Health: June Newsletter

Everybody knows or at least believes that meditation is good for you. Recently, a team at UCLA found that 3 months of yoga helped reduce the cognitive and emotional problems that precede Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Their study also showed that yoga is more effective than memory enhancement exercises which are currently the standard.

Helen Lavrestky, the study's senior author and a professor in residence at UCLA's department of psychiatry, &qutot;Memory training was comparable to yoga with meditation in terms of improving memory, but yoga provided a broader benefit than memory training because it also helped with mood, anxiety and coping skills.&qutot;

The study comprised of 25 participants who were all over the age of 55, and who had reported and diagnosed memory problems. The participants were all subjected to multiple experiments to improve memory training ranging from commercial computer programs to crossword puzzles and were given memory tests and brain scans at the beginning and end of the test.

The research team reported that participants showed outward improvements in memory correspondents and perceptible changes in brain activity, with subjects who did yoga showing significant improvements. They attribute the observed changes to yoga’s potential ability to reduce stress and inflammation, improve mood and resilience, and enhance the production of brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor, a protein that stimulates connections between neurons and kick-starts telomerase activity.