In this pilot study, older adults who practiced yoga did better on measures of verbal and visual memory and executive function than those in memory training classes.
Meet Helen Lavretsky, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, who speaks about a recently completed a pilot study of Kundalini yoga vs memory training in older adults with subjective memory complaints and mild cognitive impairment.1,2
Patients assigned to yoga practice for 12 weeks with daily meditation for 12 minutes in weekly one hour classes did better than those who participated in memory training classes in verbal and visual memory, executive function, mood resilience, anxiety, and connectivity of the brain.
Results suggest that yoga can be a cognitive enhancement or brain fitness exercise that can confer similar or even more extensive cognitive resilience than memory training-the gold standard-in older adults.
Meditation in this study was practiced with music recorded on the White Sun album, which received a Grammy award this year.
Dr Lavretsky is Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA. She also directs the Late Life Mood, Stress, and Wellness Research Program at the Semel Institute at UCLA. She is a member of the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times. Her full bio can be found here.
1.Eyre HA1, Siddarth P1, Acevedo B1, et al. A randomized controlled trial of Kundalini yoga in mild cognitive impairment. Int Psychogeriatr. 2017;29:557-567. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics/article/randomized-controlled-trial-of-kundalini-yoga-in-mild-cognitive-impairment/138A3EB97520CE72B01D17059B7AA286.
2. Yang H, Leaver AM, Siddarth P, et al. Neurochemical and Neuroanatomical Plasticity Following Memory Training and Yoga Interventions in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Front Aging Neurosci. 2016;8:277. eCollection 2016. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00277/full.