Meditation effects on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow in subjects with memory loss: a preliminary study

J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(2):517-26. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1391.


This preliminary study determined if subjects with memory loss problems demonstrate changes in memory and cerebral blood flow (CBF) after a simple 8-week meditation program. Fourteen subjects with memory problems had an IV inserted and were injected with 250 MBq of Tc-99m ECD while listening to a neutral stimulus CD. They then underwent a pre-program baseline SPECT scan. Then subjects were guided through their first meditation session with a CD, during which they received an injection of 925 MBq ECD, and underwent a pre-program meditation scan. Subjects completed an 8-week meditation program and underwent the same scanning protocol resulting in a post-program baseline and meditation scan. A region of interest (ROI) template obtained counts in each ROI normalized to whole brain to provide a CBF ratio. Baseline and meditation scans and neuropsychological testing were compared before and after the program. The meditation program resulted in significant increases (p< 0.05) in baseline CBF ratios in the prefrontal, superior frontal, and superior parietal cortices. Scores on neuropsychological tests of verbal fluency, Trails B, and logical memory showed improvements after training. This preliminary study evaluated whether an 8-week meditation program resulted in improvements in neuropsychological function and differences in CBF in subjects with memory loss. While the findings are encouraging, there are a number of limitations that can be addressed in future studies with more participants and more detailed analyses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Cysteine / analogs & derivatives
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / complications*
  • Memory Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Negotiating / methods*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods


  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • technetium Tc 99m bicisate
  • Cysteine