Can Yoga and Meditation ward off Alzheimer’s disease?

We’re all used to hearing that a course in yoga and meditation can make you feel better. Help you cope with stress. Now a new study headed by Helen Lavretsky of UCLA and published in the May edition of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Research indicates yoga and meditation may also forestall the cognitive impairment that often precedes the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study involved 12 participants who over 12 weeks performed kundalini yoga and Kirtan Kriya meditation. The latter involved hand movements, chanting, meditation and visualization. According to Indian traditions Kirtan Kriya is used to prevent cognitive decline in older people.

Meanwhile a control group of 11 participants carried out traditional memory boosting exercises such as doing crosswords.  All participants were older adults who had concerns about their memory loss.

After twelve weeks both groups showed similar improvements in memory functions. But the group doing yoga and meditation had superior visual and spatial memory skills. And less anxiety — often linked with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory training was comparable to yoga with meditation in terms of improving memory, but yoga provided a broader benefit than memory training because it also helped with mood, anxiety and coping skills, said Helen Lavretsky, adding, If you or your relatives are trying to improve your memory or offset the risk for developing memory loss or dementia, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness.

PMK

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