Tai Chi is not just for increasing balance; it may also help improve cognitive performance. In a recent randomized controlled trial, study participants who practiced a form of Tai Chi twice a week for six months improved their scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) when compared to a control group (Fuzhong et al, 2023). Older adults (N=304) with self-reported mild cognitive issues were recruited and divided into one control and two treatment groups. Every participant completed a baseline MoCA with an average score of 25. The control group performed basic stretching exercises. The first treatment group performed Tai ji quan, a gentle form of Tai Chi, and the third group performed cognitively enhanced Tai ji quan.
The cognitively enhanced group performed the exercises while being asked to spell a word and the spell it backwards while moving. No change in MoCA scores were observed in the control group. The first treatment group’s scores increased an average of 1.5 points, and the scores of the second group (cognitively enhanced Tai ji quan) increased and average of 3 points. In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), one of the study’s authors equated a 1.5 increase in the MoCA to “three extra years of staving off decline.”
The authors believe that a possible explanation is that Tai Chi exercise, in particular, combines memorization of movements which combines muscle and mental activation.
Aubrey A. (2023) Tai chi helps boost memory, study finds. One type seems most beneficial. National Public Radio. (accessed November 7).
Li F, Harmer P, Eckstrom E, et al. (2023) Clinical effectiveness of cognitively enhanced Tai Ji Quan training on global cognition and dual-task performance during walking in older adults with mild cognitive impairment or self-reported memory concerns: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. [Epub 31 October]. doi:10.7326/M23-1603
If you have a dog or cat, you’ve probably seen their ears moving toward an interesting or startling sound. For professional equestrians, watching the ears of their horse allows them to gauge their shifting attention. Humans still have these same muscles, and even more interesting is their relationship to our brain and how we pay attention. …
The majority of people are familiar with earthquakes, but there is another phenomenon that is not nearly as predictable, and louder—skyquakes. Skyquakes are enigmatic sounds, typically described as a very loud boom or trumpet-sounding noise that has no apparent cause and seems to come from the sky. Their sound is like distant, but very loud, thunder with…
Have you ever listened to a song or video, and after it ended, you felt like you did not understand half of the lyrics? Well, there is a good reason for it, and it’s probably not entirely the fault of your hearing. According to a recent study, the lead vocal to accompaniment level ratios (LAR)…