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The protective effect of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on ageing: Hypotheses, models and experimental implementation

Lutz, A; Chételat, G; Collette, F; Klimecki, OM; Marchant, NL; Gonneaud, J; (2021) The protective effect of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on ageing: Hypotheses, models and experimental implementation. Ageing Research Reviews , 72 , Article 101495. 10.1016/j.arr.2021.101495.

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Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) represents a major health and societal issue; there is no treatment to date and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this disease are not well understood. Yet, there is hope that AD risk factors and thus the number of AD cases can be significantly reduced by prevention measures based on lifestyle modifications as targeted by non-pharmacological preventive interventions. So far, these interventions have rarely targeted the psycho-affective risk factors related to depression, stress, anxiety, and feeling of loneliness, which are all prevalent in ageing. This paper presents the hypothesis that the regular practice of mindfulness meditation (MM) and loving-kindness and compassion meditation (LKCM) in the ageing population constitutes a lifestyle that is protective against AD. In this model, these practices can promote cognition, mental health, and well-being by strengthening attention control, metacognitive monitoring, emotion regulation and pro-social capacities. Training these capacities could reduce the risk of AD by upregulating beneficial age-related factors such as cognitive reserve, and down-regulating detrimental age-related factors, such as stress, or depression. As an illustration, we present the Medit-Ageing study (public name Silver Santé Study), an on-going European project that assesses the impact and mechanisms of non-pharmacological interventions including meditation, in the ageing population.

Type: Article
Title: The protective effect of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on ageing: Hypotheses, models and experimental implementation
Location: England
DOI: 10.1016/j.arr.2021.101495
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2021.101495
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, Anxiety, Cognition, Eudaimonic well-being, Medit-Ageing, Silver Sante Study
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140118
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