Yoga May Benefit the Brain
In a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers at UCLA and other institutions looked into whether yoga might not only increase people's ability to think, but alter their brains. The researchers recruited 29 middle-aged and older adults who indicated that they were anxious about losing their memory and who, in tests at the university, were found to be suffering from mild cognitive impairment -- a condition that can be a precursor to dementia.
The participants were divided into two groups -- one of which participated in a brain-training program, the other in yoga and meditation. After 12 weeks, those in the yoga and meditation group scored lower on a depression-assessment test than those in the other group, and also performed better on a visuospatial memory test.
Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA who oversaw the study, was quoted in the New York Times, saying that researchers "were a bit surprised by the magnitude" of the effects of yoga on the brain.