Can Mindfulness Beat Alzheimer's Disease?

Rachel Anna Marjet Heutz



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.


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

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