
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