Overlook Researchers To Study Tai Chi As A Way To Help Parkinson’s Patients

SUMMIT — Experts at the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute at Overlook Hospital plan to study the effects of Tai Chi on patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, in the hopes that the martial art can help them return to a better quality of life.

Starting in September, Roger Kurlan, MD, Medical Director of the Movement Disorders Program at Overlook, the principal investigator for the study, will examine whether practicing Tai Chi improves mobility, reduces falls, and lessens depression among Parkinson’s patients. The study is sponsored by the Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Fund of Metro West NJ.


Parkinson’s Disease, is a neurological disorder that occurs when nerve cells in the brain that create dopamine, which send signals that control movement, break down. Investigators for the study chose to use Tai Chi because the practice relies heavily on balance in movement, a common problem for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

The Tai Chi classes for the study will be offered at no charge once a week for 16 weeks at The Connection, a non-profit facility located in Summit that offers a wide range of adult fitness programs. Classes are available to adults 18 and older who have Parkinson’s disease and no previous experience with Tai Chi. Classes will consist of basic breathing techniques, warm-up and flexibility exercises and standing exercises for balance, range of motion, flexibility and joint position sense.

For more information or to participate in the study, call 1-908-522-6168 or 1-908-598-7991.

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