WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Older women who practice yoga may have greater “thickness” in areas of the brain involved in memory and attention, a small study suggests.
Researchers found that even compared with other healthy, active women their age, yoga practitioners typically had greater cortical thickness in the brain’s left prefrontal cortex.
That could be good news because, as the researchers pointed out, cognitive impairment from aging is usually associated with less volume in cortical areas of the brain associated with attention tasks, and decreases in memory.
But experts said it’s not clear what conclusions can be drawn from the study’s findings.
The findings are based on one-time brain scans of fewer than 50 women — and they do not prove that yoga, itself, altered anyone’s brain structure, according to senior researcher Elisa Kozasa.
The brain differences might have existed before the women ever tried yoga, said Kozasa, a researcher at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
But the study does add to a bigger body of evidence on yoga and brain function, said Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a researcher who was not involved in the work.
“This contributes to the evidence that yoga practice has neuroplastic effects on the brain that may translate into other health benefits — like better mood and cognition,” said Lavretsky, a professor-in-residence of psychiatry at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.
“Neuroplasticity” refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new connections among cells over the course of a lifetime.
In her own research, Lavretsky has found some evidence that yoga benefits older adults’ brain function.
In a recent pilot study, her team tested the effects of weekly yoga classes among 25 older adults who were showing early signs of memory problems. The participants were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of yoga — which included some movement, breathing practices and meditation — or 12 weeks of “brain games.”
In the end, both groups were doing a little better on standard memory tests, compared with the study’s outset. But the yoga group showed a bigger change.
According to Lavretsky, it’s possible that yoga benefits the brain over time by easing day-to-day stress. Or, she said, yoga practices might have a more direct effect on “brain fitness.”
Kozasa pointed out that yoga involves a “cognitive component,” where practitioners hone their ability to concentrate while consciously holding poses, performing breathing exercises and meditating.
Her team was interested in whether long-time practitioners actually show a difference in their brain structure.
So they performed brain scans of 42 women age 60 and older. Half of the women regularly practiced yoga — for the past 15 years, on average. The rest were healthy and physically active, but did not practice yoga.
Women in both groups also had similarly high education levels.
“Even with those similarities,” Kozasa said, “the yoga group presented a greater cortical thickness in brain regions involved in executive functions such as attention.”
However, there could be other explanations for the findings, Lavretsky said — such as differences in the two groups’ other lifestyle choices, sleep habits, or perceived stress levels.
Kozasa agreed. What’s needed, she said, is a long-term study that charts brain changes in yoga practitioners and non-practitioners over time.
And while some research suggests that yoga boosts memory and attention, it’s not clear whether the practice can curb older adults’ risk of dementia.
“It is too soon to state that yoga can protect your brain against dementia,” Kozasa stressed.
Still, she said, there’s no reason for older adults to delay trying yoga if they are interested.
“If practiced with an experienced instructor, older adults may get benefits from yoga for their mental and physical health,” Kozasa said.
The findings were published online recently in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has more on yoga.
Yoga May Boost Aging Brains – Carlisle Sentinel
- Brain Games - Free online games at GamesGames.com - April 26th, 2019
- Brain Teasers & Brain Games For Teens & Adults | SharpBrains - April 7th, 2019
- Brain Games & Riddles To Play In The Car - TitleMax - April 2nd, 2019
- Try NeuroNation brain games and give your brain a boost - April 2nd, 2019
- Brain Teasers & Quizzes Games at Addicting Games - April 2nd, 2019
- CogniFit's Free Brain Games-Play Today. - March 6th, 2019
- Fun Brain Games | Brain Games for Adults | Games.lol - March 2nd, 2019
- Brain Games - Fun Games That Train Your Mind - November 11th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Brain Games - The Game - Based on the Emmy ... - October 17th, 2018
- Brain Games: Test Your Memory and Attention Span - September 14th, 2018
- Brain Games (National Geographic) - Wikipedia - July 14th, 2018
- Brain Games | Free Brain Games to Play Online - July 11th, 2018
- CNN | All Free Brain Games - September 6th, 2017
- The Next Step in Treating Gait and Walking Functions in Older Adults - Markets Insider - August 31st, 2017
- Competition heats up with 'Senior Brain Games' - WBBJ-TV - August 26th, 2017
- Flinn Foundation bioscience winners range from bug zappers to brain games - East Valley Tribune - August 25th, 2017
- Five of the Best Brain Game apps - Blast - August 23rd, 2017
- This Is The Only Type Of Brain Training That Works, According To Science - Fast Company - August 21st, 2017
- FSU institute contributes to Global Council on Brain Health recommendations - Florida State News - August 19th, 2017
- Online Applications Could Make Traditional Resumes, Cover Letters A Thing Of The Past - CBS New York - August 16th, 2017
- Are Prescription Video Games The Next Frontier In Medicine? - BOSS Magazine - August 11th, 2017
- 2017 Tennessee Senior Brain Games call for teams: time to compete! - The Tomahawk - August 5th, 2017
- 2017 Tennessee Senior Brain Games call for teams: Time to compete! - Winchester Herald Chronicle - August 4th, 2017
- How to keep your brain sharp in older age - Medical Xpress - August 4th, 2017
- 49ers' love of game versus reality of research - SFGate - August 4th, 2017
- 40 things you might not know about Tom Brady - Boston.com - August 3rd, 2017
- Report challenges claims of cognitive benefits of online brain ... - CBS News - July 31st, 2017
- 49ers' Joe Staley, Brian Hoyer, Kyle Juszczyk reflect on latest CTE study - ESPN (blog) - July 31st, 2017
- Brain Trauma Scientists Turn Their Attention to Soccer - WIRED - July 31st, 2017
- Brain-training games don't really train brains, a new study suggests - The Sydney Morning Herald - July 13th, 2017
- Column: Fitness isn't all in your head, it just starts there - Stillwater Gazette - July 12th, 2017
- New study takes a look at impact of brain games on patients with dementia - WTNH Connecticut News (press release) - July 11th, 2017
- Brain Games Don't Work - Fortune - July 11th, 2017
- Data SheetTuesday, July 11, 2017 - Fortune - July 11th, 2017
- Brain games popular at the Leeton library - The Irrigator - June 29th, 2017
- 3 steps that may boost brain health in old age - LaSalle News Tribune - June 26th, 2017
- Study Finds Good Reason to Keep Having Sex Over 50 - Newser - June 25th, 2017
- Library link - So Md News (subscription) - June 23rd, 2017
- Senior Center News: June 22 - The Wilton Bulletin - June 23rd, 2017
- Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study - Toronto Sun - June 23rd, 2017
- How to Keep your Brain Sharp - HuffPost - June 21st, 2017
- Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but ... - TechCrunch - June 21st, 2017
- Doing puzzles and playing brain games won't make you smarter - Star2.com - June 20th, 2017
- Brain Power - BQ Live - June 19th, 2017
- You Asked: How Can I Use More of My Brain? - TIME - June 16th, 2017
- Summer fun good for the brain - Chicago Parent - June 7th, 2017
- Chicago Fights Summer 'Brain Drain' With Superhero Science - Chicago Tonight | WTTW - June 7th, 2017
- Local kids enjoy Pelicans junior camp - Opelousas Daily World - June 1st, 2017
- The Dreaded Summer Slide and How to Tackle It - Education World - June 1st, 2017
- Mukwonago Community Library news: June 4, 2017 - Lake Country Now - May 31st, 2017
- No, playing brain games won't make you smarter they're just a bit ... - South China Morning Post - May 28th, 2017
- Brain Games - Wikipedia - May 27th, 2017
- From bug zappers to brain games: Meet some Flinn Foundation bioscience winners - Cronkite News - May 25th, 2017
- Ready for the Brain Games championship round - Times-Mail (subscription) - May 25th, 2017
- BRAIN GAMES: 5 local teams headed to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals - Press & Sun-Bulletin - May 23rd, 2017
- Talk in Albany examines dementia, importance of brain exercises - East Bay Times - May 23rd, 2017
- Games reward brains, vigor - The Advocate - May 18th, 2017
- This video game could literally train our brains to resist symptoms of disease - Mic - May 18th, 2017
- Brain Games XVI under way - Times-Mail (subscription) - May 17th, 2017
- Brain Games And Breakthroughs In Call Center Automation - Forbes - May 17th, 2017
- No evidence that playing 'brain games' make you smarter - Digital Journal - May 6th, 2017
- The Rockwood Files - A weekend of brain games - Cedar County Republican (subscription) - May 6th, 2017
- The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work - SheKnows.com - April 27th, 2017
- Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain-Training Games - Psychology Today (blog) - April 26th, 2017
- Brain Training Games Are a Waste of Time - Men's Journal - April 25th, 2017
- Brain Games: The Science of Coaching - Sports On Earth - April 24th, 2017
- Do brain games make you smarter, or just better at brain games? - Uncommon Wisdom Daily - April 22nd, 2017
- Just when you thought brain games made you smarter - The Siasat Daily - April 22nd, 2017
- No Gain in Brain Games - Anti Aging News - April 21st, 2017
- Brain Games May Not Boost Your Productivity After all - Indiatimes ... - Indiatimes.com - April 21st, 2017
- Just when you thought brain games made you smarter - Business Standard - April 21st, 2017
- Brain games may not make you smarter: Study - Mathrubhumi English - April 20th, 2017
- Matt Del Vecchio: Keeping fit physically and mentally - The Suburban Newspaper - April 19th, 2017
- What my 'Entrepreneur' self would tell my 'Corporate' self - Huffington Post - April 18th, 2017
- Actually, brain games don't make you smarter: study - New York Daily News - April 18th, 2017
- You're middle-aged this is the perfect time to work on staying healthy - Washington Post - April 15th, 2017
- Brain Games - Play Yourself Smarter - Agame.com - April 13th, 2017
- 'Same-old same-old' ages the brain. Don't let it - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - April 9th, 2017
- Is Successful Brain Training Fake News?: Neurologists Parse Out the Messaging for Patients - LWW Journals - April 6th, 2017
- CNN 10 - April 5, 2017 - CNN - April 5th, 2017