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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 927509, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/927509
Research Article

The Effects of Meditation on Perceived Stress and Related Indices of Psychological Status and Sympathetic Activation in Persons with Alzheimer's Disease and Their Caregivers: A Pilot Study

1Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 9190, Morgantown, WV 26506-9190, USA
2Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 800782, McLeod Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0782, USA
3Department: Family, Community & Mental Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0782, USA

Received 8 November 2011; Revised 5 December 2011; Accepted 5 December 2011

Academic Editor: David Mischoulon

Copyright © 2012 K. E. Innes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. To investigate the effects of an 8-week meditation program on perceived stress, sleep, mood, and related outcomes in adults with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. Methods. Community-dwelling adults with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, together with their live-in caregivers, were enrolled in the study. After a brief training, participants were asked to meditate for 11 minutes, twice daily for 8 weeks. Major outcomes included measures of perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), sleep (General Sleep Disturbance Scale), mood (Profile of Mood States), memory functioning (Memory Functioning Questionnaire), and blood pressure. Participants were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Results. Ten participants (5 of 6 dyads) completed the study. Treatment effects did not vary by participant status; analyses were thus pooled across participants. Adherence was good (meditation sessions completed/week: ). Participants demonstrated improvement in all major outcomes, including perceived stress ( ), mood (overall, ; depression, ), sleep ( ), retrospective memory function ( ), and blood pressure (systolic, ; diastolic, ). Conclusions. Findings of this exploratory trial suggest that an 8-week meditation program may offer an acceptable and effective intervention for reducing perceived stress and improving certain domains of sleep, mood, and memory in adults with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.