Today, there is no known way to prevent older people with mild cognitive impairment from developing Alzheimer's disease. According to a new study, mindfulness meditation can slow down this process.
Anxiety and heartbeat, chronic pain, tinnitus, ... In recent years, a handful of studies have demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness meditation on many health issues. This practice is to focus only on the present moment: our breathing, our thoughts, sensations, sounds and smells, etc. And that, without judgment.
According to a pilot study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, mindfulness meditation can help people with mild cognitive impairment slow down the development of Alzheimer's disease. Currently, there is no known way to prevent this neurodegenerative disease from progressing.
"Our study has shown promising evidence that adults with mild cognitive impairment can learn to practice mindfulness meditation, and thereby increase their cognitive reserve," says Rebecca Erwin Wells, associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Medicine (North Carolina, USA).
Make progress without taking medication
Previously, studies have shown that too much stress can have bad consequences on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is useful for memory and learning. This chronic stress is also associated with an increased incidence of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. In parallel, other research has shown that non-drug methods can have positive effects on cognitive functions, such as physical exercise.
For the present study, 14 people aged 55 to 90 years old with mild cognitive impairment were separated into two groups: in the first, participants underwent mindfulness and yoga meditation sessions for eight weeks in Other participants were considered to be on a waiting list.
Cognitive impairment does not prevent you from learning mindfulness meditation
According to the researchers, the nine people who completed the Mindfulness Meditation initiation program showed improved cognition and well-being, and improved effects on the hippocampus.
In addition, each participant completed a questionnaire at the end of the eight-week program. "Participants' comments and evaluations showed that most of them were able to learn the key principles of mindfulness meditation, demonstrating that memory impairment or mild cognitive impairment does not exclude the acquisition of such skills ", explains Pr Wells. Those who best understood the concept of mindfulness meditation practiced this method at least 20 minutes a day.
It should be noted that this study has certain limitations: the small sample size, and the fact that all participants with positive cognitive function scores had higher education. Additional research is needed.