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2015 Grants - Tremont
Pilot Trial of a Mind-Body Intervention for Mild Cognitive Impairment
Geoffrey Tremont, Ph.D.
Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, Rhode Island
2015 Non-Pharmacological Strategies to Ameliorate Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Grant
Can a yoga intervention improve cognitive, emotional and daily living skills in people with mild cognitive impairment?
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that causes slight, but noticeable declines in cognitive abilities including memory and thinking skills. MCI often precedes Alzheimer’s disease but there are currently no treatments that prevent the progression of MCI to dementia. Interventions that could delay the progression of MCI and improve cognition and daily living skills would greatly benefit affected individuals and their families.
Yoga is a low risk, mind-body intervention that is widely accessible and easily incorporated into daily life. In addition, initial studies have shown that yoga can positively impact several risk factors for MCI and Alzheimer’s disease including stress, depression and cardiovascular health. Research is needed to determine if yoga is an effective strategy for improving cognition and quality of life in people with MCI.
Geoffrey Tremont, Ph.D., and colleagues have developed a yoga manual and plan to conduct a pilot study to determine the effects of a 12-week yoga program in people with MCI. Participants in the study will either receive a twice-weekly yoga intervention or healthy living education (e.g. the control group). The researchers will determine if the participants in the yoga intervention group show greater benefits in cognitive, emotional and daily functioning. They will also measure changes in blood pressure and stress levels to determine if yoga positively impacts these risk factors.
The results of this work will provide valuable information on implementing a yoga program in individuals with MCI. The researchers will use this data to support future funding of a large-scale clinical trial to explore the underlying mechanisms and long-term effects of yoga on brain health. If successful, this effort could reveal a new, non-drug strategy for delaying the progression of MCI.