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Meditation & Rosemary oil: Unusual weapons in the fight against Alzheimer’s

April 19. 2012
The Bulletin/ The Sacramento Bee


New studies: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are some unusual therapeutic holistic regimens that may be of benefit in improving cognition.

Two recent scientific studies have shown some benefit in helping brain functioning in Alzheimer’s patients. One study was on the effects of meditation, the other on rosemary oil aromatherapy.

For the study on meditation and Alzheimer’s, researchers enrolled 15 older adults with memory problems that ranged from mild age-associated memory impairment to mild impairment in a mantra-based meditation course.

Participants meditated for 12 minutes per day for eight weeks. A control group listened to classical music for the same amount of time over eight weeks.

Early findings showed a substantial increase in cerebral blood flow in the patients’ prefrontal, superior frontal and superior parietal cortices, and also better cognitive function in the group that performed regular meditation.

In the rosemary oil aromatherapy study, the investigators tested the cognitive performance and mood of 20 people who were exposed to varying levels of the rosemary aroma.

Using blood samples to detect the amount of 1,8-cineole (a measure of the aromatherapy rosemary oil in the bloodstream) the researchers applied speed and accuracy tests, and mood assessments to judge the oil’s effects.

Results indicated that concentration of 1,8-cineole in the blood is related to an individual’s cognitive performance — with higher concentrations resulting in improved performance. Participants in the study showed improvements in both speed and accuracy, researchers reported.

In summary: Early trials indicate that aromatherapy and meditation may be helpful to Alzheimer’s patients, as they have been shown to improve blood supply and enhance cognitive skills.


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