Meditation and Holistic Medicine Increases Longevity & Decreases the Incidence and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

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http://alzheimersprevention.org

Integrative approach

A Better Brain in 12 Minutes a Day: Kirtan Kriya, a chanting yoga meditation

Just 12 minutes each day of practicing Kirtan Kriya — the ancient yoga chanting meditation — changes the brain in ways that may prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Meditation reduces stress

Reducing stress is an important pillar of a brain healthy lifestyle. Now brain researchers are proving what yoga and meditation practitioners have known for thousands of years: The brain thrives when it is given time to pause.

Kirtan Kriya is one of the most studied practices linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. For the last twenty years Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, an anesthesiologist and founder of the Alzheimer’s Research Prevention Foundation, has scientifically evaluated Kirtan Kriya for its ability to improve memory, sleep and mood, and diminish stress. His papers are published in leading journals, such as Lancet and the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. {Check out some of Dr. Khalsa’s published work here.}

Kirtan Kriya lengthens telomers

Even more remarkable — Kirtan Kriya changes gene expression at the cellular level. One of Dr. Khalsa’s studies evaluated telomerase production Kirtan Kriya practitioners compared to those who did not meditate. Producing more telomerase, an enzyme that lengthens telomeres, the cap on each strand of DNA, is strongly associated with longevity. Short telomeres are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and a shorter lifespan.

Meditation keeps the brain from shrinking with age

Meditation actually changes the brain’s anatomy. A recent review by Johns Hopkins University of over 47 trials involving 3515 participants found that regular meditation slows the rate of brain atrophy, or shrinkage — a key feature in Alzheimer’s disease.

A significant number of study participants increased their brain volume after an eight-week program of meditation. A study out of Harvard showed gains in the size of the cerebral cortex in those who meditate compared to those who don’t. And another study from the University of California Los Angeles documented gains in hippocampal volume. The hippocampus, a horseshoe shaped organ at the base of the brain’s ventricles, is where short-term memories are stored. It’s the part of the brain first attacked by Alzheimer’s disease.

Yoga is therapy for the brain

kirtan-kriay-yoga-therapy|brainworkskitchen.com

Cameron Barker is a yoga therapist at Jackson Hole Yoga Therapy, a program she founded in 2013. Barker works with people to use yoga and meditation to calm down their nervous systems. “Many of us are living with stress we are completely unaware of,” says Barker. “We have gotten so used to it but our bodies have not.”

 

A heightened sympathetic system aggravates many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. “The breath is the first weapon against sympathetic load,” says Barker, what she calls the fight-flight-freeze-defend response we have to stress.

“All of our programs must contain this formula: Breath + Attention + Movement = Awareness = Healing,” explains Barker. For those new to meditation, kirtan kriya is a good place to start. “It’s simple,” says Barker. “It uses breath. It focuses the mind.” And, by using hand movements called “mudras,” it gives those who tend to fidget something to do with their hands.

Jackson Hole Yoga Therapy also provides classes in yoga nidra, a 20-minute guided meditation that provides deep rest.  Best described as “mindful napping”, 20 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to four hours of high quality sleep.

“Client motivation must be high,” says Barker, “and the practice must be simple to stick with a daily practice and receive its benefits.”Twelve minutes of Kirtan Kriya each day showed the greatest benefit in those most at risk for Alzheimer’s — carriers of a genetic mutation for the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation studies yoga, meditation and the brain

Dr. Khalsa and his group have published extensively on the link between lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease. A few weeks ago, I caught up with Kirti Khalsa by phone. Kirti is Dr. Khalsa’s wife, partner in the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, and a yoga practitioner for over 30 years. For the last 20 years, Kirti has focused on making yoga accessible to seniors and those with disabilities.

Kirti admits that talking about Alzheimer’s prevention 20 years ago was not easy. “It was very unpopular,” she says. “People didn’t even know what Alzheimer’s was, and physicians were skeptical, to say the least.”

Still, Kirti and Dr. Khalsa persevered — privately raising funding for their pilot studies on meditation and the brain. Over the years, they have accumulated a large body of data that has evolved to included telomerase testing, cerebral blood flow scanning, and a new project focused on women and Alzheimer’s.

“We are very excited to partner with UCLA,” says Kirti, “on a project to look at women and their brains, why they are more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s than men.”

In addition, Dr. Khalsa partnered with the FINGER study (a Finnish study which evaluated how lifestyle factors affect Alzheimer’s risk) by proposing that they check telomerase too. That paper will be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in the next month. Spoiler alert: The 2.5 year program resulted in lengthened telomers too. {Read more about the FINGER study here.}

“Not only were telomers lengthened,” says Kirti, “but the ones with APOE4 gene had the biggest improvement. It was tremendous, it hadn’t been measured until now.”

The Brain Longevity Therapy Training is in October

This October, the Khalsas are offering their first ever brain longevity training program. “We felt it was a natural step in our evolution and our growth to train people since this is our expertise, ” says Kirti. “Three years ago we created a training program. We could see there was a movement coming and that people wanted to learn about this. So we created a program based on our 4 pillars of Alzheimer’s prevention for allied health professionals.”

To learn more about the Brain Longevity Therapy Training, coming up this  October 18 to 22 on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, and to register, go here.

For yoga therapy classes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, go here.

And to download a guided meditation of Kirtan Kriya, led by Dr. Dharma Khalsa, visit the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation’s website, to purchase for a nominal fee.

 

 

The ARPF is pursuing the following four research avenues and welcomes proposals related to these initiatives:

 

  1. Research proposals on lifestyle and Alzheimer’s prevention
  2. Longitudinal studies on the therapeutic benefits of Kundalini Yoga therapy on Subjective Cognitive Decline, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer’s prevention, including functional imaging studies, genomics, biomarkers, and neurocognitive testing
  3. The merger of yoga/meditation research and technology
  4. “Spiritual Fitness” and Alzheimer’s prevention

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

 

Since our inception in 1993, Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. has investigated the integrative or holistic 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention®. For over a decade, Dr. Khalsa and his colleagues have conducted a series of scientific studies revealing – for the first time – that a simple, 12 minute yoga meditation called Kirtan Kriya can:

  • Reduce stress
  • Reverse memory loss
  • Maximize well-being
  • Decrease depression
  • Increase energy
  • Improve mood and sleep
  • Lengthen telomeres, the end of chromosomes that control aging
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Turn on the good genes, turn off the bad genes
  • Create a healthy anti-aging effect on the brain
  • Research Centers

The ARPF funded and conducted years of research with eminent partners, such as:

  1. UCLA-Department of Psychiatry
  2. University of Pennsylvania-Department of Radiology
  3. University of California
  4. Ministry of Health in Finland and Karolinska Institute in Sweden
  5. University of West Virginia-Department of Public Health
  6. University of Arizona-Department of Surgery and iCAMP

These research findings are published in leading, peer-reviewed medical journals.

Currently, the ARPF is participating in new studies, including the FINGER Study, organized by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. FINGER Study is the largest project in history on preventing Alzheimer’s disease through a lifestyle program, and is showing beneficial effects on cognition. Please visit our Journal Articles page for more details.

ARPF is also co-sponsoring a research project, in conjunction with John DenBoer, Ph.D. neuropsychologist and Affordable Home Care in Scottsdale, AZ, to study the SMART program as a cognitive intervention to limit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. We are also supporting new work, looking at the effects of yoga meditation on the progression of MCI, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more about Kirtan Kriya and our research, visit our 12-Minute Yoga Meditation Exercise page.

 

 

 

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Baseline Telomere Length and Effects of a Multidomain Lifestyle Intervention on Cognition: The FINGER Randomized Controlled Trial.
Published 14 August 2017
Sindi S., Ngandu T., Hovatta I.,Kåreholt I., Antikainen R., Hänninen T., Levälahti E., Laatikainen T., Lindström J., Paajanen T., Peltonen M., Khalsa DS., Wolozin B., Strandberg T., Tuomilehto J., Soininen H., Kivipelto M., Solomon A., FINGER study group.

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-170123
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28777749

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Meditation and Music Improve Memory and Cognitive Function in Adults with Subjective Cognitive Decline: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.
Published 3 February 2017
Innes, Kim E., Selfe, Terry Kita, Khalsa, Dharma Singh, Kandati, Sahitia.

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-160867
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28106552

International Psychogeriatrics
Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Kundalini Yoga in Mild Cognitive Impairment
Published January 2017
Harris A. Eyre, Prabha Siddarth, Bianca Acevedo, Kathleen Van Dyk, Pattharee Paholpak, Linda Ercoli, Natalie St. Cyr, Hongyu Yang, Dharma S. Khalsa and Helen Lavretsky. International Psychogeriatrics

DOI: 10.1017/S1041610216002155
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312383052_A_randomized_controlled_trial_of_Kundalini_yoga_in_mild_cognitive_impairment

Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports

Title: The Neural Mechanisms of Meditative Practices: Novel Approaches for Healthy Aging.
Epub 18 October 2016
Acevedo, BP, Pospos, S, Lavretsky, H. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports. 2016;3(4):328-339. DOI: 10.1007/s40473-016-0098-x
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27909646

Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Title: Neurochemical and Neuroanatomical Plasticity Following Memory Training and Yoga Interventions in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Published 21 November 2016
Hongyu Yang, Amber M. Leaver, Prabha Siddarth Pattharee Paholpak, Linda Ercoli, Natalie M. St. Cyr, Harris A. Eyre, Katherine L. Narr, Dharma S. Khalsa and Helen Lavretsky. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00277

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Changes in Neural Connectivity and Memory Following a Yoga Intervention for Older Adults: A Pilot Study
Published in May 2016
Eyre, Harris A., Acevedo, Bianca. Yang, Hongyu, Siddarth, Prabha, Van Dyk, Kathleen, Ercoli, Linda, Leaver, Amber M., Cyr, Natalie St., Narr, Katherine, Baune, Bernhard T., Khalsa, Dharma S., Lavretsky, Helen. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 673-684, 2016
DOI: 10.3233/JAD-150653
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27060939

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Title: A randomized controlled trial of two simple mind-body programs,
Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening, for adults with subjective
cognitive decline: Feasibility and acceptability
Available online 5 March 2016
Kim E. Innes, Terry Kit Selfe, Dharma Singh Khalsa, Sahiti Kandati. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26 (2016) 98–107
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.002

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Effects of Meditation versus Music Listening on Perceived Stress, Mood, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Adults with Early Memory Loss: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.
Published online 8 April 2016
Kim Innes, Terry Kit Selfe, Dharma Singh Khalsa, Sahitia Kandati, Journal: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-22, 2016
DOI: 10.3233/JAD-151106
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27079708

Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Title: Integrative Therapies Essential for Addressing the Alzheimer’s Crisis: Foundation Awards $200,000 Grant to the University of New Mexico’s Section of Integrative Medicine
Moderator:, Hart Jane. Contributors:, Khalsa Dharma Singh, Prasad Arti, and Knoefel Janice.
Published Online Ahead of Print: January 20, 2016
February 2016, 22(1): 33-36. doi:10.1089/act.2015.29040.kpk.
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/act.2015.29040.kpk

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Stress, Meditation, and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Where the Evidence Stands
Dharma Singh Khalsa. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 48 (2015) 1-12 doi: 10.3233/JAD-142766
Published in July 2015
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26445019
To read the entire article http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad142766

The Lancet
Title: A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial
Tiia Ngandu, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Miia Kivipelto, et al.
Published online at thelancet.com on March 12, 2015
http://tinyurl.com/qztjdsh

Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation
Title: Interactive balance training integrating sensor-based visual feedback of movement performance: a pilot study in older adults
Michael Schwenk, Gurtej S Grewal, Bahareh Honarvar, Stefanie Schwenk, Jane Mohler, Dharma S Khalsa and Bijan Najafi. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2014, 11:164 doi:10.1186/1743-0003-11-164
Published: 13 December 2014
http://www.jneuroengrehab.com/content/11/1/164/abstract/

Advances in Mind Body Medicine
Title: The Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention
Khalsa, DS, Gustafson, C.
2014 Summer;28(3):26-32.
Published Summer 2014
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25141356

Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal
Title: Kirtan Kriya Yoga Meditation: A New Dimension in Alzheimer’s Prevention
Khalsa, DS.
Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal. 2013; 18(2):12-16
Published October 2013

NIH Public Access, Author Manuscript
Title: Stress, Inflammation and Aging
Helen Lavretsky and Paul A. Newhouse.
Published September 1, 2013.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428505

Biochemical Pharmacology
Title: Future directions in Alzheimer’s disease from risk factors to prevention.
Imtiaz B, Tolppanen AM, Kivipelto M, Soininen H. Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Apr 15;88(4):661-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Jan 10.
Published January 2013
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24418410

Alzheimer’s & Dementia
Title: The Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER): Study design and progress.
Kivipelto M, Solomon A, Ahtiluoto S, Ngandu T, Lehtisalo J, et al. Alzheimers Dement. 2013 Jan 16. pii: S1552-5260(12)02523-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2012.09.012. [Epub ahead of print] Published in January 2013
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23332672

Aging Health
Title: A Pilot Study On The Effects Of Meditation On Regional Brain Metabolism In Distressed Dementia Caregivers
Kelsey L Pomykala, Daniel HS Silverman, Cheri L Geist, Patricia Voege, Prabha Siddarth, Nora Nazarian,Natalie M St Cyr, Dharma S Khalsa & Helen Lavretsky Aging Health Aging Health, October 2012, Vol. 8, No. 5, Pages 509-516 , DOI 10.2217/ahe.12.46 (doi:10.2217/ahe.12.46)
Published in October 2012
http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/abs/10.2217/ahe.12.46

Psychoneuroendocrinology
Title: Yogic Meditation Reverses NF-?b And IRF-Related Transcriptome Dynamics In Leukocytes Of Family Dementia Caregivers In A Randomized Controlled Trial
Black DS, Cole SW, Irwin MR, Breen E, St Cyr NM, Nazarian N, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Jul 13. [Epub ahead of print] Published in July 2012
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22795617

International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Title: A Pilot Study of Yogic Meditation for Family Dementia Caregivers with Depressive Symptoms: Effects on Mental Health, Cognition, and Telomerase Activity
Lavretsky H, Epel ES, Siddarth P, Nazarian N, Cyr NS, Khalsa DS, Lin J, Blackburn E, Irwin MR. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;28(1):57-65. doi: 10.1002/gps.3790. Epub 2012 Mar 11.
Published in March 2012
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22407663

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Title: Effects of An 8-Week Meditation Program on Mood and Anxiety in Patients With Memory Loss
Moss AS, Wintering N, Roggenkamp H, Khalsa DS, Waldman MR, Monti D, Newberg AB. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jan;18(1):48-53. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0051.
Published in January 2012
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22268968

Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
Title: Cerebral Blood Flow Changes Associated with Different Meditation Practices and Perceived Depth Of Meditation
Wang DJ, Rao H, Korczykowski M, Wintering N, Pluta J, Khalsa DS, Newberg AB. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;191(1):60-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.09.011. Epub 2010 Dec 8.
Published in December 2010
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21145215

Consciousness and Cognition
Title: Cerebral Blood Flow Differences Between Long-Term Meditators and Non-Meditators
Newberg AB, Wintering N, Waldman MR, Amen D, Khalsa DS, Alavi A. Conscious Cogn. 2010 Dec;19(4):899-905. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 Jun 8.
Published in May 2010
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20570534

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Meditation Effects on Cognitive Function and Cerebral Blood Flow in Subjects with Memory Loss: A Preliminary Study
Newberg AB, Wintering N, Khalsa DS, Roggenkamp H, Waldman MR. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(2):517-26. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1391.
Published in April 2010
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20164557

Nuclear Medicine Communications
Title: Cerebral Blood Flow Changes During Chanting Meditation
Khalsa DS, Amen D, Hanks C, Money N, Newberg A. Nucl Med Commun. 2009 Dec;30(12):956-61. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e32832fa26c.
Published in June 2009
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19773673

Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Title: Integrated medicine and the prevention and reversal of memory loss.
Khalsa DS. Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
1998 Nov;4(6):38-43.
Published in November 1998
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9810066

Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Title: An Alternative Medical Program Is Effective in Patients with Cognitive Decline
Khalsa, DS. Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
1997 Vol 3, No. 4, Page 94

Proceedings of the Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association of North America Assembly
Stress-related illness. Where the evidence stands
Khalsa, DS. Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association of North America
1985 Nov 1;78(6):217-21.

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation’s Dr. Khalsa has also contributed to numerous books on Alzheimer’s Disease. See a list on our Book Chapters page.

Professor Joubert teaches how to extend a healthy cancer-free Lifespan to 122 years thanks to safe, efficient and cost friendly breakthrough protocols. Working on a documentary and book that redefines Medicine in light of new discoveries, ancient wisdoms, innovative research and holistic science, he can be nonetheless available to coach patients back to homeostasis, wellbeing & Joie de Vivre. On occasion, Pr. Joubert can also coach health professionals to better protect their holistic practice when they must deviate from outdated and-or irrational mainstream “standards of care” in order to genuinely serve their patients, evidence-strong Science and internationally recognized human rights. For details, see the links called “Contact” and “Mission” (under the “About” link).

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