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Meditation Improves Long-Term Cognition

Extended Mental Health Benefits

Pavel Shlykov/Shutterstock.com

Cognitive gains that people experience from an intense meditation retreat can persist for at least seven years and slow age-related cognitive decline, a new study shows. Researchers from the University of California at Davis followed up with 60 people that had participated in a three-month retreat in which they meditated in a group and alone for a total of about eight hours a day.

Immediately afterwards, the meditators showed improvements in holding sustained attention— the ability to stay focused on a task or object—a key measure of cognitive function. Seven years later, researchers found that those significant gains were partly maintained, and that older participants that diligently practiced meditation didn’t show typical patterns of age-related attention declines.


This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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