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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Can yoga prevent Alzheimer’s?

Matilda Charles King Features Syndicate

A study out of the University of Pennsylvania shows some astonishing possibilities in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease — and it only takes 12 minutes a day.

The study involved yoga, of all things, and meditation. Backed up by photographic evidence (scans of the brain to measure blood flow before and after), it appears that a certain type of yoga and meditation allows the brain to heal.

Granted, the study only involved 11 people. Their medical histories included diagnoses of mild cognitive impairment (or early Alzheimer’s) or complaints of memory loss. But all 11 people had improved short-term memory, visual motor coordination, concentration, verbal fluency and focus. And the brain imaging scans showed increased blood flow (which means more oxygen) to the very part of the brain where Alzheimer’s starts — the cingulated gyrus.

One thing that is key: All 11 participants wanted to continue the daily meditation. Clearly they were getting something out of it. As one of the researchers said, “This is a form of exercise for the brain which enables the brain to strengthen itself.”

The kind of yoga practiced was Kirtan Kriva, one of the basic Kundalini yogas, which involves simple finger movements and repetition of sounds.

If you’d like to give it a try, go to www.alzheimersprevention.org, click on Research and scroll to the bottom of the page. You’ll find instructions including the finger movements, and even a scale showing the four musical notes. I even found how-to videos when I searched for Kirtan Kriya online.

Can this yoga meditation really prevent Alzheimer’s Disease or improve early cognitive loss? I’m willing to spend the 12 minutes a day doing the meditation, just in case. It’s free, there are no side effects and I can do it at home.

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