The transition phase preceding dementia is known as mild cognitive impairment, which is associated with Type 2 diabetes; approximately 45% of people with Type 2 diabetes also have mild cognitive impairment. Tai Chi Chuan is a mind-body exercise that consists of slow, purposeful physical movements accompanied by meditation.
A study has determined that using a simplified 24-form Tai Chi Chuan improves physical markers and cognitive function in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and mild cognitive impairment compared to a group participating in traditional fitness walking over 36 weeks, which potentially makes Tai Chi Chuan a viable exercise program for reducing the effects of Type 2 diabetes and subsequently, mild cognitive impairment resulting in dementia.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
It was observed that the group practicing Tai Chi exhibited more markers of improvement after 36 weeks compared to the control group and fitness walking group, although no significant differences between the groups were observed after 24 weeks, suggesting improvement in cognition and biomarkers couldn’t happen until after the 24 weeks.
This study has determined Tai Chi to be more effective compared to fitness walking for helping to improve cognition for older individuals with Type 2 diabetes and mild cognitive impairment.
All groups were educated on Type 2 diabetes management and the benefits of exercise and diet for helping to improve the disorder. Individuals in each group, besides the control group that had no lifestyle changes, participated in either fitness walking or Tai Chi for 60 minutes 3 times each week instructed and supervised by a health professional.
Initially, changes were measured to get a baseline, and again at 24 weeks and again at 36 weeks making use of fasting blood glucose levels as well as other metabolic markers together with MoCA scores to establish a global scale comparison for cognitive function. MoCA is scaled from 0 to 30, with higher cognitive function indicated by a higher score.
The Tai Chi group had a 3.29-point MoCA score improvement on average by the end of the 36 weeks in comparison to the start of the study.
The fitness walking group’s improvement was only 2.32 points, with a dramatic slowing in improvement between 24 and 36 weeks with an increase of 0.29 points in comparison to an increase of -0.68 points in the Tai Chi group.