Meditation Helps Memory Loss Patients
- 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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