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Alzheimer’s disease: Simple 12 minute activity shown to reduce early signs of disease

Gemma Atkinson reveals she’s getting ‘meditation area’ in garden

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Meditation may help some Alzheimer’s sufferers with symptoms of memory loss and a decline in thinking skills. It may also help to offset the stress that comes with the disease. Stress can intensify symptoms as it is linked to worse cognitive function. But since meditation can require some procedure, it is only likely to help people with early symptoms of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is sadly one of the largest killers in the UK. The disease can be a slow-burning disease that causes a decline over many years.

In its early stages, its symptoms include forgetting details in conversations, misplacing items, and having trouble thinking of the right words.

But over the years, studies have shown that meditation practice can help reduce these early symptoms.

One study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 looked at a group of adults with early dementia symptoms who did 12 minutes of relaxing music therapy or yoga meditation for 12 weeks.

At the start of the study, the participants of the study had subjective cognitive decline – meaning they reported experiences of frequent confusion or memory loss.

Three months into the study, and then six months after the first observation, the participants received tests of subjective cognitive decline and showed significant improvements.

Another smaller study even found that even just a week of meditation had changes in their body’s chemistry that may help offset Alzheimer’s.

Talking about the experiment, Doctor Rudolph Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School told Prevention: “After a week of learning meditation and doing it several times per day, there were changes in the genes involved with how brain clears out Alzheimer’s-associated amyloid from the brain out of the body.”

Clumps or tangles of beta-amyloid are thought to be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, it’s not entirely clear from the research that meditation can in any way offset Alzheimer’s.

The cause of Alzheimer’s isn’t fully known yet, meaning there’s no way for certain to prevent the disease.

Activities other than meditation have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

They often revolve around reducing the onset of other conditions like stroke and heart attacks that have been linked to Alzheimer’s.

The NHS lists the following activities as helping to reduce the risk of conditions linked to Alzheimer’s disease – such as heart attacks and stroke.

  • stopping smoking
  • keeping alcohol to a minimum
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet, including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day
  • exercising for at least 150 minutes every week by doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking), or as much as you’re able to
  • making sure your blood pressure is checked and controlled through regular health tests
  • if you have diabetes, make sure you keep to the diet and take your medicine

Talking about the effect of meditation and yoga, Doctor Eric B. Larson of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, told Prevention: “For things like yoga and music, the evidence has been soft.

“But when people ask, should I try it? I tell them, it’s not going to hurt you, and the drugs can be harmful to some people. It makes a lot of sense.”

You should visit the doctor if you show any early, persistent signs of dementia, including increased memory loss and confusion, shortened attention span, and problems coping with new situations.

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