The primary outcome paper of our Age-Well randomized control trial studying the effect of an 18-month meditation intervention to promote healthy ageing is now available in JAMA Neurology.
The aim of the Age-Well study was to provide robust evidence on the impact of meditation training on mental health and wellbeing in the ageing population, using the longest meditation intervention in older adults to date. In this first set of analyses, Silver Santé Study experts compared the effect of an 18-month meditation intervention to the effect of an 18-month non-native language learning (active control) and to a group with no intervention (passive control) on predetermined brain regions and a set of behavioral measures. Results reveal that, while meditation had no effect on the volume of the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, and marginal effects on perfusion of the same predetermined brain regions, it significantly improved attention and emotion regulation, both being particularly relevant in aging.
Dr Gaël Chételat, from Inserm/University of Caen (France), who led this study, said: “The fact that no anatomical differences were observed between these two groups could indicate that, if meditation can modify the volume of younger and more plastic brains, 18 months of meditation training are not sufficient to modify the effects of aging.
Moreover, if the results on changes in brain volume are strictly negative, results on perfusion tend to show subtle improvement after meditation training, which could be interesting to explore further, either after longer interventions and/or in larger samples“
“The practice of meditation shows here a real benefit on the mental health of older adults, with a significant improvement of parameters specific to well-being, but also the maintenance of attentional and socio-emotional capacities reported by the participants“, adds Dr Antoine Lutz (Inserm/University of Lyon), head of the Meditation axis of the study.
More specific measurements and analyses will be conducted within the Age-Well trial to improve the understanding of these mechanisms. They could allow us to determine which measures are most sensitive to the practice of meditation and to study the mechanisms underlying its effects.
Article: Effect of an 18-Month Meditation Training on Regional Brain Volume and Perfusion in Older Adults
Publication Date: 10-10-2022
To learn more about these results, see the different press releases (various sources and languages) at https://jamanetwork.altmetric.com/details/136979098/news