Health

Yoga may protect against memory decline

Yoga may protect against memory decline

Practising yoga may protect against cognitive decline in old age by increasing the thickness in brain areas associated with attention and memory, a study claims.

Scientists in Brazil imaged elderly female yoga practitioners’ brains and found they have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, in brain areas associated with cognitive functions like attention and memory.The results suggest that yoga could be a way to protect against cognitive decline in old age.As we age, the structure and functionality of our brains change and this often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired attention or memory, researchers said.One such change in the brain involves the cerebral cortex becoming thinner, which scientists have shown is correlated with cognitive decline.Yoga practitioners consciously maintain postures, and perform breathing exercises and meditation.

Older adults with mild cognitive impairment have also shown improvements after a short yoga training programme. The team wanted to see if elderly long-term yoga practitioners had any differences in terms of brain structure compared with healthy elderly people who had never practised yoga.

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