Brain Functional Connectivity in Middle-Aged Hong Chuan Tai Chi Players in Resting State

Author: Weiqi Chen1, Xianliang Zhang1, Hui Xie2, Qiang He1, Zhenguo Shi1
1 School of Physical Education, Shandong University, Jinan 250062, China.
2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Rehabilitation Technical Aids for Old-Age Disability, National Research Center for Rehabilitation Technical Aids, Beijing 100176, China.
Conference/Journal: Int J Environ Res Public Health
Date published: 2022 Sep 27
Other: Volume ID: 19 , Issue ID: 19 , Pages: 12232 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/ijerph191912232. , Word Count: 230

Tai Chi is an effective strategy for slowing cognitive decline, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We designed a cross-sectional study to examine brain functional connectivity in middle-aged Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners. Eighteen middle-aged Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners and 22 age-matched Tai Chi-naïve controls completed functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) tests to evaluate oxyhemoglobin changes in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), motor cortex (MC), and occipital cortex (OC) in five frequency intervals (I, 0.6-2 Hz; II, 0.145-0.6 Hz; III, 0.052-0.145 Hz; IV, 0.021-0.052 Hz; V, 0.0095-0.021 Hz). Wavelet phase coherence was used to analyze the match between the instantaneous phases of the two signals to accurately measure brain functional connectivity. Global cognition was measured using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment scale. Compared with the control group, Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners had better global cognition (p < 0.01) and showed higher functional connectivity of the PFC, MC, and OC in intervals I, III, VI, and V in the resting state within the same brain hemispheres or between the left and right hemispheres. Our findings revealed that middle-aged Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners had higher functional connectivity of the PFC, MC, and OC across both brain hemispheres in cardiac activity, myogenic activity, sympathetic nervous system, and endothelial cell metabolic activities which may contribute to higher global cognition.

Keywords: Tai Chi; brain functional connectivity; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; wavelet phase coherence.

PMID: 36231536 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph191912232