Age-associated cognitive decline is often accompanied by depression, stress, anxiety and emotional changes. Recent clinical reviews have suggested that mood disorders can intensify the processes of cognitive decline. This new study is building on this finding, investigating whether relaxation and stress relieving meditation can slow the cognitive decline.
Research conducted at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital concluded that adult patients with memory impairments have reported reduced anxiety, increased ability to cope with the symptoms of emotional stress and have enhanced sleep with mantra-based meditation.
The research which has been published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, recruited 15 adults with Alzheimer’s disease, an age-associated memory deterioration. Half of the participants were assigned to an 8 week Kirtan Kriya (KK) mantra-based meditation course, involving 12 minutes of meditation each day. The other half were assigned to a control group who were prescribed to listen to classical music for the same amount of time each day for the 8 weeks.
Researchers have reported preliminary findings; mantra-based meditation is associated with a significant increase in cerebral blood flow in the patients’ prefrontal, superior frontal, and superior parietal cortices, and also better cognitive function. The meditation group of participants also reported improvement in fatigue, tension, anger, confusion and symptoms of depression .
The research indicates that indicates that reductions in levels of depression and destructive emotions could inhibit cognitive decline, sound meditation is an effective, non-toxic means of achieving such changes.