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Meditation Helps Memory Loss Patients

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    Meditation Helps Memory Loss Patients 01 Mar 2012 by Petra Rattue The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that researchers from the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2012
      Meditation Helps Memory Loss Patients
      01 Mar 2012
      by Petra Rattue

      The Journal of Alternative and Complementary
      Medicine reports that researchers from the
      Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have discovered
      that adults with memory impairment and memory
      loss may benefit from mantra-based meditation,
      which has a positive effect on people's emotional
      responses to stress, fatigue and anxiety.

      For their study, the researchers enrolled 15 older
      adults with memory problems that ranged from mild
      age-associated memory impairment to mild impairment,
      with Alzheimer's disease on a Kirtan Kriya (KK)
      mantra-based meditation course, that involved
      12 minutes of meditation, per day, for a period
      of eight weeks, and a control group to listen to
      classical music for the same amount of time over 8 weeks.

      Preliminary findings revealed a substantial increase
      in cerebral blood flow in the patients' prefrontal,
      superior frontal, and superior parietal cortices,
      and also better cognitive function.

      Andrew Newberg, M.D., director of Research at the
      Jefferson Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine explained:

      "We sought to build on this research to determine
      if changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) had any
      correlation with changes in patients' emotional
      state, feelings of spirituality and improvements
      in memory. Age-associated cognitive impairment can
      be accompanied by depression and changes in mood.
      There is data suggesting that mood disorders can
      aggravate the processes of cognitive decline."

      The findings demonstrated that participants in the
      meditation group showed some improvement in fatigue,
      tension, anger, confusion and depression, and whilst
      the researchers noted a substantial improvement in
      tension and fatigue, compared with the control group,
      they did not observe significant changes with regard
      to spirituality scores.

      They examined the participants' brains and other
      regions of interest (ROI) by using single photon
      emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans at baseline
      and at 8-weeks. The location of the scans was based
      on regions that the researchers earlier found were
      affected during the meditation tasks, and that are
      involved in various cognitive and affective responses.

      The results showed an important relationship between
      the change in CBF and the change of the patients'
      reported mood states. For instance, whilst regions
      like the amygdala, which impact memory formation
      and storage linked to emotional events, as well as
      the caudate, which is thought to be strongly involved
      in learning and memory related to depression scores,
      areas like the prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal
      lobe, parietal region, and cingulate cortex were
      related with tension.

      The fact that researchers observed substantial associations
      between improved scores for confusion, depression and
      change in verbal memory indicates that improvements of
      depression and confusion are linked to cognitive improvement.

      Dr. Newberg concludes:

      "This study is one of a growing body of neuroimaging
      studies to illustrate the neurological and biological
      impact of meditation, highlighting brain regions that
      regulate attention control, emotional states, and memory.
      It is a first step in understanding the neurophysiologic
      impact of this and similar meditative practices."
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