‘Cost-effective meditation can help reverse grey matter loss'

| | New Delhi
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‘Cost-effective meditation can help reverse grey matter loss'

Thursday, 25 November 2021 | Archana Jyoti | New Delhi

A simple, easy to follow, cost-effective meditation routine, when practised daily for several months, can help reverse grey matter loss in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or those with mild Alzheimer’s disease-— a neurological progressive degenerative condition—researchers have claimed.

Dr Amitabha Ghosh, Director and Head Department of Neurology, Apollo Multispeciality Hospital Kolkata,  together with Dr S Bapi Raju {Cognitive Science lab at IIIT Hyderabad}, in collaboration with other researchers had  allocated patients with MCI or mild Alzheimer’s disease to meditation or control groups.

The meditation group practiced 30 minutes of silent, sitting meditation daily for 6 months. They did MRI scans at baseline and after 6 months all patients also underwent neuropsychological assessment.  The meditation group showed significantly increased grey matter over the frontal brain regions that are responsible for control of attention and goal-directed decision-making and reduced grey matter posteriorly.

“The left hippocampus (memory) and the right thalamus also showed an increase in grey matter volume. The team found a trend towards improved attention among the meditators,” said the researchers. The study supported under the SATYAM program by the Department of Science & Technology is published in journal ‘Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’.

However, the researchers said that the meditation research in MCI and Alzheimer’s disease is still very young.

“Much of our waking state is spent on mind wandering. Excessive mind wandering, especially when loaded with persistent negative thoughts, damages the brain, predisposing one to early aging or even Alzheimer’s disease.  Meditation teaches non-judgmental and non-reactive awareness of appearing thoughts and improves one's ability to disengage and focus on intended goals,” Dr Ghosh explained.

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