This provides a preliminary indication that this specialized prog

This provides a preliminary indication that this specialized program can effect change more quickly than demonstrated by Lam et al. (2012), thus providing the impetus for a larger-scale study to determine the trajectory of change in the longer term. Finally, unlike Lam et al. (2012), our study involved participants who did not have a cultural background related to Tai Chi (i.e., Americans rather than Chinese) and showed that the potential effects are not culture specific. The precise mechanism(s) underlying the improvement in the global cognitive measure in this study is unclear. Potentially, given the deliberate multi-tasking

nature of its movements, the Tai Ji Quan program is expected to engage significant spatial-temporal orientation, memory, and executive control resources as well as attention devoted to specific multi-segmental bodily movements and postural demands. The combined physical and mental challenges then tax the physiological and neurophysiological processes that drive positive adaptations in the brain. Future studies with neuroimaging may shed light on this explanation. Additionally, based on previous research (Curlik & Shors, 2013) that indicates that the combined effects of physical and mental training on cognition are greater than either independently because each affects PLX3397 different pathways,

the integrated motor-cognitive training characteristics of this program may have driven the changes in cognitive function in the study population. Other possibilities include gains in physical function as a result of training leading to enhanced cognitive functioning. Currently these explanations are speculative and selleck need further investigation. With improved design and methodologies for defining cognitive impairment and using multiple domains of cognitive outcome measures, future studies should continue to focus on examining the potential of the program by incorporating incremental attention-demanding Tai Ji Quan-based

motor tasks that tax the ability of older adults to perform exercises that involve quick recall of forms/movements, movement recognition, spatial orientation, movement switching/ordering, and movement retrieval. Implementation, however, should emphasize a slow progression and repetitive training approach in order to minimize negative learning and frustration that may arise among older adults due to the complex, multi-tasking training paradigm. These training features, when appropriately implemented, represent an improved approach that actively and concurrently engages cognitive and motor tasks that enhance cognitive functioning through dynamic Tai Ji Quan movements. Given the preliminary nature of this study, several limitations should be noted.

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