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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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1
Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

AIMS:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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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