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Aging health. 2012 Oct 1;8(5):509-516.

A pilot study of the effects of meditation on regional brain metabolism in distressed dementia caregivers.

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Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Caregiver distress can affect mood and cognition. Meditation can be used to reduce stress. This pilot study explored whether yogic meditation could change regional cerebral metabolism in distressed caregivers.


Nine dementia caregivers were randomized to undergo meditation training compared with relaxation for 12 min per day for 8 weeks. Caregivers received neuropsychiatric assessments and brain FDG-PET scans at baseline and postintervention.


The groups did not differ on measures of mood, mental and physical health, and burden at baseline and follow-up. When comparing the regional cerebral metabolism between groups, significant differences over time were found in the bilateral cerebellum (p < 0.0005), right inferior lateral anterior temporal (p < 0.0005), right inferior frontal (p = 0.001), left superior frontal (p = 0.001), left associative visual (p = 0.002) and right posterior cingulate (p = 0.002) cortices.


Meditation practice in distressed caregivers resulted in different patterns of regional cerebral metabolism from relaxation. These pilot results should be replicated in a larger study.

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