Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2020 Dec 7 ;93:104319. Epub 2020 Dec 7. PMID: 33338831
Effects of yoga-related mind-body therapies on cognitive function in older adults: A systematic review with meta-analysis.
OBJECTIVES: Considering dementia has no definite curative intervention available through modern medical management, alternative therapeutic symptomatic interventions are needed urgently. This systematic review with meta-analysis evaluated whether yoga-related practices, as a preventive mind-body therapy, is effective for the management of cognitive decline in older adults.METHODS: Seven electronic databases (Abstracts in Social Gerontology, Age Line, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science) were searched using specified inclusion criteria to identify original studies that investigated the effects of yoga-related mind-body therapies on cognitive function, in the context of aging. A meta-analysis was also carried out calculating the overall effect sizes, expressed as standardized mean differences (i.e., d).RESULTS: Twelve studies, including 912 participants (73.9% female; 239 with and 673 without cognitive impairment) were selected for this review; eleven were randomized controlled trials. One study had a high risk of bias and was excluded from the meta-analysis. Studies involved a wide variety of yoga practices with a common focus on meditative postural exercises. Results revealed significant beneficial effects on memory (Cohen's d = 0.38), executive function (Cohen's d = 0.40), and attention and processing speed (Cohen's d = 0.33). No adverse effects were reported.DISCUSSION: Yoga-related mind-body interventions for older adults appear to be safe, feasible, and effective alternative practice for maintenance of cognitive functions both in age- and disease-related cognitive decline. Practicing yoga can be a useful part of daily routine to maintain cognitive function in older adulthood. Suggestions for further research were discussed.