A standard low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) technique was used to observe the effect of long-term Tai Chi Chuan practice on the resting state of the brains of elderly individuals. Eyes-closed resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) signals were collected from 14 long-term Tai Chi Chuan elderly practitioners, 14 demographically matched healthy controls (HCs) and 14 healthy young adults (HYs). The EEG rhythms of delta, theta, alpha 1, alpha 2, beta 1 and beta 2 were analyzed. The cortical sources of these EEG rhythms were estimated by sLORETA.
The data showed that the theta and alpha 1 brain sources in the central, parietal and occipital regions displayed the pattern HY > Tai Chi Chuan > HC (P < 0.01). However, the current density of the slow delta rhythm brain sources was significantly higher in HC than in Tai Chi Chuan and HY (P < 0.05).
The current density of the alpha 1 and alpha 2 rhythm cortical sources in the parietal and occipital cortices increased with an increase in Tai Chi Chuan training experience, whereas the current density of the slow rhythm delta increased with an increase in age.
Long-term Tai Chi Chuan practice is related to cortical neural synchronization of alpha oscillations and the desynchronization of slow delta oscillations in the elderly and might delay physiologic aging effects on brain cognitive function.