New research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has shown that following either a simple meditation or music listening regimen may help to reverse early memory loss in older adults. The study was conducted by West Virginia University and helmed by Dr. Kim Innes. It aimed to examine the effects of either completing basic meditation or following a music listening program 12 minutes a day for 12 weeks.
The participant group was made up of 60 older adults with subjective cognitive decline, and each was randomly assigned to either the meditation group or the music listening group. Subjective cognitive decline is a condition thought to be linked with a preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s and affects subjective memory function along with objective cognitive performance.
The results of the study showed significant cognitive improvements in both the meditation and music listening groups. After three months of completing these daily programs, participants displayed improvements in attention, executive function, processing speed, and subjective memory function. These functions are all known to be affected by subjective cognitive decline and preclinical stages of dementia, so the improvements seen may mean that these therapy regimens can aid in the reversal of memory loss associated with these conditions.
A previous study published by the same research team showed an improvement in sleep, mood, stress, well-being, and quality of life in both groups, though these benefits were even greater in those who completed the mediation regimen. The cognitive effects of this most recent study either continued to improve or were maintained after six months of therapy, meaning that these intervention strategies could have lasting, long-term effects.
Taking part in either a meditation or music listening program has been shown to improve sleep, mood, and well-being in older adults who are experiencing subjective cognitive decline. This new research shows that these intervention strategies may aid in preserving memory and cognition skills by reversing the effects of preclinical dementia. Further research into the long-term effects of these therapies may be beneficial in order to see if this reversal is permeant, and whether these methods may be prescribed as effective intervention strategies.