Correlation Between Cognition and Balance Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults Observed Through a Tai Chi Intervention Program.

Author: Xiao T1, Yang L2,3, Smith L4, Loprinzi PD5, Veronese N6, Yao J7, Zhang Z8, Yu JJ9
1College of Mathematics and Statistics, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China.
2Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada.
3Departments of Oncology and Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
4Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
5Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management School of Applied Sciences, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, United States.
6Geriatrics Division, Department of Medicine-DIMED, University of Padova, Padua, Italy.
7School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen), Shenzhen, China.
8College of Physical Education, Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
9Department of Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
Conference/Journal: Front Psychol.
Date published: 2020 Apr 6
Other: Volume ID: 11 , Pages: 668 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00668. eCollection 2020. , Word Count: 321

Background: Age-associated decline in cognition and balance may cause severe ability loss for daily living activities among middle-aged and older adults. The relationship between cognition and balance in this aging population remains to be explored.

Objective: The present study Is exploratory in nature and aimed to examine the relationship between balance (both static and dynamic components) and global cognitive function among middle-aged and older adults through Tai Chi (TC) practice as a research avenue.

Methods: A short-term (12 weeks) intervention of TC was conducted among middle-aged and older adults in the community setting. Global cognitive function (using the Chinese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment score (MoCA) and balance (i.e., one leg standing test score; Timed Up and Go Test score, TUGT) of all participants were assessed before and after the intervention. Age, body mass index (BMI), sex, and physical fitness variables (Chair Stand Test, CST; the 6-Meter Walk Test, 6MWT) were also collected as confounding factors.

Results: Significant moderator effects of baseline CST on the association between the dichotomized baseline MoCA score and the baseline left leg balance score (p = 0.0247), the baseline right leg balance score (p = 0.0140) and the baseline TUGT score (p = 0.0346) were found. Change score of left score balance (p = 0.0192) and change score of TUGT (p = 0.0162) were found to be significantly associated with change score of cognitive function.

Conclusion: Cognitive function and balance are interrelated in middle-aged and older adults. The association between global cognitive function and balance Is moderated by strength of lower limbs. The change scores of cognitive function and balance introduced by TC training were found to be positively correlated. Future research Is warranted to further confirm the cause-effect relationship of cognitive function and balance and its influencing factors among middle-aged and older adults utilizing intervention studies with larger sample sizes.

Copyright © 2020 Xiao, Yang, Smith, Loprinzi, Veronese, Yao, Zhang and Yu.

KEYWORDS: Tai Chi; alternative exercise; cognition; equilibrium; postural control

PMID: 32328017 PMCID: PMC7153433 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00668