Different modulation effects of Tai Chi Chuan and Baduanjin on resting-state functional connectivity of the default mode network in older adults

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2019 Feb 13;14(2):217-224. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsz001.


The default mode network (DMN) plays an important role in age-related cognitive decline. This study aims to explore the modulation effect of two mind-body interventions (Tai Chi Chuan and Baduanjin) on DMN in elderly individuals. Participants between 50 and 70 years old were recruited and randomized into a Tai Chi Chuan, Baduanjin or control group. The Wechsler Memory Scale-Chinese Revision and resting-state fMRI scans were administered at baseline and following 12 weeks of exercise. Seed-based resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) was calculated. We found that (i) compared to the Baduanjin group, Tai Chi Chuan was significantly associated with increased rsFC between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and right putamen/caudate and (ii) compared to the control group, Tai Chi Chuan increased posterior cingulate cortex rsFC with the right putamen/caudate, while Baduanjin decreased rsFC between the mPFC and orbital prefrontal gyrus/putamen. Baseline mPFC rsFC with orbital prefrontal gyrus was negatively correlated with visual reproduction subscore. These results suggest that both Tai Chi Chuan and Baduanjin can modulate the DMN, but through different pathways. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying different mind-body interventions may shed light on the development of new methods to prevent age-related diseases as well as other disorders associated with disrupted DMN.

Keywords: Baduanjin; Tai Chi Chuan; aging; default mode network; memory; mind–body exercise; resting-state functional connectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Tai Ji / psychology*