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Tai Chi as An Adjunct Treatment for Brain Connectivity in Geriatric Depression

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August 26, 2022 - As an adjunct to antidepressant treatment, Tai Chi Chih (TCC) is superior to health education and wellness (HEW) training in improving the general health of patients with geriatric depression. This study by University of California, Los Angeles investigated the brain connectivity changes associated with TCC and HEW in combination with antidepressant treatment in patients with geriatric depression.

Of the 40 patients with geriatric depression under stable antidepressant treatment in this study, 21 underwent TCC training and 19 took HEW training for 12 weeks. The patients completed baseline and 3-month follow-up resting state magnetic resonance imaging scans. Within-group and between-group differences in parcel-to-parcel connectivity changes with intervention were evaluated by general linear modeling. Relationships between significant connectivity changes and symptom/resilience improvement were evaluated by partial least squares correlation analysis.

Significantly greater increases in connectivity with TCC than with HEW were observed for 167 pairwise connections, most frequently involving the default mode network (DMN). In both groups, increased connectivity involving largely DMN regions was significantly and positively correlated with improvement in symptoms/resilience.

These results, published by Journal of affective disorders in July 2022, prove that non-pharmacological adjuncts, such as TCC, may enhance DMN connectivity changes associated with improved depressive symptoms and psychological resilience in the treatment of geriatric depression.




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