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Objective:

It was hypothesized that a combined Taoist Tai Chi (TTC) and a memory intervention program (MIP) would be superior to a MIP alone in improving everyday memory behaviors in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). A secondary hypothesis was that TTC would improve cognition, self-reported health status, gait, and balance.

Method:

A total of 48 individuals were randomly assigned to take part in MIP + TTC or MIP alone. The TTC intervention consisted of twenty 90 min sessions. Outcome measures were given at baseline, and after 10 and 22 weeks.

Results:

Both groups significantly increased their memory strategy knowledge and use, ratings of physical health, processing speed, everyday memory, and visual attention. No preferential benefit was found for individuals in the MIP + TTC group on cognition, gait, or balance measures.

Conclusions:

Contrary to expectations, TTC exercise did not specifically improve cognition or physical mobility. Explanations for null findings are explored.

Fogarty is with Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario; Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, London, Ontario; and Division of Geriatric Medicine and Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario. Murphy and Troyer are with the Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health Program, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto, Ontario; and Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. McFarlane is with the International Taoist Tai Chi Society, Orangeville, Ontario. Montero-Odasso is with Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario; Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, London, Ontario; Division of Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario; and the Gait and Brain Laboratory, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario. Wells is with Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario; Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, London, Ontario; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario. Trinh is with the Psychology Department, Western University, London, Ontario. Gutmanis is with Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario; Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, London, Ontario; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario. Hansen is with Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario; and Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, London, Ontario.

Address author correspondence to Jennifer N. Fogarty at jennifer.fogarty@sjhc.london.on.ca.