The Effects of Meditation on Perceived Stress and Related Indices of Psychological Status and Sympathetic Activation in Persons with Alzheimer's Disease and Their Caregivers: A Pilot Study

Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 9190, Morgantown, WV 26506-9190, USA.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.88). 02/2012; 2012:927509. DOI: 10.1155/2012/927509
Source: PubMed


Objective. To investigate the effects of an 8-week meditation program on perceived stress, sleep, mood, and related outcomes in adults with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. Methods. Community-dwelling adults with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer's disease, together with their live-in caregivers, were enrolled in the study. After a brief training, participants were asked to meditate for 11 minutes, twice daily for 8 weeks. Major outcomes included measures of perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), sleep (General Sleep Disturbance Scale), mood (Profile of Mood States), memory functioning (Memory Functioning Questionnaire), and blood pressure. Participants were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Results. Ten participants (5 of 6 dyads) completed the study. Treatment effects did not vary by participant status; analyses were thus pooled across participants. Adherence was good (meditation sessions completed/week: X = 11.4 ± 1.1). Participants demonstrated improvement in all major outcomes, including perceived stress (P < 0.001), mood (overall, P = 0.07; depression, P = 0.01), sleep (P < 0.04), retrospective memory function (P = 0.04), and blood pressure (systolic, P = 0.004; diastolic, P = 0.065). Conclusions.
Findings of this exploratory trial suggest that an 8-week meditation program may offer an acceptable and effective intervention for
reducing perceived stress and improving certain domains of sleep, mood, and memory in adults with cognitive
impairment and their caregivers.

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Available from: Kim E Innes, Oct 29, 2014
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    • "A recent study showed that AD patients and their caregivers who practiced KK reported less stress and better sleep. This study also reports improved psychological well -being with KK [8, 23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although meditation is believed to be over five thousand years old, scientific research on it is in its infancy. Mitigating the extensive negative biochemical effects of stress is a superficially discussed target of Alzheimer's disease (AD) prevention, yet may be critically important. This paper reviews lifestyle and stress as possible factors contributing to AD and meditation's effects on cognition and well-being for reduction of neurodegeneration and prevention of AD. This review highlights Kirtan Kriya (KK), an easy, cost effective meditation technique requiring only 12 minutes a day, which has been successfully employed to improve memory in studies of people with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and highly stressed caregivers, all of whom are at increased risk for subsequent development of AD. KK has also been shown to improve sleep, decrease depression, reduce anxiety, down regulate inflammatory genes, upregulate immune system genes, improve insulin and glucose regulatory genes, and increase telomerase by 43%; the largest ever recorded. KK also improves psycho-spiritual well-being or spiritual fitness, important for maintenance of cognitive function and prevention of AD. KK is easy to learn and practice by aging individuals. It is the premise of this review that meditation in general, and KK specifically, along with other modalities such as dietary modification, physical exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization, may be beneficial as part of an AD prevention program.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
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    • "never = 4. . .very often = 0)[36,37]. All 10 response values were then summed to calculate the participants' total perceived stress score, with higher scores indicating higher levels of perceived stress[35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: While advances in therapeutic approaches have resulted in improved survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer, subsets of these survivors develop persistent psychoneurological symptoms (fatigue, depression/anxiety, cognitive dysfunction) that compromise their quality of life. The biological basis for these persistent symptoms is unclear, but could reflect the acquisition of soma-wide chromosomal instability following the multiple biological/psychological exposures associated with the diagnosis/treatment of breast cancer. An essential first step toward testing this hypothesis is to determine if these cancer-related exposures are indeed associated with somatic chromosomal instability frequencies. Towards this end, we longitudinally studied 71 women (ages 23-71) with early-stage breast cancer and quantified their somatic chromosomal instability levels using a cytokinesis-blocked micronuclear/cytome assay at 4 timepoints: before chemotherapy (baseline); four weeks after chemotherapy initiation; six months after chemotherapy (at which time some women received radiotherapy); and one year following chemotherapy initiation. Overall, a significant change in instability frequencies was observed over time, with this change differing based on whether the women received radiotherapy (p=0.0052). Also, significantly higher instability values were observed one year after treatment initiation compared to baseline for the women who received: sequential taxotere/doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide (p<0.001) or taxotere/cyclophosphamide (p=0.014). Significant predictive associations for acquired micronuclear/cytome abnormality frequencies were also observed for race (p=0.0052), tumor type [luminal B tumors] (p=0.0053), and perceived stress levels (p=0.0129). The impact of perceived stress on micronuclear/cytome frequencies was detected across all visits, with the highest levels of stress being reported at baseline (p =0.0024). These findings suggest that the cancer-related exposome has an impact on both healthy somatic cells and tumor cells, and may lead to persistent chromosomal instability. In addition, stress was a significant predictor of chromosomal instability; thus, interventions that aim to reduce stress may reduce acquired soma-wide chromosomal instability for cancer survivors.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Attempts are being done to reduce caregiver perceived stress. A number of interventions like yoga, [36,37] meditation [38] and web based interventions [39] have been found to be useful. All three of these non pharmacological options seem tempting as these could prove to be cost effective in a developing nation like India where financial burden upon patients' caregivers could be very high. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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