Can Mindfulness Beat Alzheimer's Disease?

Rachel Anna Marjet Heutz

Abstract


Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to identify to what extent the development of Alzheimer’s disease can be delayed or prevented by the use of mindfulness-based interventions. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease in which accumulation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) plays an important role. This leads to neuronal cell death and synaptic degeneration, especially in the default-mode network (DMN). No current effective treatment is available. Mindfulness has been related to an increase in volume and connectivity of the exact brain areas affected in AD. Therefore, mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), meditation and yoga have been tested in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is seen as a transitional state between healthy age-related cognitive decline and AD pathology, hence an open window for early intervention. In this paper it is found that mindfulness has great potential to prevent AD-related pathology of the DMN, hence decreasing cognitive decline in people with MCI.



Keywords


Alzheimer’s disease (AD); mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs); mild cognitive impairment (MCI); cognitive decline; default-mode network (DMN)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26481/mjla.2017.v9.453

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