Harmer’s study, "Tai Chi and postural stability in patients with Parkinson's disease," was also recognized by the American Academy of Neurology as the most important advance in movement disorders research for 2012.
His accomplishment resulted from a 24-week study, which was published in the Feb. 9, 2012 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Harmer and his colleagues found that patients who participated in a tailored Tai Chi program experienced improved balance and functional capacity. The study compared the effects of Tai Chi, resistance training, and stretching on patients. The researchers discovered that the Tai Chi group performed consistently better than the other groups in maximum excursion and directional control.
They also found that Tai Chi lowered the frequency of falls among the patients more than stretching and was more effective at increasing stride length than resistance training.
The New England Journal of Medicine is the most widely read and cited general medical periodical in the world, with more than 600,000 readers in 177 countries each week and more citations in scientific literature than any other medical journal. As the oldest continuously published medical periodical, the journal provides physicians with peer-reviewed research at the intersection of biomedical science and clinical practice.