Yoga Beats Brain Games in Memory Loss Prevention

posted on: August 8, 2016    |    by: Adam Reith

Crosswords and other brain games have been shown to stave off the memory decline symptomatic of diseases like Alzheimer’s. But R&D teams around the world know that there is much more to be done.

At UCLA’s department of psychiatry, researchers recently explored whether yoga and mindfulness training could improve on brain games.  In their study, one group of volunteers received 1 hour of memory training per week and spent 20 minutes each day doing memory exercises while another received 1 hour of weekly yoga training and spent 20 minutes per day meditating (chanting, hand movements, and visualization).

After 12 weeks, both groups showed memory improvement, with similar results achieved in verbal-centric testing.  In depression and anxiety mitigation, however, the yogi group outperformed the brain fitness group.  This is important as increased resilience may help reduce depression’s compounding effect on memory degradation.  Functional MRI tests substantiated the memory test results with the mindfulness group presenting reduced brain inflammation and enhanced production of neurotrophic growth factor, a brain protein that stimulates connections between neurons and can replaces lost or damaged genetic material.

So now you know.  Time to add a dose of yoga to your daily crossword and stay well!


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