WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Neither mindfulness training nor exercise is associated with significant improvement in episodic memory or executive function among older adults, according to a study published in the Dec. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Eric J. Lenze, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues assessed whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), exercise, or a combination of both improve cognitive function in older adults. The analysis included 585 participants randomly assigned to 60 minutes daily of meditation (150 adults); exercise with aerobic, strength, and functional components with a target of at least 300 minutes weekly (138 adults); combined MBSR and exercise (144 adults); or a health education control group (153 adults).

At six months, the researchers observed no significant effect of mindfulness training or exercise on episodic memory or executive function. Further, there were no intervention effects at the secondary end point of 18 months. At six months, there was no significant interaction between mindfulness training and exercise. None of the five prespecified secondary outcomes showed a significant improvement with either intervention versus controls.

“We didn’t see improvements, but cognitive performance didn’t decline either,” Lenze said in a statement. “In the study’s next phase, we’ll continue following the same people for five more years to learn whether exercise and mindfulness training might help slow or prevent future cognitive declines.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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