The term dementia refers to a slow loss of mental faculties so severe that it interferes with daily life.
There are various causes of this general and progressive decay, but there are still many studies to be able to understand what happens in our brain.
Despite this, there may be some ways to reduce the risk of dementia. These also include changing their daily habits by adopting a more correct lifestyle.
Dementia: Meditation could prevent this crippling disease
Following a meditation program for 18 months could prevent dementia in people aged 65 and over, according to a study published by researchers at University College London (UCL).JAMA Neurology 2022, DOI: 10.1001 / jamaneurol.2022.3185).
Although, brain analyzes failed to reveal improvement in the structure or function of the brain. In short, they haven’t made it clear how meditation prevents dementia. However, as one of the authors of the study, Dr. Natalie Marchant (UCL Psychiatry), states, the results are still important.
In fact, they do understand how meditation can be useful to improve the well-being of older people who get benefits on attention and emotions. In short, research has shown that meditation can be used to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
The researchers for this study looked at the physiological, cognitive, and emotional aspects of meditation in the elderly. The study involved 136 (healthy) participants aged 65 and over by observing them during an 18-month meditation program. The researchers measured the impact that meditation had on the volume and perfusion of tissues in the insula and anterior cingulate cortex. Areas particularly sensitive to meditation and aging processes.
Participants were then divided into three groups to compare the likely benefits of meditation with other interventions. The first group followed the meditative intervention protocol. Instead, the second group (called active control) received an English language learning training course. Finally, the third group (passive control) did not receive any type of intervention.
After 18 months, the researchers saw no significant changes in the volume or perfusion of the cingulate cortex or insula in either the meditation or control groups.
According to the authors, however, even if no changes are visible in the brain, the results could have long-term effects. For this the team will conduct a four-year follow-up of the participants.
However, there were many differences between the groups on the behavioral level between the meditation group and the English language learning group. Attention and emotional capacity were better in the first group participants.
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Hence, meditation aimed at regulating stress and attention has proven useful in managing the cognitive and emotional aspects of aging. Finally, according to the authors “meditation practices could be seen as a promising mental training exercise to promote brain health and reduce the risk of dementia”.
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