Can meditation slow down cognitive decline? Neuropsychologist Dr. Carol Hudon and Psychologist Dr. Sonia Goulet aim to find out
Memory lapses in early stage Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to depression, anxiety, and stress. As recipients of a Quality of Life research grant through the Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP), Hudon and Goulet want to know if mindfulness meditation cannot only relieve those symptoms, but if it might actually slow down cognitive decline.
This year, the ASRP celebrates 29 years of funding Canadian researchers in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Through the results of their research, the doctors are hoping to contribute important insights into the quality of life of people who are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers Hudon and Goulet are investigating whether quality of life might be improved through mindfulness techniques. The research participants will initially be measured for cognitive functioning as well as depression, anxiety, stress, quality of life, and biological markers.
Over eight weeks, Hudon and Goulet will teach mindfulness meditation techniques in one weekly 2-1/2 hour session, then send the participants home to practice these techniques once a day for 30 minutes. Subsequent sessions will teach additional techniques, and how to overcome obstacles that participants may have encountered at home such as the inability to meditate in a noisy environment.
After eight weeks, participants will be encouraged to continue meditation every day on their own. Three months later, participants will be re-tested to determine the success of incorporating mindfulness techniques in their life.
“We are hopeful that regular mindfulness meditation can provide concrete relief from the loss of brain capacity and the acute distress caused by this loss,” says Hudon.
The ASRP is a donor-funded initiative that addresses treatments and care for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about current research initiatives, and how you can contribute on our website.