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Is Kundalini Yoga The Perfect Holistic Intervention For Older Women At Risk Of Alzheimer’s? | The Optimist Daily




UCLA Health conducted a landmark study that revealed the transforming potential of Kundalini yoga for older women at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in Translational Psychiatry, demonstrates how this holistic technique extends beyond memory augmentation, providing a comprehensive strategy that rejuvenates brain circuits while counteracting aging and inflammation biomarkers.

The Alzheimer’s conundrum

Alzheimer’s disease is a persistent neurodegenerative disorder that disproportionately affects women. Longer life expectancy, hormonal changes following menopause, and heredity all contribute to an increased risk. With no cure in sight, prevention is key, particularly in the early stages of the disease.

Kundalini yoga: a holistic intervention

Kundalini yoga, a mind-body practice that includes physical postures, breathing methods, and meditation, has emerged as a viable intervention. Dr. Helen Lavretsky and her team at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior investigate the role of Kundalini yoga in preventing cognitive decline in postmenopausal women at high risk for Alzheimer’s.

A rigorous study approach

The study included 79 postmenopausal women aged 50 and up who reported subjective cognitive decline and cardiovascular risks. They were divided into two groups for the 12-week intervention, which included Kundalini yoga and memory-enhancing exercises. The Kundalini yoga group met weekly for 60-minute sessions, while the memory training group worked on memory methods.

Comprehensive examinations, such as cognitive tests, subjective memory evaluations, mood assessments, and blood samples for gene expression, offered a comprehensive picture of Kundalini yoga’s impact on cognitive health.

The results: yoga’s resonant impact

Participants in the Kundalini yoga group showed substantial cognitive and neurobiological benefits compared to those in the memory training group. Memory performance and subjective memory assessments improved significantly, suggesting a possible intervention for subjective cognitive decline.

However, it is important to highlight that, while Kundalini yoga participants improved their subjective memory, they also suffered a decrease in delayed recall capacity during the 24-week period, which was not detected in the memory training group.

Beyond cognitive outcomes

Kundalini yoga’s influence went beyond cognitive functioning. The study discovered a reversal of aging and inflammation-associated gene expression patterns, implying a larger influence on biological processes connected to aging and neurodegeneration. Dr. Lavretsky went on to say, “That is what yoga is good for — to reduce stress, to improve brain health, subjective memory performance, and reduce inflammation and improve neuroplasticity.”

Tolerability and feasibility

Notably, Kundalini yoga showed excellent levels of adherence and low side effects, indicating its tolerance and feasibility as an intervention. This supports the practice’s promise as a safe and effective technique for improving cognitive health in older persons at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Next steps and room for improvement

Despite the hopeful results, the study admits some limitations, such as a small sample size and a short period. These considerations may have an impact on the generalizability of the findings and the capacity to draw firm conclusions about the long-term effects of Kundalini yoga on cognitive health.

Dr. Lavretsky recommends combining yoga with memory training for greater overall advantages. “Ideally, people should do both because they do train different parts of the brain and have different overall health effects,” she went on to say. This collaboration could provide a comprehensive approach to cognitive health in older women.

A pathway to cognitive wellness

This study opens the door to further holistic interventions for Alzheimer’s prevention, with Kundalini yoga emerging as a potent tool. As we discover the power of mind-body activities, the path to cognitive wellness becomes clearer, providing hope and real answers for people at risk of Alzheimer’s.

Source study: Translational Psychiatry— Cognitive and immunological effects of yoga compared to memory training in older women at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

The post Is Kundalini yoga the perfect holistic intervention for older women at risk of Alzheimer’s? first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.


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Overcoming Loneliness: 4 Ways To Make Real Connections And Build Community | The Optimist Daily





Have you ever considered how your brain interprets loneliness? Surprisingly, it recognizes it as a threat. Loneliness is more than simply a passing mood; it is a major risk factor for a variety of health problems. Loneliness can have serious consequences for our health, including sadness, anxiety, heart disease, and premature mortality. Some research indicates that it is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

Why are we facing a loneliness epidemic?

Loneliness is a universal human feeling, but its prevalence increased in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. With prolonged periods of seclusion becoming the norm, many Americans are experiencing the long-term repercussions of social disengagement. However, it is not just the epidemic to blame; technology also plays an important role. With more than half of Americans spending more than half of their time online, meaningful face-to-face contact has become increasingly rare, compounding feelings of loneliness.

How loneliness impacts mental health

Loneliness is not only emotionally draining; it is also physically harmful. According to research, lonely people frequently have elevated amounts of inflammatory markers in their brains, which can lead to a variety of health problems. Furthermore, loneliness can trigger our bodies’ “fight or flight” reaction, increasing paranoia and susceptibility to illness. The stakes are high, as loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, and early mortality.

4 ways to take action against loneliness

Are you feeling overwhelmed with loneliness? You are not alone. Here are four practical suggestions to help you rediscover a sense of connection and well-being in your life.

The power of reaching out

Taking the first step can be frightening, but reaching out to someone can make a huge difference. Desiring a sense of closeness is normal. The best way to get there is by taking the initiative to reach out to someone. Connecting with people, whether through a simple text message to a friend or talking with a neighbor, can help reduce feelings of loneliness and foster new friendships.

Prioritizing in-person connections

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to become lost in the virtual world. However, spending too much time online might amplify feelings of loneliness. Instead, aim to restrict your screen time and promote in-person connections. Face-to-face connections, whether through a coffee date with a buddy or participation in a local organization or class, can bring a much-needed sense of belonging and purpose.

Finding purpose by volunteering

Did you realize that giving back might improve your mental health? Volunteering not only helps you to make a positive difference in your community, but it also provides possibilities for social interaction and connection. Volunteering has been shown to reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and even benefit our physical health. Whether you’re interested in environmental protection or helping local charities, volunteering may be a gratifying approach to combat loneliness while also making a difference in the world.

Seeking support for lasting solutions

If feelings of loneliness linger, seek professional help. Speaking with a health care expert, such as a therapist or psychologist, can provide helpful support, advice, and coping skills for loneliness. They can also assist uncover any underlying issues that may be contributing to your feelings of isolation and propose appropriate interventions based on your specific needs.

While there is no quick treatment for loneliness, you may take measures to increase meaningful connections and support in your life. Reaching out to people, emphasizing in-person interaction, volunteering, and seeking professional help as needed can help you break free from loneliness and embrace a life of purpose and connection.

The post Overcoming loneliness: 4 ways to make real connections and build community  first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.

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