Dr. Luo is a director of Respiratory Physiological Laboratory and Sleep Center of the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University. He has served as a member of the expert committee of National Natural Science foundation of China (NSFC). He graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor degree of Medicine from Guangdong Medical University and obtained a PhD degree from King’s College of London University in 2001. He joined State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease of China in 2004 and has been a Professor of Respiratory Medicine since then. His research interests focus on neural respiratory drive in patients with COPD, sleep disordered breathing and has published more than 100 peer review papers in the leading international journals. He owned more than ten patents and has developed a system for measurement of neural respiratory drive, which has been worldwide used
Background: In COPD, functional status is improved by pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), but requires specific facilities. Tai-Chi, which combines psychological treatment and physical exercise and requires no special equipment, is widely practised in China and is getting more and more popular in the rest of the world. We hypothesized that Tai-Chi is equivalent (i.e difference < ±4 SGRQ points) to PR. Methods: 120 patients (mean forced expiratory volume in one second, FEV1, 1.11±0.42 l, 43.6 % predicted) bronchodilator naïve patients were studied. Two weeks after starting indacaterol 150µg daily, they randomly received either standard PR thrice weekly or group Tai-Chi five times weekly, for 12 weeks. Primary endpoint was change in SGRQ before and after the exercise intervention; measurements were also made 12 weeks after the end of intervention. Results: The between group difference for SGRQ at the end of the exercise interventions was -0.48 (95% confidence interval (95%CI) PR vs Tai-Chi -3.6 to 2.6, p=0.76) excluding a difference exceeding the minimal clinically important difference. Twelve weeks later the between group difference for SGRQ was 4.5 (95%CI 1.9 to 7.0, p<0.001), favouring Tai Chi. Similar trends were observed for six minute walk distance; no change in FEV1 was observed. Conclusion: Tai-Chi is equivalent to PR for improving SGRQ in COPD. 12 weeks after exercise cessation, a clinically significant difference in SGRQ emerged favouring Tai-Chi. Tai-Chi is an appropriate substitute for PR.