The effect of Tai Chi practice on brain white matter structure: a diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging study.

Author: Yao J1, Song Q2, Zhang K1,3, Hong Y4, Li W2, Mao D5, Cong Y2, Li JX6
1a Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences , Shandong Province Medical Imaging Research Center , Jinan , China.
2b Sports Biomechanics Laboratory , Shandong Institute of Sport Science , Jinan , China.
3c Ultrasound Department , Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University , Jinan , China.
4d Department of Sports Medicine , Chengdu Sports University , Chengdu , China.
5e School of Sports and Health , Shandong Sport University , Jinan , China.
6f School of Human Kinetics , University of Ottawa , Ottawa , Canada.
Conference/Journal: Res Sports Med.
Date published: 2018 Jul 27
Other: Volume ID: 1-10 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1080/15438627.2018.1502184. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 162

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures the displacement of water molecules across tissue components and thus provides information on the microstructure of brain white matter. This study examined the effect of Tai Chi and the relation of Tai Chi experiences and skills with brain white matter. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was obtained from the DTI magnetic resonance images of two group participants, namely, the long-term Tai Chi practitioners and sedentary counterparts. Whole-brain voxel-based analysis showed that the Tai Chi group had higher FA in the splenium of corpus callosum (p = 0.015) than the control group. Rank correlation analysis revealed that in the Tai Chi group, the FA value of the splenium of corpus callosum was moderately related with exercise duration (r = 0.45, p = 0.045) but highly related with skill level (r = 0.699, p = 0.001). Long-term Tai Chi practice could benefit to the brain white matter, and these impacts were correlated with exercise duration and skill level.

KEYWORDS: Tai Chi; aging; brain white matter; diffusion tensor imaging; exercise

PMID: 30051735 DOI: 10.1080/15438627.2018.1502184