An article in Medical News Today describes how researchers are learning how yoga can be a powerful tool in the fight against dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The research study was conducted by Dr. Helen Lavretsky at the University of California-Los Angeles, and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s.
Although not severe, MCI can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s. It is a condition where there are changes in memory and problems with thinking. Medical News Today notes that between 10-20 percent of people 65 years old and older have the potential for developing MCI.
25 people who were 55 or older participated in the research. They were broken up into two groups:
- One group of 14 people participated for 12 weeks in a 1-hour a week yoga class and a 20 minute daily meditation session.
- The other 11 people participated in a 1-hour a week memory training session, and completed memory exercises for 20 minutes daily.
- Everyone in the study did memory tests and fMRI scans at the start of the study.
What the researchers found was that everyone experienced improvement in verbal-memory skills. Yet, those who participated in the yoga and meditation sessions had greater improvement with their visual-spatial memory skills. The article gives as an example a person’s increased ability to remember locations and navigate to those places. This group also had better abilities to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.
The researchers think that these improvements in the yoga/meditation group may be due to brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF). This is a protein that aids in connecting the cells of the brain and maintaining those connections. The yoga and meditation may have helped to maintain the BDNF protein, making it an easier solution to stave off the effects of dementia.
Want to know more about how yoga and meditation can help you to keep dementia at bay?
Read the full article here: Yoga, Meditation May Reduce Dementia Risk.