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Anil Rajvanshi

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Can meditation help reduce Alzheimer's Disease?

Dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are diseases of the brain (DOB). They basically degenerate the nerves, attack central nervous system, make people forgetful and ultimately make them loose their memory completely so that they cannot recognize even their near and dear ones. DOB are generally old age diseases which mostly happen after the age of 60-65 though in some cases they can start as early as 40-45.

Present estimates are that 50 million people worldwide above the age of 65 years suffer from these debilitating diseases.

Many studies done by scientists have shown that intellectually active adults suffer less from these diseases as they age. And one of the better ways to increase mental faculties is by meditation. It allows us to focus on a single subject for a long time and increases the concentration and hence mental sharpness. A small article on this theme is at; http://www.nariphaltan.org/DOB.pdf

This idea is being posted at TED for wider debate and discussion.

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    Jun 28 2013: It wouldn't surprise me if regular meditation helped with DOB.

    My personal "gut feeling" is that extended periods of worry contributes to dementia. Meditation is relaxation for the brain so should help to dispel worry.
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      Jun 28 2013: Interesting you should say this Heather....and hello!!

      A couple of years back an elderly friend went to the neurologist because she was constantly repeating herself and forgetting things.

      All the tests proved negative.

      Turns out she was depressed, and after investigating her depression, and dealing with it, her memory came back.

      Her family went from thinking she had a dementia, to realizing she was just depressed, and needed love and attention, and low dosage medication for a small amount of time.

      If left untreated....depression can wreak havoc, not only on the elderly, but on all of us.

      Our brain is very very interesting.
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        Jun 28 2013: Yes, interesting isn't it! My father was considered to have dementia towards the end of his life - he actually died of pneumonia. He had lead a physically and mentally healthy and active life - but after my mother left him he rapidly went down hill.

        The confusion between depression and dementia is lost on many people - worry and fear lead to depression and that leads to dementia. The brain is so sad it just gives up!

        Consigning elders to old folks homes is enough to make anyone depressed / demented in my opinion. We need to raise the status of elders and give them the honoured place in communities they deserve. Young people would behave better with more guidance from elders as well - so all of society would benefit.
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          Jun 29 2013: Very interesting observations from both you Heather and Mary. Care of elderly was the norm in old societies like India. Unfortunately with the breakdown of extended family and pressure on resources the youngsters are getting greedy and want the elderly out of their homes and lives.

          One of the helpful ways to still remain cheerful in old age has been to focus on spirituality and religion. Older people getting together for religious chantings is both socially and therapeutically helpful.
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          Jun 30 2013: Heather, yes.......the link between depression and dementia is an important one.

          You know, doctors recommend their elderly patients to stay active and have a social life, but they do not come out and speak honestly and sincerely about the consequences.

          Why is that??

          I am dumbfounded at the lack of communication out there. And, life's are at stake......as is the quality of life of millions of elderly individuals.

          I am always sharing my knowledge of depression and dementia with others.

          It is so sad what is happening Heather.
          So very sad. And society is the big loser.

          @Anil....thank you for your kind words.

          I think that what happens with depression is that the elderly stop their activities, even if these are spiritual ones. I think we humans need each other.
          We need someone to talk to, to share a cup of tea with, to laugh together, and yes, to cry together too. There are too many lonely elderly people thrown away like good-for-nothing..........and yet, we are also growing old........why don't young people think of this??

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