-Rick Nauert, PhD
A recent pilot study of adults with early memory loss suggests simple mind-body practices may help to mitigate or even reverse early memory loss in older adults.
The West Virginia University research team discovered the practice of meditation, or a music listening program, may have multiple benefits for older adults with preclinical memory loss.
In the study, 60 older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) — a condition that may represent a preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease — were assigned to either a beginner meditation (Kirtan Kriya) or music listening program and asked to practice 12 minutes per day for 12 weeks.
Investigators discovered both the meditation and music groups showed marked and significant improvements in subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance at three months.
The study appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers discovered the interventions influenced domains of cognitive functioning most likely to be affected in preclinical and early stages of dementia. That is, attention, executive function, processing speed, and subjective memory function.
Importantly, the substantial gains observed in memory and cognition were maintained or further increased at six months (three months post-intervention).
Researchers found that both intervention groups showed improvements in sleep, mood, stress, well-being, and quality of life. The meditation group showed the most pronounced improvements; however, all benefits were sustained or further enhanced at three month’s post-intervention.
The findings of this trial suggest that two simple mind-body practices may significantly improve quality of life.
Specifically, investigators discovered Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening may not only improve mood, sleep, and quality of life, but also boost cognition and help reverse perceived memory loss in older adults with SCD.