Posted 02.26.2021 | by AMRA
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a decline in cognitive performance that is more severe than that of normal aging, yet less severe than that of dementia. Patients with MCI are at risk for developing dementia, and researchers are interested in treatments that can forestall or prevent the progression to dementia onset. Since mindfulness-based interventions are associated with improvements in attention and increases in brain gray matter cortical thickness, they may be able to help slow or prevent the progression to dementia.
Yu et al. [Journal of Psychiatric Research] compared changes in cognitive functioning and brain cortical thickness in older adults with MCI who participated in either a nine-month mindfulness-based intervention or a control group.
The researchers randomly assigned 54 Singaporean adults (average age=71; 74% female) diagnosed with MCI to either a mindfulness training or health education program. MCI diagnosis was based on subjective reports of cognitive difficulty and a battery of objective neuropsychological tests with final diagnosis made by expert panel consensus. Both interventions met in 45-minute group sessions on a weekly basis for the first 3 months, and then on a monthly basis for the final 6 months of the study.
The mindfulness program included exercises in focused sensory attention, the body scan, walking meditation, and gentle movement meditation. The health education control included didactic instruction on chronic illness, medication compliance, diet, exercise, and relaxation.
Participants were assessed at baseline, 3 months, and 9 months. Assessments included CT scans of the brain and neuropsychological measures of working memory (digit span), divided attention (a trail making task with interference), verbal memory, verbal fluency and, visuospatial processing. CT scans of the brain were evaluated for region […]