Objective: The current study aimed at determining effects of Tai Chi as an example of a combined motor-cognitive exercise relative to regular walking as an example of an exercise without cognitive demands on cognitive functioning and the functional and structural integrity of the brain in the elderly. Methods: Healthy elderly women with at least 6 years of regular Tai Chi or brisk walking exercise were recruited and underwent cognitive assessment via the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and brain structural and resting state functional MRI assessments. Results: Episodic memory in Tai Chi group was superior to that of the walking group; (2) higher gray matter density in inferior and medial temporal regions, including the hippocampal formation; (3) higher ReHo in temporal regions, specifically the fusiform gyrus and hippocampal formation (4) significant partial correlations were found between the gray matter density of the left hippocampus and episodic memory in the whole sample (5) significant partial correlations were observed between the ReHo in left hippocampus, left parahippocampal, left fusiform and delayed memory task was observed among all subjects. Conclusion: The present study suggest that long-term Tai Chi practice may improve memory performance via remodeling structure and the function of the hippocampal formation.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience