Review Article

Brain Structural Response and Neurobehavior Changes in the Elderly after Tai Chi Practice - A Literature Review


Tai Chi (TC) has been often provided to older adults by rehabilitation professionals for medical dysfunction and anti-aging healthcare. In last decade, there has been an increase in the number of studies examining the effects of TC on brain as assessed by neuroimaging including near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and structure and functional magnetic resonating imaging (sMRI & fMRI). Thus, the primary purpose of this literature review is to evaluate how TC practice may affect the brain in the elderly as assessed by neuroimaging techniques, and followed by corresponding neurobehavior changes as the secondary purpose. A comprehensive literature search was conducted using a variety of key words with different search engines to search from the last ten years until January 15, 2022. Studies were included if they investigated topographic brain responses after TC practice in the elderly population. A total of 12 original studies with 15 articles met the criteria and were included for the review process. The results showed increased volume of cortical grey matter, improved neural activity and homogeneity, and increased neural connectivity in different brain regions, including the frontal, temporal, and occipital lobes, cerebellum, and thalamus. Intriguingly, the longer one practices TC, the more his/her brain regions may be altered. Such neural findings after TC practice are often associated with neurobehavioral improvements in attention, cognitive execution, memory, emotion, and risk-taking behaviors. Tai Chi is a promising exercise that is able to improve structural capability and neurofunctional activity in the brain in the elderly. These improvements appear to be associated with the time-length of TC practice.

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IssueVol 8, No 1, 2023 QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Tai Ji Exercise Central nervous system Aged Neuroimaging

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How to Cite
Liu H, Salem Y, Arguello E, Liu H. Brain Structural Response and Neurobehavior Changes in the Elderly after Tai Chi Practice - A Literature Review. Trad Integr Med. 2023;8(1):86-96.