Kirtan Kriya Brain exercises Some new scientific studies show promise for using specific meditation forms for the prevention and/or treatment of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia.
In 2003 a study was done at the Amen Clinic in Newport Beach California. This study was a joint project between the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation and the Amen Clinic which is affiliated with the University of California at Irvine.
The study was designed to test the hypothesis that a "Kirtan Kriya singing exercise would show activation of the frontal lobe and activation of the hippocampus."
It consisted of eleven experienced mediators being given a baseline SPECT scan (Single Phton Emission Computerized Tomography) while they were sitting quietly. They then practiced a Kirtan Kriya exercise for 12 minutes. After that they were given another SPEC scan so the researchers would have a before and after scan of the brain physiology of the subjects.
Results of the Kirtan Kriya Brain exercise The second SPECT scan showed a "brain picture consistent with increase in attention, concentration, and focus." In addition, the Kirtan Kriya Brain exercise activated "one of the first areas of the brain to degenerate with Alzheimer's disease - the posterior cingulate gyrus."
A second scientific study of Kirtan Kriya Brain effects was done in 2006 at the University of Pennsylvania. This study was led by Andrew Newberg, M.D., Associate Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Associate Fellow Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., President and Medical Director of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF).
The subjects in this study were patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease. The aim of the study was to see if Kirtan Kriya singing meditation would change changed their brain's response to different tasks.
The participants were not experienced mediators but they learned the same Kirtan Kriya singing exercise as used in the 2003 study. They performed the exercise program every day for 8 weeks.
Again SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) imaging was used at the beginning to capture the baseline image of the brain and then after the exercise so as to capture any changes in the brain as a result of this activity. Images were taken at the beginning of the study and then after the eight-week program. In addition all the necessary neuropsychological tests were done at the beginning and at the end of the program.
Results The meditative singing exercise increased blood flow to parts of the brain. This increase was seen via PET scans that actually showed that the amount of blood in the brain expanded after these simple yogic chanting sessions. It appears that the chanting stimulates the hippocampus and hypothalamus, parts of the brain that are used for memory and information storing, clarity and focus.
Dr. Andrew Newberg said:
"For the first time, we are seeing scientific evidence that meditation enables the brain to actually strengthen itself, and battle the processes working to weaken it." .
"If this kind of meditation is helping patients with memory loss," he continued, "we are encouraged by the prospects that daily practice may even prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's."
Sources used: The Alzheimer's Prevention Organization, Yoga Phoenix, The Yoga Journal, The Dementia Caregives Toolbox and SeniorJournal.com
Comment: This research is most encouraging. Of course there needs to be additional research but here is a 12 minute a day exercise that has been shown to be effective not only with advanced meditators but also with persons already showing the effects of Mild Cognitive Impairment who had never pracited Kirtan Kyria meditation before.
If you want to find out HOW TO DO this form of meditation, go to Kirtan Kriya Brain exercises