Yoga beats memory games to stave off dementia

Yoga beats dementia staving brain training
Photo by Caiaimage/REX Shutterstock

New studies are siding on the physical side of things in the battle against dementia

It’s a well reported fact that playing brain training games can protect our minds from memory loss and dementia, but new research suggests yoga and meditation can be even more effective.

Researchers recruited 25 participants for the study, all over the age of 55 and all complaining of memory issues like forgetting names and misplacing items.

The test group was split in two; the first group completing memory exercises, and the second participating in yoga and meditation.

The trial lasted for three months, after which it was found both exercises improved verbal memory skills. However, the yoga group had better visual-spatial memory, which can reduce anxiety and help when navigating and recalling locations.

“Historically and anecdotally, yoga has been thought to be beneficial in ageing well, but this is the scientific demonstration of that benefit,” lead researcher Harris Eyre, from the University of Adelaide, said.

“We’re converting historical wisdom into the high level of evidence required for doctors to recommend therapy to their patients.”

The yoga group, who took an hour- long yoga class every week plus a daily dose of 20 minutes of mediation, were also found less likely to be depressed and better able to cope with stress.

Co-author Professor Helen Lavretsky, from the University of California, added: “If you or your relatives are trying to improve your memory or offset the risk for developing memory loss or dementia, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness.”

In less positive dementia-related news, it’s also been found that indigestion medication proton pump inhibitors (PPI) can increase the risk of dementia, heart attacks and kidney problems.

The drugs are available without prescription, and can be picked up in supermarkets and pharmacies. PPI medicines aren’t recommended for long-term use, and have previously been linked to infection, bone fractures and cancer.

If you have concerns about dementia, visit www.dementiauk.org for help and guidance.

© Cover Media

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