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Effects of a modified tai chi program on older people with mild dementia: A randomized controlled trial

Huang, Nayan; Li, Wenjie; Rong, Xiangjiang; Champ, Mei; Wei, Lian; Li, Mo; Mu, Haiyan; Hu, Yueqing; Ma, Zongjuan; Lyu, Jihui


Nayan Huang

Wenjie Li

Xiangjiang Rong

Mei Champ
Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing

Lian Wei

Mo Li

Haiyan Mu

Yueqing Hu

Zongjuan Ma

Jihui Lyu


© 2019-IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. Background: Tai Chi exercise is a non-pharmacological therapy that has received increased attention in recent years. A Tai Chi program has been specifically modified for older people with cognitive impairments by the research team.

Objective: We aim to assess the effects of this Tai Chi program on mild dementia.

Methods: Eighty older people with mild dementia were recruited and randomly assigned to a Tai Chi group or a control group. The Tai Chi group practiced the Tai Chi program three times a week for 10 months, while the control group continued receiving routine treatments. All participants were assessed for cognitive function, behavior/mood, and activities of daily living at baseline, 5 months, and 10 months.

Results: The Tai Chi group performed better than the control group. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant group×time interaction in the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Further analysis of sub-items of the MoCA showed a significant time effect in naming and abstraction. It was statistically significant in both main effect of time and group×time interaction in the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Paired sample t test showed the Tai Chi group scored lower at 5 and 10 months in the NPI and at 10 months in the GDS compared with baseline. The Tai Chi group scored lower than the control group at 10 months in the NPI and GDS.

Conclusion: The results suggest this Tai Chi program may help improve cognitive function and mental well-being for older adults with mild dementia.


Huang, N., Li, W., Rong, X., Champ, M., Wei, L., Li, M., …Lyu, J. (2019). Effects of a modified tai chi program on older people with mild dementia: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 72(3), 947-956.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2019
Publication Date Nov 26, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 21, 2020
Journal Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Print ISSN 1387-2877
Electronic ISSN 1875-8908
Publisher IOS Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 72
Issue 3
Pages 947-956
Keywords Behavioral and psychological symptoms; cognitive function; dementia; depressive mood; Tai Chi
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