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Front Aging Neurosci. 2014 Apr 17;6:74. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00074. eCollection 2014.

Tai Chi Chuan optimizes the functional organization of the intrinsic human brain architecture in older adults.

Author information

  • 1Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Laboratory for Functional Connectome and Development, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China.
  • 2Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Laboratory for Functional Connectome and Development, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China.
  • 3Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Laboratory for Functional Connectome and Development, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China.
  • 4Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology - Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China ; Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University Beijing, China.

Abstract

Whether Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) can influence the intrinsic functional architecture of the human brain remains unclear. To examine TCC-associated changes in functional connectomes, resting-state functional magnetic resonance images were acquired from 40 older individuals including 22 experienced TCC practitioners (experts) and 18 demographically matched TCC-naïve healthy controls, and their local functional homogeneities across the cortical mantle were compared. Compared to the controls, the TCC experts had significantly greater and more experience-dependent functional homogeneity in the right post-central gyrus (PosCG) and less functional homogeneity in the left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the right dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex. Increased functional homogeneity in the PosCG was correlated with TCC experience. Intriguingly, decreases in functional homogeneity (improved functional specialization) in the left ACC and increases in functional homogeneity (improved functional integration) in the right PosCG both predicted performance gains on attention network behavior tests. These findings provide evidence for the functional plasticity of the brain's intrinsic architecture toward optimizing locally functional organization, with great implications for understanding the effects of TCC on cognition, behavior and health in aging population.

KEYWORDS:

Tai Chi Chuan; aerobic exercise; executive function; functional homogeneity; meditation

PMID:
24860494
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC4029006
Free PMC Article
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