Many people have experienced the benefits of meditation in coping with the stresses and strains of daily life. Recent research has suggested that the changes to the brain which are associated with meditation could be a factor in delaying the progress of a number of cognitive disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.
The first author of the study, neurologist Rebecca Erwin Wells, wanted to further explore the implications of the changes which take place in the brains of people who meditate.
Currently, approximately half of people diagnosed with mild forms of cognitive impairment develop some type of dementia over the subsequent five years. There are no medications approved by the FDA, which can “stop that progression”.
There is also a correlation between stress and the development of Alzheimer’s disease, so Wells was interested in establishing whether “stress reduction through meditation” could “improve cognitive reserve”.
The study involved the evaluation of a group of participants in the fifty five to ninety age group. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two research groups.
The first group used meditation based stress reduction techniques such as yoga, two hours per week for the eight week research period. They were also encouraged to meditate at home daily for fifteen to thirty minutes.
The reported findings suggested a “trend towards improvement” for well being and cognition. This study highlights the need for further research.
Alzheimer’s disease currently has no cure and the management of symptoms is the only option for treatment. In addition, meditation may not only prolong the onset of further symptoms but it may also be beneficial for relieving the stress of Alzheimer’s care givers.
Meditation has been widely recognized as providing a number of health benefits and this recent research provides credibility that your weekly yoga class is not only good for your health in the short term but could help you greatly in the future.