MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A West Virginia University-led research team has found that a simple meditation or music listening program may have multiple benefits for older adults who are experiencing memory loss. 

Sixty older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), a condition that may represent a preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, participated in the randomized, controlled study. Each was assigned to either a beginner meditation (Kirtan Kriya) or music listening program and asked to practice 12 minutes/day for 12 weeks. 

The research team, led by Dr. Kim Innes of the WVU School of Public Health, reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that both the meditation and music groups showed marked and significant improvements in subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance at three months.  These included attention, executive function, processing speed, and subjective memory function – among the areas most likely to be affected in preclinical and early stages of dementia.

The substantial gains observed in memory and cognition were maintained or further increased at six months, three months after the intervention ended. 

An early version of this paper detailing the findings is currently available online (http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad160867 Epub 2/7/17, DOI 10.3233/JAD-160867) and is scheduled for publication in Volume 56, Issue 3 of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Other members of the research team included Terry Kit Selfe and Sahiti Kandati of the West Virginia University School of Public Health.