Effectiveness of Yijinjing on cognitive functions in post-stroke patients with mild cognitive impairment: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Xin Xue, Xue-Ming Jin, Kai-Liang Luo, Xin-Hao Liu, Li Zhang, Jun Hu
Trials 2021 April 9, 22 (1): 265

BACKGROUND: Statistics show that every year, 5.4 million people in the world suffer a stroke. Post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI) is one of the most common complications after stroke with a rate of 75%, which leads to decreased functions for independent living and reduced quality of life (QOL). Exercise training has been reported to be useful to improve the cognitive functions of post-stroke patients. Yijinjing, a traditional Chinese Qigong exercise characterized by an integration of mind and body in moderate exercise intensity, can improve cognitive functions of PSCI patients. This study aims to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of the Yijinjing exercise in this regard.

METHODS: A single-blind, superiority, randomized controlled trial will be employed with evaluations at 3 and 6 months. Seventy-two PSCI patients will be recruited and randomly assigned to the Yijinjing exercise intervention group or the control group (1:1). Participants in the control group will receive routine rehabilitation therapies, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture therapy, and health education 5 times a week for 3 months. The intervention group will receive a 12-week routine rehabilitation therapy combined with the Yijinjing exercise intervention for 40 min each session and 3 sessions a week. The primary outcome of cognition will be measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment scale (MoCA). Secondary outcomes include executive function, memory function, visuospatial function, sleep quality, gait and motor function, activity of daily living (ADL), and quality of life (QOL).

DISCUSSION: Current evidence has reported the effectiveness of traditional Chinese exercise in improving the post-stroke population's motor functions. This research is a randomized controlled trial that evaluates traditional Chinese exercise's effectiveness for PSCI patients. It is expected to expand the traditional Chinese exercise scope and provide a new treatment approach for stroke populations with cognitive impairments.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR1900026532 . Registered on 13 October 2019.

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