A Combined Program with Tai Chi Help Maintain a Healthy Brain and Comprehensive Cognition during Old Age
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April 23, 2015 -
Mounting evidence suggests that enriched
mental, physical, and socially stimulating activities are beneficial for
counteracting age-related decreases in brain function and cognition in older
In this study by Chinese Academy of Sciences
in Beijing, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to
demonstrate the functional plasticity of brain activity in response to a
combined cognitive-psychological-physical intervention and investigated the
contribution of the intervention-related brain changes to individual performance
in healthy older adults.
The intervention was composed of a 6-week
program of combined activities including cognitive training, Tai Chi exercise, and group counseling. The
results showed improved cognitive performance and reorganized regional
homogeneity of spontaneous fluctuations in the blood oxygen level-dependent
(BOLD) signals in the superior and middle temporal gyri, and the posterior lobe
of the cerebellum, in the participants who attended the intervention.
Intriguingly, the intervention-induced
changes in the coherence of local spontaneous activity correlated with the
improvements in individual cognitive performance.
Taken together with our previous findings of
enhanced resting-state functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal
cortex and medial temporal lobe regions following a combined intervention
program in older adults, we conclude that the functional plasticity of the aging
brain is a rather complex process, and an effective
cognitive-psychological-physical intervention is helpful for maintaining a
healthy brain and comprehensive cognition during old age.
This study is
published by Journal of
neural transplantation & plasticity in February, 2015.