Recent research has shown a correlation between meditation and Dementia. In a study conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, 14 adults with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) between the ages of 55-90 participated in an eight-week study where they engaged in 15-30 minutes of guided meditation and yoga a day.
After just eight weeks, MRIs showed improved functional connectivity in the default mode network or the part of the brain that never shuts down, and slowed shrinkage of the hippocampus, which is the main part of the brain that shrinks with Dementia. Additionally, patients.
According to Dr. Rebecca Erwin Wells, who conducted the study, mindfulness meditation can be defined as “non-judgmental moment to moment awareness.” During the study, participants’ meditation consisted of “body scans,” which means paying sequential attention to different parts of the body. In addition, she had participants perform certain yoga postures to promote mindful movement and bodily awareness.
Here are five ways that meditation can give your brain a boost, and slow the progression of Dementia:
- Keeps the hippocampus from shrinking and increases the amount of protective tissue in the brain.
- Can help seniors feel less isolated, a feeling which increases the risk of developing Dementia.
- Helps people feel calmer, decreasing perceived stress and risk of Dementia. (There is a high correlation between stress and Dementia)
- Reduces cortisol levels, the hormone which causes stress and increases the risk of Dementia.
- Increases grey matter and cortical thickness of the brain, which are associated with decision making and memory.
If you are interested in meditation and mindfulness, but don’t know where to start, there are many books on guided meditation as well as introductory courses that you can take to learn the skill. Effective alternatives to traditional meditation include mindful movement exercises like yoga or tai chi, and meditation walking.
At 24-7 Nursing Care, we are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the health and well-being of our clients, and we welcome family participation. If you or your loved one is in need of in-home care, we provide individualized care plans to fit the needs of each unique client. Feel free to call us at any time at (786) 497-7068 for a free in-home consultation.
Elias, N. (2013, November 21). A Meditation A Day Keeps Alzheimer’s At Bay. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://www.prevention.com/health/brain-health/mindfulness-meditation-slows-progression-alzheimers-and-dementia
Sauer, A. (2013, October 25). How Meditation Can Slow Alzheimer’s. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-11-25/how-meditation-can-slow-alzheimers/