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Hedging against Alzheimer's - Protecting the prefrontal cortex with Transcendental Meditation
by Linda Egenes
Transcendental Meditation for Women - Blog Translate This Article
17 May 2014
Conclusion of a recent article by health writer Linda Egenes, about the protective, stress-reducing effects of Transcendental Meditation on the brain's pre-frontal cortex, and how this could potentially also hold the key to protection against dementia and Alzheimer's.
Please see Part I of this article: Hedging against Alzheimer's - keeping the brain online with Transcendental Meditation
''The Transcendental Meditation technique has the exact opposite effect on the pre-frontal cortex as stress,'' says Fred Travis, Ph.D., a researcher who has published more than 100 studies in peer-reviewed journals on stress and the brain. ''Neuroimaging studies show increased activity in the frontal area of the brain during Transcendental Meditation practice, as compared to just sitting in eyes-closed rest. In addition to increased activity in the frontal areas, we also see increased activity in the back of the brain—the parietal areas. These two parts of the brain are part of the attentional circuit.''
The aging brain, especially, can benefit from the protective benefits of Transcendental Meditation on the pre-frontal cortex. Even in healthy, younger people, chronic stress can affect memory, cognition and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. At any age, when we are restricted by stress, fatigue, and other negative factors, then the brain is less adaptable, and we become handicapped in how we process and respond to our world.
I'm suspecting that my daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique can help protect my brain from the dementia and Alzheimer's that has plagued my family for generations. I'm basing my lifestyle on other research as well. Aerobic exercise is found to build brain cells. Inflammation may be the cause of Alzheimer's, some researchers say, so eating lots of antioxidants can help. Exercising your brain with plenty of mental stimulation is important. Having a wide social network may be a protective factor, say other studies. Getting enough sleep is another protective factor, a recent study at Temple University recently found.
It all comes down to a balanced lifestyle, and I'm aiming for chronic health rather than chronic disease—for now and into the future.
And while it will take years for researchers to follow up on these studies and others to find the true cause of dementia, who knows? Perhaps by keeping my stress response nimble and strengthening my pre-frontal cortex through Transcendental Meditation, getting a good night's sleep and maintaining a balanced lifestyle, my brain will switch on the REST protein to protect it from the disease that is affecting so many American families, including my own.
Source: Transcendental Meditation for Women Blog
Linda Egenes writes about green and healthy living and is the author of six books, including Super Healthy Kids: A Parent's Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D.
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