We already know the benefits of meditation on our body and psychebut according to new research, she is also a tool to prevent the onset of certain forms of dementia.
It’s in the recognized scientific journal Jama Neurology that the work of researchers from INSERM and the University of Caen will soon be published, as reported a press release shared by the institution, Monday, October 10, 2022.
After 18 months of experiment, carried out on a sample of 137 people aged 65 and over with no health problems, the scientists demonstrated thatregular practice of mediation exercises could improve the attention spans, moods and emotional states of the participants concerned..
Meditation, a mental training that protects our brain
To check their hypotheses, the French scientists divided their sample into three groups. The first had to meditate for 20 minutes a day, the second took English lessons, while the last was a control group – and therefore did not change any of their lifestyle habits.
If the Caen University team looked into meditation, it is because this “mental training targeting the stress regulation and attention – such as mindfulness meditation – has been shown to be a beneficial tool in managing the cognitive and emotional aspects of aging, particularly in reducing stress,anxiety and the depression“, reports the press release from INSERM.
Results : “significant differences were observed on behavioral measures between the meditation group and the English learning group, with better regulation of attention and social-emotional skills among participants in the meditation group.”
A practice that creates a “cerebral reserve”
“It has already been observed in the past that, in expert meditators, two areas of the brain involved in meditation – the frontal and insular cortex – are larger“, remember France News.
“The insula and the anterior cingulate cortex are especially sensitive to aging. It has been shown that, in elderly people who are experts in the practice of meditation, the volume of gray matter as well as glucose metabolism (a physiological process essential to good brain function) were more important than in people who do not practice meditation. Meditation could therefore be an interesting approach to preserve brain structures and functions as well as cognitive abilities, and by extension, to prevent dementia”, specifies the press release from INSERM.
However, in their study, the researchers did not note that these areas had “sufficiently gained in volume for it to be considered significant, but they have nevertheless evolved in the right direction”, specifies the French media.
“We can think that by stimulating these particular regions of the brain, meditation creates a kind of brain reservewhich can make it possible to resist the attacks of neurodegenerative diseases for longer”, nuance Dr. Gaël Chetelat, research director at INSERM.
A lifestyle habit to adopt, to benefit from its benefits on the aging
“The fact that no anatomical differences were observed between these two groups may indicate that while meditation can alter the volume of younger, more plastic brains, 18 Months of Meditation Training Isn’t Enough to Change the Effects of Aging. Moreover, if the volume measurement results are strictly negative, those of the perfusion show a tendency in favor of meditation that it could be interesting to explore over a longer intervention time and/or with a sample of larger population,” she said.
Thus, the French team set up a 4-year follow-up to analyze the possible long-term effects of the study.
However, scientists welcome this advance. “The practice of meditation shows here its real benefit on the mental health of the elderly, with a significant improvement in parameters specific to well-being and fulfillment, but also to the maintenance of attentional and socio-emotional capacities reported by the participants”, adds Antoine Lutz, head of the Meditation axis of the study, at INSERM.
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From the age of 65, the practice of meditation could prevent certain forms of dementia
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