Yoga and meditation reduces dementia risk

Yoga and meditation reduces dementia risk

Yoga and meditation reduces dementia risk

Yoga and meditation reduces dementia risk, according to recent research from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The benefits of yoga and meditation lowered the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) specifically, which is considered a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Mayo Clinic explains more about MCI:

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. If you have mild cognitive impairment, you may be aware that your memory or mental function has “slipped.” Your family and close friends also may notice a change. But generally these changes aren’t severe enough to interfere with your day-to-day life and usual activities.

The researchers enrolled 25 participants who were 55 and older.

For 3 months, 14 of the participants took a 1-hour Kundalini yoga class and did Kirtan Kriya meditation for 20 minutes a day.

Dr. Lavretsky notes that Kirtan Kriya meditation has been used for centuries to help with cognitive function in adults.

The rest of the participants did 1 hour of memory enhancement training with activities like crossword puzzles or computer games. They did this once a week for 3 months, along with 20 minutes of memory exercises daily.

At the end of the 3-month study period, the participants all were given an MRI to test cognitive function and brain activity.

The participants who did yoga and meditation showed greater improvement in visual-spatial memory skills than those who just did memory enhancement training. Visual-spatial memory is the ability to navigate and remember locations.

The yoga and meditation group also coped better with anxiety and depression, which are common with dementia.

When you have memory loss, you can get quite anxious about that and it can lead to depression,” notes Dr. Lavretsky.

The study showing that yoga and meditation reduces dementia risk was published in the journal IOS Press.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Yoga, Meditation May Reduce Dementia Risk.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.
2. “To Reduce Pre-Alzheimer’s Cognitive Impairment, Get to the Yoga Mat.” UCLA Newsroom. UCLA, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.
3. “Changes in Neural Connectivity and Memory Following a Yoga Intervention for Older Adults: A Pilot Study.” IOS Press. IOS Press, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.
4. “Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.

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