Indian meditation Kirtan Kriya may reduce Alzheimer’s risk in older adults: Study

The music & repetitive finger movements in Kirtan Kriya improved memory, cognition, sleep & mood.

Kirtan kriya — an ancient Indian meditation technique — may help improve brain function and memory in older adults at risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a study has found.

Researchers from West Virginia University in the US found that the simple meditative practice or musical therapy may alter certain biomarkers of cellular ageing and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults who are experiencing memory loss.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggest these changes may be directly related to improvements in memory and cognition, sleep, mood, and quality of life.

Sixty older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), a condition that may represent a preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, participated in the clinical trial.

Meditation could be medication for those at risk of Alzheimer's, the study suggests. Image credit: Mindful Spring

Meditation could be medication for those at risk of Alzheimer's, the study suggests. Image credit: Mindful Spring

Each participant was randomly assigned to either a beginner meditation called Kirtan Kriya or music listening programme and asked to practice 12 minutes per day for 12 weeks.

Kirtan Kriya is a type of meditation that involves singing and repetitive finger movements.

At baseline and 3 months, blood samples were collected. Blood levels of specific beta-amyloid peptides commonly linked to Alzheimer’s disease were assessed.

Following completion of the 3 month intervention period, the meditation group showed greater increases in a key beta amyloid peptide than the music group.

Rising beta-amyloid levels were correlated with improvements in memory and cognitive function, as well as with those in mood, sleep, and quality of life; these positive associations were more pronounced in the meditation group.

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