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Tai Chi and Baduanjin Qigong May Prevent Memory Deficits in Older Adults

September 22, 2017 - In a study published by the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in August, researchers from Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Harvard Medical School and University of Edinburgh collaboratively investigated how 12-weeks of Tai Chi and Baduanjin Qigong could modulate brain structure and memory function in older adults.

Magnetic resonance imaging and memory function measurements (Wechsler Memory Scale-Chinese revised, WMS-CR) were applied at both the beginning and end of the study. Results showed that both Tai Chi and Baduanjin could significantly increase grey matter volume (GMV) in the insula, medial temporal lobe, and putamen after 12-weeks of exercise. No significant differences were observed in GMV between the Tai Chi and Baduanjin groups. We also found that compared to healthy controls, Tai Chi and Baduanjin significantly improved visual reproduction sub-scores on the WMS-CR. Baduanjin also improved mental control, recognition, touch, and comprehension memory sub-scores of the WMS-CR compared to the control group. Memory quotient and visual reproduction sub-scores were both associated with GMV increases in the putamen and hippocampus.

The results demonstrate the potential of Tai Chi and Baduanjin exercise for the prevention of memory deficits in older adults.

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