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Can Tai Chi Reshape the Brain?
 
April 27, 2013 - Although research has provided abundant evidence for Tai Chi-induced improvements in psychological and physiological well-being, little is known about possible links to brain structure of Tai Chi practice. A new study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences filled in the blank.

Using high-resolution MRI of 22 Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) practitioners and 18 controls matched for age, sex and education, the researchers set out to examine the underlying anatomical correlates of long-term Tai Chi practice at two different levels of regional specificity. For this purpose, parcel-wise and vertex-wise analyses were employed to quantify the difference between TCC practitioners and the controls based on cortical surface reconstruction. The study also adopted the Attention Network Test (ANT) to explore the effect of TCC on executive control.

TCC practitioners, compared with controls, showed significantly thicker cortex in multiple areas of the brain. Moreover, the study found that thicker cortex in left medial occipito-temporal sulcus and lingual sulcus was associated with greater intensity of TCC practice.

These findings indicate that long-term TCC practice could induce regional structural change and also suggest TCC might share similar patterns of neural correlates with meditation and aerobic exercise.

 

 


 
 

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