Chanwuyi may improve memory of older adults

Subjective memory complaints (SMC) are common among older adults. The presence of SMC is often related to increased psychological distress, reduced mental health well-being, lower quality of life, and increased healthcare.  Subjective memory complaints is also a risk factor for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, respectively. Given the rapid growth of the elderly population in many countries, and the link between SMC and the increased risk of dementia, there is a need to identify effective interventions to improve the memory functioning of older adults with SMC as early as possible.  This study aimed to investigate whether a Chinese Chan-based lifestyle intervention, the Dejian Mind-Body Intervention (DMBI), leads to positive benefits for memory functioning in older adults.

Fifty-six adults aged 60 years or older with subjective memory complaints (SMC) were randomly assigned to receive the DMBI or a control intervention (i.e., a conventional memory intervention; MI) once a week for 10 weeks; 48 of the adults completed the intervention.  Participants’ verbal and visual memory functioning before and after the intervention were compared. In addition, changes in the participants’ subjective feelings about their memory performance and physical and psychological health after the intervention were examined.

The results showed that both the DMBI and MI resulted in significant improvements in both verbal and visual memory functioning and that the extent of the improvements was correlated with participants’ level of performance at baseline.

In addition, compared to the MI group, the DMBI group had significantly greater improvements in subjective physical and psychological health after the intervention.

In summary, the present findings support the potential of the DMBI as an alternative lifestyle intervention for improving memory functioning, subjective physical and psychological health of older adults with SMC.

Chan, A., Cheung, W., Yeung, M., Woo, J., Kwok, T., Shum, D., Yu, R., & Cheung, M. (2017) A Chinese Chan-based Mind-Body Intervention Improves Memory of Older Adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 9:190 DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00190