Improve the Health of the Elderly with Depression with Tai Chi

Improve the Health of the Elderly with Depression with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“adding a mind-body exercise like tai chi that is widely available in the community can improve the outcomes of treating depression in older adults.” – UCLA Health

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the cardiovascular system and respiratory system included. The elderly frequently also have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive function, memory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The elderly are often depressed. So, it makes sense to study the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice on the health of  the elderly with depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of the effects of Tai Chi and general aerobic exercise on weight, blood pressure and glycemic control among older persons with depressive symptoms: a randomized trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9077840/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited older adults (> 60 years of age) who had depressive symptoms and randomly assigned the to receive 3 times per week for 60 minutes for 12 weeks of either Tai Chi practice or 20 movement low impact aerobic exercise. They were measured before and after training and 3 month later for body size, blood pressure and blood HbA1c levels.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the aerobic exercise group, the group that practiced Tai Chi lost a significantly greater amount of weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and had significantly lower HbA1c levels. Hence, in older adults with depressive symptoms Tai Chi practice is more effective than aerobic exercise in reducing body weight, blood pressure, and improving long-term glucose control.

 

So, Tai Chi improves the physical well-being of older adults.

 

tai chi is an exercise form you can practice all your life.  Good for the mind and the body, it’s a physical activity that will help keep you feeling healthy for years to come. “ – NHSNetworks

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, Y., Luo, B., Wu, X., Li, X., & Liao, S. (2022). Comparison of the effects of Tai Chi and general aerobic exercise on weight, blood pressure and glycemic control among older persons with depressive symptoms: a randomized trial. BMC geriatrics, 22(1), 401. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-022-03084-6

 

Abstract

Background

Blood pressure and glycemic control are associated with the management of depressive symptoms in patients with depression. Previous studies have demonstrated that both Tai Chi and aerobic exercise have positive effects on blood pressure and glycemic control. Few studies have compared the physiological effects of Tai Chi versus aerobic exercise in older adults with depressive symptoms. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of Tai Chi and aerobic exercise on weight, body mass index, blood pressure and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level in older persons with mild to moderate-severe depressive symptoms.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial was performed. The older persons (age ≥ 60 years old) with depressive symptoms were recruited. Then, participants were randomly allocated to the Tai Chi group and the aerobic exercise group received a 12-week 24-movement Yang’s Tai Chi intervention and aerobic exercise, respectively. Data collection occurred at baseline and after completion of the interventions (week 12).

Results

A total of 238 participants with mild to moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were included in the final analysis, including 120 in the Tai Chi group and 118 in the aerobic exercise group. The difference in weight and body mass index in the Tai Chi group was 2.0 kg (Z = -4.930, P < 0.001) and 0.77 kg/m2 (Z = -5.046, P < 0.001) higher than that in the aerobic exercise group, respectively. After the 12-week intervention, the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure in the Tai Chi group were 5.50 mmHg (Z = -2.282, P = 0.022) and 8.0 mmHg (Z = -3.360, P = 0.001) lower than that in the aerobic exercise group, respectively. The difference in HbA1c level in the Tai Chi group was 0.50% higher than that in the aerobic exercise group (Z = -4.446, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

This study showed that Tai Chi exercise was more effective in improving blood pressure and HbA1c level than general aerobic exercise. It suggested that Tai Chi might be an effective approach for the management of blood pressure and long-term glucose control in older persons with depressive symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9077840/

Improve Cardiorespiratory Function in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiorespiratory Function in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Long term regular [Tai Chi] exercise has favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in older adults.” – Youlian Hong

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the cardiovascular system and respiratory system included. The elderly frequently also have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The research on the effects of Tai Chi training on the cardiorespiratory system of older adults has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Tai Chi Training in Cardiorespiratory Fitness of Elderly People.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8942636/ ) Tan and colleagues review and summarize the published research randomized controlled trials on the effects of Tai Chi training on the cardiorespiratory system of older adults (> 50 years of age). They identified 24 published research studies.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that Tai Chi training produced significant increases in heart rate, VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise) and O2 pulse (oxygen consumed per heart beat, a measure of stroke volume), and vital capacity (the greatest volume of air that can be expelled from the lungs after taking the deepest possible breath). The increase in vital capacity was significantly larger in participants who practiced for 48 weeks and over.

 

The results are clear. Tai Chi training produces improves cardiorespiratory function in older adults. Thus suggests that Tai Chi training can help overcome or delay age-related physical decline.

 

tai chi is an effective way in improving cardiovascular responses and stress in prehypertensive individuals.” – Touraj Hashemi Nosrat-abad

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tan, T., Meng, Y., Lyu, J. L., Zhang, C., Wang, C., Liu, M., Zhao, X., Lyu, T., & Wei, Y. (2022). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Tai Chi Training in Cardiorespiratory Fitness of Elderly People. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2022, 4041612. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/4041612

 

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in elderly people using meta-analysis.

Methods

This study used seven electronic databases and data retrieved from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the role of Tai Chi on CRF in the elderly. All these 24 RCTs were screened and selected from 7 literature databases. The Stata 11.2 software (StataCorp, USA) was used for the meta-analysis, subgroup analysis, and bias test, while the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool was used for the assessment of the risk of bias (RoB). 4 researchers independently participated in sample selection, data extraction, and RoB assessment.

Results

Following the inclusion criteria, 24 eligible studies were included in our analysis. The meta-analysis indicated that Tai Chi practice significantly increased the maximum rate of oxygen consumption (VO2 max) (weighted mean difference (WMD)  = 3.76, 95% CI: 1.25 to 6.26, P < 0.1), leading to an overall reduction in the heart rate (HR) (WMD  = −1.84, 95% CI: −2.04 to −1.63, P  ≤ 0.001) and an increase in the O2 pulse (WMD = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.60 to 1.28, P ≤ 0.001) in individuals who practiced Tai Chi regularly compared with those who did not. The subgroup analysis suggested that overall in those who practiced Tai Chi, males (WMD = 1.48, 95% CI: 0.85 to 2.12, P ≤ 0.001) had higher O2 pulse than females (WMD = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.33 to 1.12, P ≤ 0.001). The subgroup analysis also showed an increase in the vital capacity (VC) (WMD = 316.05, 95% CI: 239.74 to 392.35, P ≤ 0.001) in individuals practicing Tai Chi. When the samples were further stratified by Tai Chi practicing time, the subgroup analysis suggested that individuals practicing Tai Chi over a period of 24 weeks showed no significant difference in VC (WMD = 82.95, 95% CI: -98.34 to 264.23, P=0.370), while those practicing Tai Chi over a period of 48 weeks showed a significant increase (WMD = 416.62, 95% CI: 280.68 to 552.56, P ≤ 0.001). Furthermore, the subgroup analysis demonstrated that the increase in VC is significantly correlated with the Tai Chi practicing time (WMD = 344.97, 95% CI: 227.88 to 442.06, P ≤ 0.001).

Conclusion

Regular Tai Chi practice could improve the CRF in the elderly, as indicated by significant improvement in indicators including VO2max, O2pulse, VC, and HR. However, gender and practice time might influence the overall beneficial outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8942636/

 

Improve Physical and Mental Health during Aging with Mindfulness

 

Improve Physical and Mental Health during Aging with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The healthier and more active one’s lifestyle, the more likely he or she will maintain cognitive performance over time. And meditation may be a key ingredient for ensuring brain health and maintaining good mental performance.“ – Grace Bullock

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that

mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-Term Physical Exercise and Mindfulness Practice in an Aging Population.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00358/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1832518_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220317_arts_A&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c+%27%27)%2c+0%2c+6))% ) Tang and colleagues compared older adults (average age of 64 years) who were either experienced (> 10 years) meditators or exercisers on physical, mental, immune, stress, and brain plasticity measures.

 

They report that the older adults who exercised had superior cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. But the older adults who meditated had superior physiological relaxation, quality of life, immune response, stress response, and brain plasticity. They conclude that the optimum results for older adults would be produced by combining meditation and exercise. Regardless, it is clear that meditation restrains the physical and mental deterioration with aging.

 

it’s heartening to know that age may not only bring wisdom or sore knees, but also more mindfulness.” – Jenn Director Knudsen 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tang Y-Y, Fan Y, Lu Q, Tan L-H, Tang R, Kaplan RM, Pinho MC, Thomas BP, Chen K, Friston KJ and Reiman EM (2020) Long-Term Physical Exercise and Mindfulness Practice in an Aging Population. Front. Psychol. 11:358. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00358

 

Previous studies have shown that physical exercise and mindfulness meditation can both lead to improvement in physical and mental health. However, it is unclear whether these two forms of training share the same underlying mechanisms. We compared two groups of older adults with 10 years of mindfulness meditation (integrative body-mind training, IBMT) or physical exercise (PE) experience to demonstrate their effects on brain, physiology and behavior. Healthy older adults were randomly selected from a large community health project and the groups were compared on measures of quality of life, autonomic activity (heart rate, heart rate variability, skin conductance response, respiratory amplitude/rate), immune function (secretory Immunoglobulin A, sIgA), stress hormone (cortisol) and brain imaging (resting state functional connectivity, structural differences). In comparison with PE, we found significantly higher ratings for the IBMT group on dimensions of life quality. Parasympathetic activity indexed by skin conductance response and high-frequency heart rate variability also showed more favorable outcomes in the IBMT group. However, the PE group showed lower basal heart rate and greater chest respiratory amplitude. Basal sIgA level was significantly higher and cortisol concentration was lower in the IBMT group. Lastly, the IBMT group had stronger brain connectivity between the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the striatum at resting state, as well as greater volume of gray matter in the striatum. Our results indicate that mindfulness meditation and physical exercise function in part by different mechanisms, with PE increasing physical fitness and IBMT inducing plasticity in the central nervous systems. These findings suggest combining physical and mental training may achieve better health and quality of life results for an aging population.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00358/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1832518_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220317_arts_A&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c+%27%27)%2c+0%2c+6))%

 

Improve Functional Fitness in the Elderly with Knee Osteoarthritis with Tai Chi

Improve Functional Fitness in the Elderly with Knee Osteoarthritis with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who engage in regular Tai Chi exercise improve physical function and experience less pain.” – Science Daily

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful for treatment.

 

Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong and yoga have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritisTai Chi practice, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. Much of the research involves controlled laboratory studies. It needs to be demonstrated that Tai Chi practice is an effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis of the community-dwelling elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impacts of tai chi exercise on functional fitness in community-dwelling older adults with mild degenerative knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8325845/ ) Chen and colleagues recruited a sample of community-dwelling otherwise healthy elderly (age >65 years) individuals diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. They were randomly assigned them to a 60 minutes twice a week for 12 week program of either health education or Sun style Tai Chi practice. They were measured before and after the 12-week practice period for functional fitness including the 30-s chair stand, 30-s arm curl, 2-min step, chair sit-and-reach, back-scratch flexibility, single-leg stand, functional reach, 8-foot up-and-go, and 10-m walk tests.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the health education group, the group that practiced Tai Chi  had significant improvements in the 30-s chair stand, 30-s arm curl, 2-min step, chair sit-and-reach, single-leg stand, functional reach, and 8-foot up-and-go. Hence, Tai Chi practice increases functional fitness in the community-dwelling elderly with knee osteoarthritis. This should translate in improved movement with less pain and increased quality of life in these community-dwelling elderly individuals.

 

So, improve functional fitness in the elderly with knee osteoarthritis with Tai Chi.

 

research shows an ancient form of exercise called Tai Chi might offer hope to combat arthritis pain in seniors.” – Julie Podewitz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chen, P. Y., Song, C. Y., Yen, H. Y., Lin, P. C., Chen, S. R., Lu, L. H., Tien, C. L., Wang, X. M., & Lin, C. H. (2021). Impacts of tai chi exercise on functional fitness in community-dwelling older adults with mild degenerative knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 449. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02390-9

 

Abstract

Background

Degenerative osteoarthritis (OA) often leads to pain and stiffness of the affected joints, which may affect the physical performance and decrease the quality of life of people with degenerative knee OA. Compared to traditional exercise, tai chi is a safe exercise with slow movements which can facilitate physical functioning and psychological well being, and might be suitable for improving the physical activities of older adults with knee OA. Therefore, this study investigated the impacts of tai chi exercise on the functional fitness of community-dwelling older adults with degenerative knee OA.

Methods

Sixty-eight community-dwelling older adults with knee OA were recruited from the local community to participate in this randomized controlled clinical trial. All subjects were randomly assigned to either an TCE group that practiced tai chi exercise (TCE) (n = 36) or a control group (CON) (n = 32) that received regular health education programs twice per week for 12 weeks. Outcome measurements were determined using functional fitness tests before and after the intervention, including a 30-s chair stand (number of repeats), 30-s arm-curl (number of repeats), 2-min step (number of steps), chair sit-and-reach (reaching distance, cm), back-scratch flexibility (distance between hands, cm), single-leg stand (time, s), functional reach (reaching distance, cm), 8-foot up-and-go (time, s), and 10-m walk tests (time, s). Pre-post comparisons of functional fitness were analyzed using the ANCOVA test with SPSS software version 18.0.

Results

Results revealed that participants’ functional fitness in the TCE group had significantly higher adjusted mean post-tests scores than that in the CON group after the intervention, including the 8-foot up-and-go (s) (mean difference [MD]=-2.92 [-3.93, -1.91], p = 2.39*10− 7), 30-s arm curl (MD = 4.75 (2.76, 6.73), p = 1.11*10− 5), 2-min step (MD = 36.94 [23.53, 50.36], p = 7.08*10− 7), 30-s chair stand (MD = 4.66 [2.97, 6.36], p = 6.96*10− 7), functional-reach (MD = 5.86 [3.52, 8.20], p = 4.72*10− 6), single-leg stand with eyes closed (MD = 3.44 [1.92, 4.97], p = 2.74*10− 5), chair sit-and-reach (MD = 3.93 [1.72, 6.15], p = 0.001), and single-leg stand with eyes opened (MD = 17.07 [6.29, 27.85], p = 0.002), with large effect sizes (η²=0.14 ~ 0.34).

Conclusions

Community-dwelling older adults with knee OA in the TCE group had better functional fitness performances after the 12-week tai chi intervention than those receiving only health education.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8325845/

 

Improve Physical Ability, Balance, and Flexibility with Tai Chi

Improve Physical Ability, Balance, and Flexibility with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi is a relatively safe activity that can result in gains in general motor function and improve bradykinesia and balance. “ – Xiny Yu

 

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice involving mindfulness and gentle movements. It is easy to learn, safe, and gentle. Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through controlled breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the physical and motor effects of this practice been scrutinized with empirical research. The findings have been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871341/ ) Wehner and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the effects of Tai Chi training on physical ability, strength, balance, and flexibility. They identified 31 published randomized controlled trials that included mostly participants over 60 years of age.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice produce a significant increase in hand grip strength, timed walking distance, postural balance, and spine flexibility. These findings suggest that engaging in Tai Chi practice results in improved health-related fitness. This is particularly important for aging individuals where physical decline is inevitable and suggests an increased health-related quality of life. The improvements in balance are important as they signal a decreased likelihood of falls which are very dangerous for the elderly.

 

So, improve physical ability, balance, and flexibility with Tai Chi.

 

our main finding suggests a statistically significant general improvement in motor efficiency for the TC group.” – Luisa Sartori

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wehner, C., Blank, C., Arvandi, M., Wehner, C., & Schobersberger, W. (2021). Effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 7(1), e000817. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2020-000817

 

What is already known?

  • Tai Chi training has positive effects on a variety of chronic diseases (eg, osteoarthritis) and health-related issues (eg, reduced risk of falling).
  • Tai Chi training exerts a positive impact not only on physical parameters, but also on mental health.
  • There is good evidence for positive effects of Tai Chi training for older people and patient populations, as most previous studies concentrated on these populations.

What are the new findings?

  • There is evidence that Tai Chi training can also moderately improve physical fitness as measured by tests commonly applied in health-related fitness or competitive sports contexts; for healthy people such tests are more relevant compared with the clinical assessment tools used for unfit and patient populations. Improvements were observed in handgrip strength, functional capacity, postural balance and thoracolumbar flexibility.
  • We hypothesise that not only slow motions of the legs and kicking movements while standing on one leg, which are characteristic in Tai Chi but also the improvement of thoracolumbar flexibility enhance postural balance.

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the impact of Tai Chi training on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility, as measured by tests commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports contexts.

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources

The following databases were searched up to 31 July 2020: CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE via PubMed and SPORTDiscus.

Eligibility criteria for studies

Inclusion: (1) Randomised controlled trials published in German or English; (2) Tai Chi used as an intervention to improve physical performance; (3) Test methods commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports and (4) Participants aged ≥16 years (irrespective of health status). Exclusion: (1) Studies not focusing on Tai Chi or including Tai Chi mixed with other interventions and (2) Modified or less than eight Tai Chi movements.

Results

Out of 3817 records, 31 studies were included in the review, 21 of them in the meta-analysis. Significant improvements in handgrip strength (2.34 kg, 95% CI 1.53 to 3.14), walking distance during 6 min (43.37 m, 95% CI 29.12 to 57.63), standing time in single-leg-stance with open eyes (6.41 s, 95% CI 4.58 to 8.24) and thoracolumbar spine flexibility (2.33 cm, 95% CI 0.11 to 4.55) were observed.

Conclusion

Tai Chi training seems to moderately improve physical fitness when evaluated by tests used in health-related fitness or competitive sports. Moreover, thoracolumbar spine flexibility seems to be a factor in the improvement of postural balance. Further research is needed, including younger healthy participants performing a widely used, standardised form (eg, Peking-style routine) with high-intensity movements (eg, use of lower stances).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871341/

 

Protect the Brain from Dementia-Related Deterioration with Meditation

Protect the Brain from Dementia-Related Deterioration with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the group who performed meditation and yoga at least two hours per week had less atrophy in parts of the brain and better brain connectivity than the control group.

This finding gives them hope that the practice of meditation and yoga may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.” – Alissa Sauer

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Meditation on Structural Changes of the Brain in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8633496/ ) Dwivedi and colleagues recruited patients between the ages of 45 and 70 years of age who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer’s disease. They were assigned to usual care or to receive 6 months of daily 30-minutes sessions of either meditation practice or non-meditation focused task. Before and after the 6-month intervention they underwent detailed clinical and neuropsychological assessment and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control groups the meditation group had significantly higher cortical thickness and gray matter volume in the left caudal and rostral middle frontal areas and significantly higher gray matter volume in left lateral occipital, right inferior parietal, and right superior frontal cortices and significantly lower cortical thickness and gray matter volume in the entorhinal cortex and posterior parts of the brain. On the subcortical level they found increased volume in the right thalamus and the hippocampus. There were no significant differences between groups in clinical and neuropsychological measures.

 

The results suggest that 6-months of meditation practice protects the brain from deterioration in patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer’s disease. This suggests that meditation may help to prevent the cognitive decline that occurs with these diseases. It is unfortunate, though, that no significant differences were found in the clinical and neuropsychological measures. The scores, however, did not appear to change significantly between baseline and the follow up assessments. So, there simply may not have been enough time for cognitive decline to be detectable in the patients. Regardless, it is clear that meditation has neuroprotective effects in patients showing early signs of dementia.

 

So, protect the brain from dementia-related deterioration with meditation.

 

“ indicators of Alzheimer’s disease. Results showed that those who practiced meditation saw major changes in the biological markers that would put them at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease by the end of the study, with the same participants reporting improvements in cognitive function, sleep, mood, and quality of life.” – Kim Innes

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dwivedi, M., Dubey, N., Pansari, A. J., Bapi, R. S., Das, M., Guha, M., Banerjee, R., Pramanick, G., Basu, J., & Ghosh, A. (2021). Effects of Meditation on Structural Changes of the Brain in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 15, 728993. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.728993

 

Abstract

Previous cross-sectional studies reported positive effects of meditation on the brain areas related to attention and executive function in the healthy elderly population. Effects of long-term regular meditation in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease dementia (AD) have rarely been studied. In this study, we explored changes in cortical thickness and gray matter volume in meditation-naïve persons with MCI or mild AD after long-term meditation intervention. MCI or mild AD patients underwent detailed clinical and neuropsychological assessment and were assigned into meditation or non-meditation groups. High resolution T1-weighted magnetic resonance images (MRI) were acquired at baseline and after 6 months. Longitudinal symmetrized percentage changes (SPC) in cortical thickness and gray matter volume were estimated. Left caudal middle frontal, left rostral middle frontal, left superior parietal, right lateral orbitofrontal, and right superior frontal cortices showed changes in both cortical thickness and gray matter volume; the left paracentral cortex showed changes in cortical thickness; the left lateral occipital, left superior frontal, left banks of the superior temporal sulcus (bankssts), and left medial orbitofrontal cortices showed changes in gray matter volume. All these areas exhibited significantly higher SPC values in meditators as compared to non-meditators. Conversely, the left lateral occipital, and right posterior cingulate cortices showed significantly lower SPC values for cortical thickness in the meditators. In hippocampal subfields analysis, we observed significantly higher SPC in gray matter volume of the left CA1, molecular layer HP, and CA3 with a trend for increased gray matter volume in most other areas. No significant changes were found for the hippocampal subfields in the right hemisphere. Analysis of the subcortical structures revealed significantly increased volume in the right thalamus in the meditation group. The results of the study point out that long-term meditation practice in persons with MCI or mild AD leads to salutary changes in cortical thickness and gray matter volumes. Most of these changes were observed in the brain areas related to executive control and memory that are prominently at risk in neurodegenerative diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8633496/

 

Mindfulness Improves Cognitive Function in Older Adults by Altering Brain Gene Expression

Mindfulness Improves Cognitive Function in Older Adults by Altering Brain Gene Expression

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness may target inflammation, stress-related pathways, and neuroplasticity, thus reducing the risk of developing cerebrovascular disease and age-related neurodegeneration that could lead to the development of dementia.” – Ted Kheng Siang Ng

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that

mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners. The mechanisms by which mindfulness affects the brain and reduces cognitive decline need to be investigated.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness intervention improves cognitive function in older adults by enhancing the level of miRNA-29c in neuron-derived extracellular vesicles.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8575875/ ) Hashizume and colleagues recruited healthy elderly adults aged 65 and over and administered either 4 weeks , 3 times per week for 60 minutes of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or a no-treatment wait-list condition. They were measured before and after treatment for cognitive function including delayed recall, visuospatial/executive function, attention, abstraction, language, naming, and orientation tasks. They also had blood drawn and assayed for extracellular vesicles and mRNA in the vesicles.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait list control, after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) there were significant improvement in cognitive function including delayed recall, visuospatial/executive function, attention, naming, and orientation tasks. The blood assays revealed that in comparison to baseline and the wait list control, after MBSR there were significant reductions in miR-29c in the extracellular vesicles and decreased expression of the genes DNMT3A, DNMT3B, and BACE1 in in the extracellular vesicles. In another study with mice they found that injection into the brain ventricles of miR-29c prevented cognitive decline in the animals.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training improves cognitive function in the elderly. These improvements in cognition have been previously observed by other researchers. The new findings in the present research are the changes in the extracellular vesicles found in the plasma. The expression of the mRNA miR-29c controls the gene expressions of DNMT3A, DNMT3B, and BACE1. These genes are associated with the loss of neurons in the brain. With aging there is a degeneration of the brain including losses of neurons. Reductions in the expression of the genes that tend to produce neuronal loss after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) suggests that the training protects the brain from the loss of neurons. This may represent the mechanism by which mindfulness training protects the brain in aging individual which results in improved cognitive function. It may be how mindfulness training stops cognitive decline in the elderly.

 

So, mindfulness improves cognitive function in older adults by altering brain gene expression.

 

an 8-week mindfulness-based training program improved cognition . . . in cognitively normal older adults, and that these improvements were associated with increased intrinsic connectivity within the default mode network.” – Gunes Sevinc

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hashizume, S., Nakano, M., Kubota, K., Sato, S., Himuro, N., Kobayashi, E., Takaoka, A., & Fujimiya, M. (2021). Mindfulness intervention improves cognitive function in older adults by enhancing the level of miRNA-29c in neuron-derived extracellular vesicles. Scientific reports, 11(1), 21848. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01318-y

 

Abstract

Although mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) improves cognitive function, the mechanism is not clear. In this study, people aged 65 years and older were recruited from elderly communities in Chitose City, Japan, and assigned to a non-MBSR group or a MBSR group. Before and after the intervention, the Japanese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA-J) was administered, and blood samples were collected. Then, neuron-derived extracellular vesicles (NDEVs) were isolated from blood samples, and microRNAs, as well as the target mRNAs, were evaluated in NDEVs. A linear mixed model analysis showed significant effects of the MBSR x time interaction on the MoCA-J scores, the expression of miRNA(miR)-29c, DNA methyltransferase 3 alpha (DNMT3A), and DNMT3B in NDEVs. These results indicate that MBSR can improve cognitive function by increasing the expression of miR-29c and decreasing the expression of DNMT3A, as well as DNMT3B, in neurons. It was also found that intracerebroventricular injection of miR-29c mimic into 5xFAD mice prevented cognitive decline, as well as neuronal loss in the subiculum area, by down-regulating Dnmt3a  and Dnmt3b  in the hippocampus. The present study suggests that MBSR can prevent neuronal loss and cognitive impairment by increasing the neuronal expression of miR-29c.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8575875/

 

Reduce Depression in Older Adults with Mind-Body Practices and Exercise

Reduce Depression in Older Adults with Mind-Body Practices and Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Complementary use of mindful exercise, such as Tai Chi and yogic meditation, can improve clinical outcomes of mood disorders in older adults-as demonstrated in brain scans, biomarkers of cellular aging, and mental health rating scales.” – Arline Kaplan

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our cognitive (mental) abilities and mood. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. There is some hope for age related decline, however, as there is evidence that it can be slowed. There are some indications that physical and mental exercise can reduce the rate of decline. For example, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging and with improving depression. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise are equivalent to mitigate symptoms of depression in older adults: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191520/ ) Miller and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of mind-body practices, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise on depression in older adults (over 65 years of age). They identified 69 published research studies including a total of 5,379 elderly participants.

 

They report that the published research found that in comparison to usual care, wait-list controls, or attention controls that mind-body practices, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise all significantly reduced depression in the elderly participants. Although no significant differences were found between the practices, on average, the effectiveness of the practices were rank ordered mind-body practices followed by aerobic exercise followed by resistance exercise.

 

All three practices involve exercise. Mind-body practices include yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong all of which provide gentle mild exercise intensity. Aerobic exercise on the other hand provides moderate intensity exercise. This suggests that the intensity of exercise is not important for the relief of depression. What does appear to be important is that exercise be incorporated into the activities of the elderly to raise mood and reduce depression. Hence, the results suggest that the depression that is common in the elderly can be ameliorated with exercise.

 

So, reduce depression in older adults with mind-body practices and exercise.

 

Higher physical activity levels among older adults in particular may have a preventive effect on the development of depression.36 Recent findings point to the potential efficacy of exercise as a treatment of depression in older adults, in some cases with similar efficacy to antidepressants.” – Maren Nyer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Miller, K. J., Areerob, P., Hennessy, D., Gonçalves-Bradley, D. C., Mesagno, C., & Grace, F. (2020). Aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise are equivalent to mitigate symptoms of depression in older adults: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. F1000Research, 9, 1325. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.27123.2

 

Abstract

Background: Exercise has been identified as an allied health strategy that can support the management of depression in older adults, yet the relative effectiveness for different exercise modalities is unknown. To meet this gap in knowledge, we present a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to examine the head-to-head effectiveness of aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise to mitigate depressive symptoms in adults aged ≥ 65 years.

Methods: A PRISMA-NMA compliant review was undertaken on RCTs from inception to September 12 th, 2019. PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus were systematically searched for eligible RCTs enrolling adults with a mean age ≥ 65 years, comparing one or more exercise intervention arms, and which used valid measures of depressive symptomology. Comparative effectiveness was evaluated using network meta-analysis to combine direct and indirect evidence, controlling for inherent variation in trial control groups.

Results: The systematic review included 82 RCTs, with 69 meeting eligibility for the network meta-analysis ( n = 5,379 participants). Pooled analysis found each exercise type to be effective compared with controls (Hedges’ g = -0.27 to -0.51). Relative head-to-head comparisons were statistically comparable between exercise types: resistance versus aerobic (Hedges’ g = -0.06, PrI = -0.91, 0.79), mind-body versus aerobic (Hedges’ g = -0.12, PrI = -0.95, 0.72), mind-body versus resistance (Hedges’ g = -0.06, PrI = -0.90, 0.79). High levels of compliance were demonstrated for each exercise treatment.

Conclusions: Aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise demonstrate equivalence to mitigate symptoms of depression in older adults aged ≥ 65 years, with comparably encouraging levels of compliance to exercise treatment. These findings coalesce with previous findings in clinically depressed older adults to encourage personal preference when prescribing exercise for depressive symptoms in older adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191520/

 

Strengthen the Brain and Improve Cognition in Older Adults with Mindfulness

Strengthen the Brain and Improve Cognition in Older Adults with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness training, with its emphasis on present-focused attention and regulation of the habitual, reflexive tendencies of the mind, has the potential to enhance cognitive control operations in the elderly and the neural circuitry associated with it.” – Ruchika S Prakash

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline of the body and the brain. Every system in the body deteriorates including cognitive function (thinking ability) and motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. There is some hope as there is evidence that these declines can be slowed. For example, a healthy diet and a regular program of exercise can slow the physical and cognitive decline of the body with aging. Also, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline. Research has found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training Improves Cognition and Strengthens Intrinsic Connectivity Between the Hippocampus and Posteromedial Cortex in Healthy Older Adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8430251/ ) Sevinc and colleagues recruited healthy elderly participants (aged 65 to 80 years) who were evaluated as cognitively normal and randomly assigned them to receive either mindfulness training or cognitive fitness training. Mindfulness training was delivered in 8 weekly 105 minute sessions and was modelled after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program containing training in meditation, body scan, and yoga along with discussion and daily home practice. The cognitive fitness training consisted of 8 weekly 1-hour sessions of word finding and crossword puzzle solving along with home puzzle solving. They were measured before and after training for memory and cognitive performance. In addition, their brains were scanned before and after training with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the group that received mindfulness training had significant increases in cognitive performance, primarily due to episodic memory improvement, while the cognitive fitness training group did not. The brain scans revealed that the mindfulness group had increased functional connectivity between the hippocampus and the angular gyrus. Additionally, the improved cognitive performance after mindfulness training was associated with increased connectivity between the precuneus and the hippocampus.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness training improves cognition in cognitively intact elderly individuals. This may be why mindfulness training has been shown to reduce age related cognitive decline and dementia. The results also suggest that these improvements in cognition may be related to changes in the connectivity of the brain. The observed changes produced by mindfulness training were in the connectivity between the hippocampus and the precuneus and between the hippocampus and the angular gyrus. These are structures included in what is known as the brain’s default mode network, which is known to have decreased activity in association with age-related cognitive decline. So, the improved connectivity may indicate that mindfulness training protects the brain from deterioration associated with aging and this may be responsible for improved cognition in the elderly.

 

So, strengthen the brain and improve cognition in older adults with mindfulness.

 

recent research suggests about how mindfulness meditation practice may help keep aging brains fit and functional.” – Grace Bullock

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sevinc, G., Rusche, J., Wong, B., Datta, T., Kaufman, R., Gutz, S. E., Schneider, M., Todorova, N., Gaser, C., Thomalla, G., Rentz, D., Dickerson, B. D., & Lazar, S. W. (2021). Mindfulness Training Improves Cognition and Strengthens Intrinsic Connectivity Between the Hippocampus and Posteromedial Cortex in Healthy Older Adults. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 13, 702796. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2021.702796

 

Abstract

Maintaining optimal cognitive functioning throughout the lifespan is a public health priority. Evaluation of cognitive outcomes following interventions to promote and preserve brain structure and function in older adults, and associated neural mechanisms, are therefore of critical importance. In this randomized controlled trial, we examined the behavioral and neural outcomes following mindfulness training (n = 72), compared to a cognitive fitness program (n = 74) in healthy, cognitively normal, older adults (65–80 years old). To assess cognitive functioning, we used the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC), which combines measures of episodic memory, executive function, and global cognition. We hypothesized that mindfulness training would enhance cognition, increase intrinsic functional connectivity measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) between the hippocampus and posteromedial cortex, as well as promote increased gray matter volume within those regions. Following the 8-week intervention, the mindfulness training group showed improved performance on the PACC, while the control group did not. Furthermore, following mindfulness training, greater improvement on the PACC was associated with a larger increase in intrinsic connectivity within the default mode network, particularly between the right hippocampus and posteromedial cortex and between the left hippocampus and lateral parietal cortex. The cognitive fitness training group did not show such effects. These findings demonstrate that mindfulness training improves cognitive performance in cognitively intact older individuals and strengthens connectivity within the default mode network, which is particularly vulnerable to aging affects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8430251/

 

Reduce Age-Associated Decline in Cerebrovascular Function with Tai Chi

Reduce Age-Associated Decline in Cerebrovascular Function with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In addition to the physical components of tai chi, this form of exercise has mental and emotional advantages. Some studies have shown people who perform tai chi on a regular basis see improvements in cognitive function and memory.” – Phillips Lifeline

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly often have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation,  yoga, and Tai Chi have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive function, memory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the effects of Tai Chi training on the brains of older adults.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi exercise improves age-associated decline in cerebrovascular function: a cross-sectional study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101197/ ) Li and colleagues recruited healthy older adult (aged 60-69 years) Tai Chi practitioners, age matched older adult non-practitioners, and healthy young adults (aged 21-25 years). They were measured for heart rate, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). They also underwent measurement of cerebrovascular hemodynamics.

 

They found that the older the participants the higher the systolic blood pressure but the lower the cerebrovascular blood flow. Importantly, the cerebrovascular hemodynamics of the older Tai Chi practitioners were significantly higher than the age matched controls and the levels approached those of the young adults. Including carotid blood flow velocity, overall elasticity of the arterial wall, and the degree of flow of small blood vessels and capillaries and reduced arterial resistance.

 

The present study was cross-sectional, comparing older adults who practiced Tai Chi to those who did not. This kind of design doesn’t allow for clear conclusions about causation. But previous research by others using training in Tai Chi demonstrated that it reduced age-related decline. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were also due to the practice of Tai Chi.

 

Age-related reductions in cerebrovascular hemodynamics are associated with cognitive decline and dementia but were not measured in the present study. But previous research has demonstrated that Tai Chi practice improves cognition and reduces dementia. So, it is likely that the observed better cerebrovascular hemodynamics in the older Tai Chi participants is a marker of improvements in cognition and reduced dementia. This suggests that age-related decline in cerebrovascular hemodynamics may be a major cause of cognitive decline and dementia with aging and that Tai Chi practice can reduce these declines by improving cerebrovascular hemodynamics.

 

So, reduce age-associated decline in cerebrovascular function with Tai Chi.

 

Tai Chi exercise had potential beneficial effects on cerebral hemodynamics, plasma risk factors, and balance ability in older community adults” – Guohua Zheng

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li, L., Wang, J., Guo, S., Xing, Y., Ke, X., Chen, Y., He, Y., Wang, S., Wang, J., Cui, X., Wang, Z., & Tang, L. (2021). Tai Chi exercise improves age-associated decline in cerebrovascular function: a cross-sectional study. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 293. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02196-9

 

Abstract

Background

Tai Chi exercise has been reported to enhance physical and mental health in the older adults; however, the mechanism remains elusive.

Trial design

We recruited 289 older adults practicing Tai Chi for over 3 years, together with 277 age-matched older and 102 young adults as controls. 168 Tai Chi practitioners were successfully matched to 168 older controls aged 60–69 based on a propensity score for statistics.

Methods

Cerebrovascular function was evaluated by measuring the hemodynamics of the carotid artery. Spearman correlation was performed to validate the age-associated physiological parameters.

Results

Cerebrovascular function in older adults significantly degenerated compared with the young, and was substantially correlated with age. Compared with the older control group, Tai Chi practitioners showed significant improvements in CVHI (cerebral vascular hemodynamics indices) Score (P = 0.002), mean blood flow velocity (P = 0.014), maximal blood flow velocity (P = 0.04) and minimum blood flow velocity (P < 0.001), whereas the age-related increases in pulse wave velocity (P = 0.022), characteristic impedance (P = 0.021) and peripheral resistance (P = 0.044) were lowered.

Conclusions

These data demonstrate a rejuvenation role of Tai Chi in improving the age-related decline of the cerebrovascular function.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101197/