Alzheimer’s disease absolutely destroys the brains of those who have it as well as the lives of those who deal with the affected.
While we’re still unclear on what causes the disease, researchers have made an astounding amount of recent progress in helping to identify markers associated with the disease which may lead to prevention
And a recent research study shows meditation might hold promise in keeping the debilitating disease at bay.
Researchers at the West Virginia School of Public Health found simple meditation practices might help improve brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s from forming.
Their subjects, older adults who were already beginning to experience memory problems, were asked to practice either 12 minutes of daily yoga meditation or 12 minutes per day of music listening for 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, they came to conclude that certain blood markers often associated with the advancement of the disease were improved more by daily yoga meditation than music listening.
This shows promise for helping to prevent the disease.
No Known Way To Predict Alzheimer’s Disease
In recent years researchers discovered while there is no direct method for predicting Alzheimer’s disease, there is a way to identify risk factors associated with the disease. One of the best ways studying the blood of people who are in the early to later stages of the disease.
Catharine Paddock Ph.D. writes: “Certainly blood markers ‘have emerged as possible predictors of cognitive decline and dementia.’ These included telomere length, telomerase activity, and levels of certain beta-amyloid peptides with links to Alzheimer’s disease.
Telomeres are ‘protective caps” that work to prevent the ends of chromosomes from deteriorating. Telomerase is an enzyme that helps preserve telomere length. Reduction in telomere length and telomerase activity are both “markers of cellular aging.’
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as a gradual decline in the ability to remember, think, and make decisions, emerge long after the changes in the brain that cause them have already taken hold.
For this reason, and because of the difficulties of diagnosing this form of dementia from symptoms, researchers are pushing for a model that ‘defines Alzheimer’s by brain changes, not symptoms.’’
When the researchers tested the individuals after the 3 months of yoga meditation or music listening they noticed that both of these activities changed the brain.
But yoga meditation did more so.
Keep in mind, the subjects of these studies were already showing signs of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. So any objective change in the brain may improve the chances of preventing Alzheimer’s.
In this study, a certain blood marker called Beta-amyloid 40 increased for the mediation group.
Along with those increase in Beta-amyloid 40 improvements in memory, cognitive function, quality of life, mood, and sleep for the 3- and 6-month measuring points were also observed.
The yoga group was the group most affected.