Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are examining the effectiveness of meditation on early cognitive impairment. Once this new study is completed, the results could help answer lingering questions over whether or not stress-reducing techniques and mind exercises can lessen or even prevent cognitive decline. This is the first study at Penn's new "Center for Spirituality and the Mind," which evolved from work initiated in Penn's Department of Radiology to embrace and encourage researchers from the fields of medicine, pastoral care, religious studies, social work, nursing, and bioethics to expand our knowledge of how spirituality may affect the human brain.
"We'll be looking at patients with mild cognitive impairment or symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease," explains Andrew Newberg, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Religious Studies, who also directs the Center's investigations and is Principal Investigator of this pilot study. "We'll combine their meditation with brain imaging over a period of time to see if meditation improves cognitive function and is associated with actual change in the brain's activity levels. Specifically, we'll be looking for decreased activity in specific areas of the brain."
The dementia process causes a decreased function of neurons in the brain and can result in problems with memory, visual-spatial tasks, and handling emotional issues. As it worsens in a patient, it can also eventually lead to the need for round-the-clock care.
In this study, investigators want to look at the early symptoms of dementia. Study participants will learn a particular kind of meditation, called Kirtan Kriya, identified as one of the most fundamental types of meditation practice. It's a repeated chanting of sounds and finger movements designed to help the mind focus and become sharper. Study participants will perform this meditation program every day for eight weeks to see if this relaxation technique can change the brain's response to different tasks.
"This is a form of exercise for the brain which enables the brain to strengthen itself and battle the unknown processes working to weaken it. We want to keep the mind sharp and work that muscle," Newberg adds. "We might see improvements in baseline activity levels in the brain and these patients might be able to activate their brain in a more robust way in particular. So if this kind of meditation is successful in helping patients with neurological problems, it could then someday become a low-cost additional treatment to current therapy."
Newberg will use SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) imaging to capture the baseline image of the brain as well as the brain's activity during meditation. Images will be taken at the beginning of the study and then after the eight-week program.
Contact: Susanne Hartman
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care
revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...
Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D
In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on
how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases
like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...
Get the Full Story
The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through
NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians,
brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating
that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children.
Click here to read it now...
Ranger Storable Organics
GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness.
See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com