Simply listening to music programs or meditation could have numerous benefits for older adults who suffer from preclinical memory loss. The research was conducted on adults who experienced subjective cognitive decline, a preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease.
The research, published Jan. 18, in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, was conducted by researchers at West Virginia University.
Meditation And Music Efficient Against Early Stages Of Alzheimer's
The team carried out a randomized controlled trial, which 60 adults with a preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease were enrolled to, either beginner meditation or a music listening program. The subjects had to be part of the program 12 minutes every day, throughout a 12-week period.
Both groups showed marked and important improvements concerning their subjective memory function. The participants also recorded an increase in the objective cognitive performance at three months from the beginning of the group assignment. The progress in the cognitive condition of the subjects was maintained and even increased, among some, at six months.
The cognitive areas which showed improvement in functionality are often linked to preclinical and early stages of dementia, ranging from executive function and attention to subjective memory function and the speed at which they process information.
As the research team previously documented in another scientific paper, both the interventions, consisting of either music or meditation, showed significant improvements in other areas connected to overall quality of life, from sleep to stress and mood. The meditation group, however, showed better improvements on these criteria. Additionally, these collateral benefits were either maintained or improved at three months post-intervention.
The results of this research suggest that these simple practices could not just help people's well-being, but the entire cognitive system and brain functioning, and could reverse perceived memory loss in older adults who are in a preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease.
"Changes were unrelated to treatment expectancies and did not differ by age, gender, baseline cognition scores, or other factors. [...] Findings of this preliminary randomized controlled trial suggest practice of meditation or ML can significantly enhance both subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance in adults with SCD, and may offer promise for improving outcomes in this population," noted the research.
Alzheimer's Disease, The Most Common Form Of Dementia
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, and it manifests as a progressive series of symptoms starting with mild memory loss and possibly leading to the lack of capacity to carry on a proper conversation or respond to the environmental stimuli. The parts of the brain it affects control thought, memory, and language, and the advanced stages of the disease can obstruct people from carrying out daily activities and functioning on their own.
According to a CDC fact sheet, 5 million people in the United States suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Most generally, the symptoms install in the patients after the age of 60 and increase with aging.
Additionally, the number of people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease doubles every five years among the population aged 65 or more. The current estimates show that the number of Alzheimer's disease patients is projected to get to 14 million by 2050.