Yoga ‘can fight dementia’

A THREE-MONTH course in yoga and meditation, especially the ancient Indian practice of kirtan, may help boost memory and fight Alzheimer’s disease, American sci- entists have said.

A team of US neuroscientists from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that yoga and meditation helped minimise cognitive and emotional problems that often precede Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

They also found it was more effective than memory enhancement exercises traditionally used to manage mild cognitive impairment.

The study, funded by Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foun- dation, was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

“Memory training was comparable to yoga with meditation in terms of improving memory, but yoga provided a broader benefit because it also helped with mood, anxiety and coping skills,” said Helen Lavretsky, the study’s senior author and a professor in residence in UCLA’s department of psychiatry. .

The experiment was carried out on 25 participants, all aged over 55 years.

“Clinical research has shown that practising kirtan kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory,” ac- cording to Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation.

“Replacing the kirtan kriya sounds with other sounds, or replacing the meditation as a whole with other relaxing tasks, has not been shown to be effective,” it added.