Chinese exercise may help flu vaccine

Aug. 13, 2007 at 2:00 PM
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. study suggests traditional Chinese exercise might increase the efficacy of annual flu vaccines.

A team of University of Illinois researchers suggests older adults who adopt an exercise regimen combining Taiji and Qigong might receive an extra boost from their annual flu shot.

“We have found that 20 weeks of Taiji can increase the antibody response to influenza vaccine in older adults,” said the study’s lead author, Adjunct Professor Yang Yang, a Taiji master.

“In this study, we found that five months of an easily performed behavioral Taiji (or Tai Chi, pronounced tye-chee) and Qigong (pronounced chee-kung) intervention could improve the magnitude and duration of the HI anti-influenza antibody titer response in a small cohort of older adults,” write Yang and Professors Karl Rosengren and Jeffrey Woods. Rosengren and Woods helped design the study.

The research -- which also included former graduate students Rachel Mariani and Jay Verkuilen, as well as Scott Grubisich and Michael Reed of the Center for Taiji Studies -- appears in the August issue of the American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Yang will discuss the work Sept. 21 in Rochester, Minn., during a clinical conference hosted by the Mayo Clinic.

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