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Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 13;9(1):13198. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49401-9.

Tai Chi Chuan exercise related change in brain function as assessed by functional near-infrared spectroscopy.

Xie H1,2,3, Zhang M4, Huo C3, Xu G1,2,3, Li Z5,6, Fan Y7,8,9.

Author information

1
School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China.
2
Beijing Advanced Innovation Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China.
3
Beijing Key Laboratory of Rehabilitation Technical Aids for Old-Age Disability, National Research Center for Rehabilitation Technical Aids Beijing, Beijing, 100176, China.
4
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, SAR, P.R. China.
5
Beijing Key Laboratory of Rehabilitation Technical Aids for Old-Age Disability, National Research Center for Rehabilitation Technical Aids Beijing, Beijing, 100176, China. lizengyong@nrcrta.cn.
6
Key Laboratory of Rehabilitation Aids Technology and System of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Beijing, 100176, China. lizengyong@nrcrta.cn.
7
School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China. fanyubo@nrcrta.cn.
8
Beijing Advanced Innovation Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China. fanyubo@nrcrta.cn.
9
Key Laboratory of Rehabilitation Aids Technology and System of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Beijing, 100176, China. fanyubo@nrcrta.cn.

Abstract

Early studies have shown that Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) contributes to the rehabilitation of cognitive disorders and increases blood oxygen concentration levels in the parietal and occipital brain areas; however, the mechanism of TCC training on brain function remains poorly understood. This study hypothesize that TCC has altered brain function and aims to explore the effects of TCC on functional connection and effective connection of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), motor cortex (MC), and occipital cortex (OC). The participants were 23 experienced Chen-style TCC practitioners (TCC group), and 32 demographically matched TCC-naive healthy controls (control group). Functional and effective connections were calculated using wavelet-based coherence analysis and dynamic Bayesian inference method, respectively. Results showed that beyond the intensity of activity in a particular cortical region induced by TCC, significant differences in brain activity and dynamic configuration of connectivity were observed between the TCC and control groups during resting and movement states. These findings suggested that TCC training improved the connection of PFC, MC and OC in myogenic activity, sympathetic nervous system, and endothelial cell metabolic activities; enhanced brain functional connections and relayed the ability of TCC to improve cognition and the anti-memory decline potential.

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