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J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;48(1):1-12. doi: 10.3233/JAD-142766.

Stress, Meditation, and Alzheimer's Disease Prevention: Where The Evidence Stands.

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  • 1Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, Tucson, AZ, USA.
  • 2Department of Internal/Integrative Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Abstract

Although meditation is believed to be over five thousand years old, scientific research on it is in its infancy. Mitigating the extensive negative biochemical effects of stress is a superficially discussed target of Alzheimer's disease (AD) prevention, yet may be critically important. This paper reviews lifestyle and stress as possible factors contributing to AD and meditation's effects on cognition and well-being for reduction of neurodegeneration and prevention of AD. This review highlights Kirtan Kriya (KK), an easy, cost effective meditation technique requiring only 12 minutes a day, which has been successfully employed to improve memory in studies of people with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and highly stressed caregivers, all of whom are at increased risk for subsequent development of AD. KK has also been shown to improve sleep, decrease depression, reduce anxiety, down regulate inflammatory genes, upregulate immune system genes, improve insulin and glucose regulatory genes, and increase telomerase by 43%; the largest ever recorded. KK also improves psycho-spiritual well-being or spiritual fitness, important for maintenance of cognitive function and prevention of AD. KK is easy to learn and practice by aging individuals. It is the premise of this review that meditation in general, and KK specifically, along with other modalities such as dietary modification, physical exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization, may be beneficial as part of an AD prevention program.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer’s disease; lifestyle; meditation; memory loss improvement; prevention; psychospiritual well-being; reduction of risk factors; stress

PMID:
26445019
[PubMed - in process]
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